The Istanbul Biennial is one of the world’s most prestigious contemporary art exhibitions, held every year since 1987. Artists and architects flock to Istanbul from across the globe to explore and participate in this fantastic showcase.
Stay at the Pera Palace Hotel, Jumeirah and you’ll enjoy boutique guest rooms in Turkey’s lively cultural centre. We’re located in Beyoğlu, Istanbul’s artistic hub, close to the popular Istikal Avenue.
What is the Istanbul Biennial?
Since its inception in 1987, the Istanbul Biennial has grown to become Turkey’s leading cultural festival. Organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, it’s held every two years. Originally designed to display the best of Turkish art and design, it quickly developed to include international artists. Resultantly, today the Istanbul Biennial rivals other major biennials like Venice and Sydney in reputation and global attention.
The festival takes place every odd-numbered year, and each is put together by a different curator. Past curators have included Vasif Kortun, Dan Cameron and Rosa Martinez. Overall, the Istanbul Biennial places a strong emphasis on conversations between artists and audience, inviting people to have a dialogue with the works it displays.
Other festivals in Istanbul
While the Biennial is perhaps the most prestigious festival in Istanbul, it’s far from the only one. One of the most exciting is the Istanbul International Film Festival, which began in 1982. People in Turkey are passionate about films, and some of the earliest film screenings and cinemas were set up in Beyoğlu. The Istanbul Jazz Festival is another important cultural event which began in 1984, while the Istanbul International Music Festival is the highlight of the city’s music and dance scene