Vasif Kortun

Curator spearheading the Turkish art scene

Istanbul, whose biennial arguably launched the global biennial boom of recent times, appears increasingly established as a key node on the global contemporary art map: it’s increasingly speckled with smart commercial galleries, and the art fair Art International has just celebrated its second edition, newly augmented by dealerships from the Far East. Extract Kortun from this picture, however, and it’d likely look very different. Curator, writer, teacher, director of nonprofit gallery and research centre SALT, and go-to sounding board and mediator for the Turkish art scene (see his insider commentary during the Gezi Park protests and supportive intervention in last year’s troubled biennial), he’s been – and remains – inestimably important in the infrastructural growth of a city which, as next year’s Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev-directed Istanbul Biennial gathers pace, will only receive more attention.