Küreselleşen Türkiye’nin Kültür ve Sanat Ortamında Bir Aktör: René Block
Özdoğan Türkyılmaz, Hatice
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The main subject of this study is the network of relations established by the German gallerist, art publisher, art collector, art consultant, exhibition organiser, and curator René Block with the globalising art scene in Turkey, starting from the 1990s. Block, an important name in the international art scene, supported Fluxus artists such as Joseph Beuys, at the galleries he opened in Berlin (1964-1979) and New York (1974-1977) during 1960s and 1970s. He played an important role in the movement’s and associated artists’ gaining reputation and fame first in Germany and then in the United States, and Block became known as the gallerist of these artists in the world of art. Block organised large-scale exhibitions for different institutions after he closed his galleries, and worked as director at institutions such as German Academic Exchange Service (Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst [DAAD]) and Institute for Foreign Cultural Relations (Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen [ifa]), which played effective roles to establish cultural and artistic relationships with the international art scene. René Block visited Turkey for the first time in 1991 to participate in a symposium on Joseph Beuys and continued his relations with the Turkish art scene in the following years. Block played an important role for the art scene of Turkey to get into the global market, inviting the artists from Turkey to the exhibitions and biennials he organised out of Turkey, and he was effective in bringing the Turkish artists and their works in international circulation. Block worked for the private institutions and organisations such as Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (IKSV) and Vehbi Koç Foundation (VKV) and acted as advisor for such organisations. The cooperation between Block and IKSV started when he worked as the curator of the 4th International Istanbul Biennial organised in 1995 and continued uninterruptedly upon his participation in the advisory boards of the Istanbul Biennials organised between 1995 and 2005. From the 2000s, Koç Group and René Block started to cooperate in various manners. Within the scope of these cooperation activities, a number of projects were performed such as the exhibition series named “Adventure Istiklâl” and the monograph series titled “Contemporary Art in Turkey” in İstanbul and the exhibitions, artist speeches, etc., organised at TANAS - Space for contemporary Turkish art in Berlin. Block has been working with VKV, one of the important institutions of the contemporary art scene in Turkey; working as a consultant for the VKV Contemporary Art Collection that was started by Koç Group in line with the project of establishing a contemporary art museum in Istanbul, and he has been playing an efficient role in determining the culture and art policies of the private sector and shaping the contemporary art scene in Turkey.
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