Tuesday, 17 March 2009

1st International Print Biennial - Istanbul 2008

Printmaking Exhibition in Turkey?!!...In fact the first time I had heard of any plaining my printmaking approach/process (attaching an example of my printmaking) and he said that as my works incorporated traditional techniques then I should certainly go ahead and submit some artworks. So I did. There was no particular theme either so that was additionally an inviting aspect. I sent the works

One drawback as far as I was concerned was ... that they had to be prints from an edition. So I entered three pieces (2 of each image). Given that I hardly EVER do edition-ed works these were (ironically) somewhat precious to me but I thought oh well if they are selected and exhibited and in the catalogue and then end up becoming part of their print collection....so be it - it will have been worthwhile. On the flip side I thought - if they’re not selected (not deemed suitable to be shown in their exhibition ........................then they wont want to hang on to them - I mean they will just return them.

So I sent the works off in time. I sent them to Istanbul Grafik Sanatlar Muzesi,
Unalan Mah. Barajyolu Sok. No 14, Uskudar TR-34700, Istanbul, Turkey.

The jurors who would be selecting the prints were: Elizabeth Ingram, Print Artist - Canada, Murside Icmeli, Print Artist - Turkey, Tetsuya Noda, Print Artist - Japan,
Suleyman Saim Tekcan, Print Artist, President of the IMOGA Executive Committee - Turkey and Hasip Pektas, Ex-libris Artist, President of Ankara Ex-libris Society - Turkey.
I received an email about 4 - 6 weeks later telling me that my works were disqualified because of being digital prints ...!!!!!!!.... I was (as you can imagine) pretty annoyed. I emailed a reply explaining how I had contacted Hasip and when they replied it was as if I had not mentioned that in my email. That is something that really annoys me. I mean you get this kind of "non response" when you deal with organisations like Amazon or Paypal but I expected better of this biennial. Anyway I also contacted Hasip and he responded in a likewise fashion as in a generalised non-specific response. Oh well I thought they will just return them. They never did though. As far as I am concerned those prints are now in their collection. They must have acquired a lot of prints this way.

A good friend of mine who I think makes excellent and beautiful work Elizabeth Omdahl, also entered and her work was also unselected - she also did not have her works returned. Her thought processes were along similar lines to mine, as in if they were not 'acceptable to display within the context of the exhibition then how could it be justified that the works were none the less 'good enough' to be acquired for their print collection. Elizabeth was good enough to write a letter (email) to Liz Ingram one of the jurors (who is a Canadian artist) and she responded sympathetically to our point of view and contacted the organizers who replied to her saying that they would be in contact with the 'unselected' artists, to discuss further action BUT they never did!! Further communications seemed futile as one never had any real acknowledgment that the iniquitous nature that this aspect of their rules/regulations implied.

None the less ............I did look through the website and was impressed by some of the works in the exhibition. I was surprised to see my old buddy Angelo Evelyn there with a lithograph of his that I'd not seen before. I sent Angelo one of my relief printed bear image Christmas cards but haven’t heard from him. He may have decided that he doesn’t want to bother to keep in touch. Having said hat I do actually have three framed pieces of his work upstairs in Charlie’s office - which he needs to collect sometime. I imagine all artists have a piece of work in another artist friends house that they will probably never get around to collecting!! I myself have a fairly large monoprint type work at Steve Williams house in London. I did try to get in touch with him several times whilst still in London. I even called around to his house in East Acton, one time (after going to visit the Orthopaedic consultant at Hammersmith Hospital) and was told by Celia, his partner, that the artwork had been moved along with a load of other stuff to his studio in Kilburn!! Steve wasn't there either. I seem to remember that she invited me in and I stayed a short while and had a cup of tea. I digress.............

So here are some images from the 1st International Print Biennial - Istanbul 2008 - I down loaded those that I liked for various reasons. Some for the image, some for the technique and what the artist has managed to achieve with it. If you click on the images ( as usual they become viewable larger and you will see the artists name). Also the heading on this post takes you to the IMOGA website where you can see all of the works in the exhibition. On that I congratulate the exhibition organizers. But mainly it's the artists who MAKE this project............its nothing without them, their hard work, their commitment............I feel that the least we deserve is to be treated with respect.


  1. Hi,aine.
    great that you have taken the energy to sum up the "situation" from the Istanbul biennal!
    I feel that I am still angry over this.

    Thank you for letting people know!

  2. Aine,
    Thank you so much for sharing this. I am very sorry that this happened to you, and I think spreading the word is the correct mode of action as it prevents this from happening to other artists as well. I hope you get your prints back.


Hi there
Its always good to have a response to posts and if you'd like to,
sign up to receive my bi monthly newsletter..................................
The link to it is on the horizontal navigation bar at the top of the blog.