A new trend in investment: art

It was a mistake to take the 7.30 pm shuttle to go home on a night of a national football match. As it was not enough, I had to sit next to one of my instructors. I am not a talkative type normally, especially after a long day at uni and mostly seem distant to people I am not friends with.  I thought how unlucky I was while trying to find something to say in order not to be seen as a weird fart. However, to my surprise, our chat turned out to be very interesting. Although we stuck in the traffic for 2.5 hours, which normally is a huge torture, I didn’t realize how time passed while we were discussing the state of art in turkey.

As a visiting artist from Germany who is familiar with the international arena, she said that the art market in turkey seems very promising for artists and collectors are increasing in number every passing day despite the global economic crisis. She said that collecting art work has become the emerging investment tool. I wasn’t so sure of that until I went to a art fair the very next day. When I walked around the pieces of art, I was surprised that most of the works were sold (some sold more than once).

Contemporary Istanbul 2009

One of milestones of Turkish contemporary painting Burhan Doğançay’s work “Blue Symphony” sold for 2.2 million Turkish Liras just a few weeks ago. This figure is the highest price ever paid for a work by a living Turkish artist. A few days after the sale, the buying company admitted that it paid this high price in order to revive the Turkish art market.

Despite the global crisis, Contemporary Istanbul continues to get richer every year with additional events and is being organized this year with increased interest and participation from galleries as well.

Last week, art lovers and Turkey’s high society rushed to the CI 2009 art fair in hot pursuit of the latest trend in prestigious investment opportunities: contemporary art.

Local and foreign galleries were located on two floors of the fair area. The abundance of Berliner galleries was striking on the first floor. According to fair organizers, Contemporary Istanbul invited the Berlin Gallery Owners Association, German galleries and collectors to the fair due to the 20th anniversary of the launch of Istanbul and Berlin as sister cities. In the area titled “Art Form Berlin” in the Rumeli Hall, visitors saw very creative works of German contemporary art. There were also many works from eastern artists. For instance, this year the fair’s guest country of honor was Syria.

By bringing a different dimension to art events in Turkey, Contemporary Istanbul  brought the world’s contemporary art scene to the city together with collectors. In addition to foreign collectors, Turkish collectors are also showing more interest in contemporary artwork, resulting in Turkish contemporary artwork becoming more valuable in the international arena. Millions are being paid for the work of some of these artists.

Last year, artwork valued at $12.5 million was displayed at Contemporary Istanbul and sales were strong. This year, when the sales of Turkish contemporary artwork at both Turkish and foreign auctions are considered, it can be seen that the global crisis has not affected art. As a result, CI’09 organizers are expecting intensive demand from collectors. The contemporary artwork being purchased and sold at high prices shows that the culture and art industry has much to gain from this field.

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