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SALT Istanbul

Opening of SALT Beyoğlu's headquarters with two exhibitions. Visit to the construction site of SALT's second venue in Galata.
May 2011

On 9th April 2011, an innovative institution opened its doors in Istanbul: SALT, a non-profit organization, built upon the foundations and activities of Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Ottoman Bank Archives and Research Center, and Garanti Galeri.

Announced on posters all around the city, "SALT explores critical and timely issues in visual and material culture, and cultivates innovative programs for research and experimental thinking." Meant as a site of learning and debate, it aims to challenge, excite and provoke its visitors by encouraging them to offer critique and response. As Research and Programs Director Vasıf Kortun said: "SALT is not a museum, art institution, an architectural institution, research facility or gallery; it is everything that stands for innovation and alteration." [1]

SALT (which in Turkish means "simple" or "pure") will host exhibitions, conferences and public programs; engage in interdisciplinary research projects; and maintain a library and archive of recent art, architecture, design, urbanism, and social and economic histories to make them available for research and public use.

The activities of SALT will be distributed between two landmark buildings:

The first just inaugurated SALT Beyoğlu, situated on the pedestrian street İstiklal Caddesi, is a six story building constructed between 1850 and 1860. Redesign of the building for contemporary use has been completed by Mimarlar Tasarım, the office of architect Han Tümertekin, winner of the 2004 Aga Khan Award for Architecture. SALT Beyoğlu hosts 1130 square meters of exhibition space on three levels. Its entry space, the Forum acts as an interface between the institution and the street, welcoming the İstiklal Caddesi passers-by, sharing daily program information and providing a transition into the institution’s exhibitions, Walk-in Cinema, café and shop.

The second building, SALT Galata, located no more than a fifteen-minute walk away, which will open in September 2011, is the former 19th century Imperial Ottoman Bank headquarters, designed by Alexandre Vallaury. SALT Galata will house a specialized public library and archive; spaces dedicated to research, workshops, an exhibition and conference hall; as well as the redesigned Ottoman Bank Museum.

SALT Beyoğlu's main inaugural exhibition "I am not a studio artist" features a selection of works from artist, thinker, writer, and curator Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin, who passed away in 2007. In the exhibition the visitors can get acquainted with the themes Alptekin explored as well as experience the variety of media he employed, ranging from his early collages to his highly complicated “heterotopia” installations, from his etymologically playful neon works to the poignant videos he showed at the Turkish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2007 [2]. The show also includes newly commissioned works by five artists who respond to Alptekin’s themes and issues. Can Altay, Gülsün Karamustafa, Gabriel Lester, Camila Rocha and Nedko Solakov, were all key figures in the artist’s life.

The second exhibition, Laboratory, features works of the ars viva 2010/11 competition in collaboration with the Kulturkreis der Deutschen Wirtschaft im BDI (Cultural Committee of German Business). Since 1953, the ars viva prize for fine arts has been awarded to promising young artists based in Germany. 2010 winners are Nina Canell, Klara Hobza, Markus Zimmermann and Andreas Zybach.


  1. Quoted from Deniz Desiree Hostettler's article in Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review
  2. See Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin's work at the Pavilion of Turkey at the 52nd Venice Biennale, 2007.
(Summarized from SALT online, press information, and other sources)

SALT Beyoğlu

İstiklal Caddesi 136
Beyoğlu 34430

"I am not a studio artist"

Hüseyin Bahri Alptekin

9 April - 7 August 2011


Laboratory ars viva 2010/11

9 April - 1 July 2011

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On interaction with the audience, open archives, and distance to the art market. Interview with Vasif Kortun, Director of Research & Programs of SALT Istanbul.

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