Treasure Chests or Tools:
Some Histories and Speculations About Art Collections

Salt Galata

May 25 – May 26, 2012

SALT Galata, Auditorium

A Two-Day Symposium at SALT Galata in the context of the 2012 collaboration between SALT and the Van Abbemuseum

İstanbul Eindhoven-SALTVanAbbe is a yearlong collaboration between SALT and the Van Abbemuseum, with three consecutive exhibitions presented across SALT venues. The exhibitions bring together works from the Van Abbemuseum collection with selected local positions to suggest “temporary museums” in İstanbul throughout 2012.

While the exceptionally vital cultural life in İstanbul acts as an affirmation of a larger global cultural shift, the city has a shortfall in collections of regional and international art of the last century. Hence, discourses and narratives have not been anchored to actual objects and material histories; and comparative historical readings have not been sufficiently entertained.

While institutions in West Europe and the United States are experiencing hardship, and losing their traditional cultural support bases and audiences, new power corridors and cultural hubs are being established elsewhere where emerging markets and new economies produce a rising demand for new institutions. The new situation presents challenging possibilities and ethical perplexities for historical collections. The symposium will debate new intelligent and research-based approaches to inter-institutional partnerships, international knowledge building, developing new common strategies for protecting the integrity of institutions from managerial interventions.

“Treasure Chests or Tools: Some Histories and Speculations About Art Collections” symposium is expected to act as a prelude to International Committee of ICOM for Museums and Collections of Modern Art’s (CIMAM) 2012 Annual Conference titled “Museums Beyond the Crises,” which will take place November 12-14, 2012 hosted by SALT.

The symposium is organized in the context of İstanbul Eindhoven-SALTVanAbbe, in the framework of the 400th year of diplomatic relations between Turkey and the Netherlands.

The symposium is free.
Simultaneous translation is available.

Supported by Outset


14.30-14.45 Introduction / Charles Esche (Van Abbemuseum)
14.45-15.30 Zdenka Badovinac (Moderna galerija)
15.30-16.15 Wassan Al-Khudairi (Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art)

16.15-16.30 Break

16.30-17.45 Turkish Case I
Levent Çalıkoğlu (İstanbul Modern), Haro Cümbüşyan (Collectorspace)
17.45-18.15 Summary and lessons for Turkey / Charles Esche


10.30-10.45 Introduction / Vasıf Kortun (SALT)
10.45-11.30 “Curating the Collection” / Steven ten Thije

11.30-11.45 Break

11.45-12.30 Georg Schöllhammer (
12.30-13.15 Bartomeu Marí Ribas (MACBA)

13.15-14.45 Break

14.45-15.30 Jesús María Carrillo Castillo (Reina Sofia Museum)
15.30-16.15 Antonia Carver (Art Dubai)

16.15-16.30 Break

16.30-17.30 Turkish Case II
Can Elgiz (Proje4L), Emre Baykal (ARTER)
17.30-18.00 Open discussion moderated by Charles Esche and Vasıf Kortun
Wassan Al-Khudairi
Wassan Al-Khudairi assumed the position of Collections Curator of Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art in 2007. Instrumental to the establishment of Mathaf and the conversion of the current building, she became Director in 2010. She has recently stepped down from her position to pursue postdoctoral studies.

Al-Khudairi’s research interests are in modern art from the Arab world, with a particular emphasis on Iraq. She was part of the curatorial team for the inaugural exhibition Sajjil: A Century of Modern Art (2010-2011), which presented works from Mathaf’s permanent collection. She was appointed one of six Joint Artistic Directors of the 9th Gwangju Biennale in South Korea in 2012. Originally from Iraq, Al-Khudairi has lived in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UK and the US, where she worked at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Brooklyn Museum of Art in New York. She received her M.A. with distinction in Islamic Art and Architecture from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London.

Zdenka Badovinac
Director of Ljubljana’s Moderna galerija, Zdenka Badovinac has systematically dealt with processes of redefining history and questions of different avant-garde traditions in contemporary art – first, with Body and the East: From the 1960s to the Present (1998), Moderna galerija, which travelled to Exit Art, New York in 2001. Badovinac’s work continued with the first public display of the 2000+ Arteast Collection: The Art of Eastern Europe in Dialogue with the West (2000), Moderna galerija, followed by a series of Arteast exhibitions, primarily at Moderna galerija: Form-Specific (2003); 7 Sins: Ljubljana-Moscow (2004), co-curated with Victor Misiano and Igor Zabel; Interrupted Histories (2006); Arteast Collection 2000+23 (2006); The Schengen Women (2008), Galerija Škuc, Ljubljana, part of the Hosting Moderna galerija! project; Old Masters (2008), Zavod P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E., Center in galerijaP74, Ljubljana, also part of the Hosting Moderna galerija! project; and Museum of Parallel Narratives (2011), MACBA, Barcelona.

Badovinac’s other major projects include, De Appel, Amsterdam (2000); (un)gemalt (2002), Sammlung Essl, Kunst der Gegenwart, Klosterneuburg/Vienna; ev+a 2004 Imagine Limerick, Open & Invited (2004), Limerick; and Democracies/Tirana Biennale (2005), Tirana. Badovinac was Slovenian Commissioner at the Venice Biennale (1993-1997, 2005) and Austrian Commissioner at the São Paulo Biennial (2002). She is President of the International Committee of ICOM for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM). Badovinac oversaw a new unit of the Moderna galerija - Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (MSUM) in Ljubljana.

Emre Baykal
Emre Baykal currently works as Exhibitions Director and Curator at ARTER, İstanbul. Baykal worked for the İstanbul Biennial as Assistant Director from 1995 to 2000, and as Director from 2000 to 2005. In 2005, he co-curated the public space project İstanbul Pedestrian Exhibition II: Tünel – Karaköy with Fulya Erdemci. From 2005 to 2008, he worked as the Director of Exhibitions at santralistanbul. In 2009, he briefly acted as as Artistic Director at Depo, İstanbul.

Among the group exhibitions Emre Baykal curated are Second Exhibition (ARTER, 2010–2011); Tactics of Invisibility (with Daniela Zyman; T-B A21, Vienna; Tanas, Berlin; ARTER, İstanbul, 2010–2011); Mahrem (santralistanbul; Kunsthalle Wien Project Space; Tanas, Berlin, 2007–2008) and the 24th İstanbul Contemporary Artists Exhibition (with Susan van de Ven and Marcus Graf; Aksanat, 2005). Baykal also worked on solo exhibitions of artists including Mona Hatoum (You Are Still Here, ARTER, 2012), Kutluğ Ataman (Mesopotamian Dramaturgies, ARTER, 2011), Deniz Gül (5 Person Bufet, ARTER, 2011) and Ali Kazma (Obstructions, YKY Kazım Taşkent Art Gallery, 2010). He contributed to numerous publications and exhibition catalogues and is the author of Kutluğ Ataman,You Tell Me About Yourself Anyway (2008) published by Yapı Kredi Publications.

Jesús María Carrillo Castillo
Jesús María Carrillo Castillo is Professor of Contemporary Art History at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and Head of the Cultural Programmes Department of the Reina Sofia Museum since 2008. He combines an analysis of contemporary culture and cultural institutions with a critical reading of art historical narratives.

He has published Arte en la Red (Madrid: Cátedra, 2004); Naturaleza e Imperio (Madrid: 12 calles, 2004) and Tecnología e Imperio (Madrid: Nivola, 2003), and has also edited Modos de hacer: arte crítico, esfera públicay acción directa (Salamanca: Ediciones de la Universidad de Salamanca, 2001); Tendencias del Arte. Arte de Tendencias (Madrid: Citedra, 2003); Desacuerdos: sobre arte, políticas y esfera pública en el Estado españolvols 1, 2, 3 y 4 (Barcelona: Macba, 2004-2007); Douglas Crimp: Posiciones críticas (Madrid: Akal, 2005); Martha Rosler. Imágenes Públicas (Barcelona: Gustavo Gili, 2008).

Antonia Carver
Antonia Carver became Fair Director of Art Dubai in August 2010. Art Dubai is the leading the international art fair for the Middle East and South Asia. In addition to its program of new commissions, performances, artists’ and curators’ residencies, it has the dynamic six-day Global Art Forum.

Carver has been based in Dubai since 2001, joining Bidoun magazine as an editor in 2004 and later becoming director of Bidoun Projects. Between 1996 and 2001, she lived in London, working primarily in arts publishing (at contemporary visual arts, and as an editor at Phaidon) and administration (at the Institute of International Visual Arts, among other organizations). Carver has written extensively on Middle Eastern art and film, and was a correspondent for The Art Newspaper. She is a member of the programming committee for the Dubai International Film Festival.

Haro Cümbüşyan
Haro Cümbüşyan is a collector of contemporary art based in London. He is also the founding director of Collectorspace, a nonprofit initiative that aims to open up critical discussions on collecting art, and to create a variety of reference points for new generations of collectors in emerging art markets. Collectorspace launched its first location in İstanbul in September 2011.

Before moving over to the nonprofit world, Cümbüşyan was a management consultant and a partner at a boutique strategy consulting firm based in the US. He has Master’s degrees in Business and Economics from Yale University, University of Pennsylvania, and the London School of Economics.

Levent Çalıkoğlu
Curator and art critic Levent Çalıkoğlu is Chief Curator at İstanbul Modern since 2008. He is lecturer at Yıldız Technical University in the Art Management Department. He has published numerous articles and contributed to books on modern and contemporary Turkish art.

Among the exhibitions he curated are Istanbul Modern Rotterdam (2012, Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum, Rotterdam); Dream and Reality: Modern and Contemporary Women Artists from Turkey (2011, İstanbul Modern, with Fatmagül Berktay, Zeynep İnankur, and Burcu Pelvanoğlu); Paradise Lost (2011, İstanbul Modern, with Paolo Colombo); Kutluğ Ataman: The Enemy Inside Me (2010-2011, İstanbul Modern); From Traditional to Contemporary (2010, İstanbul Modern); Journey With No Return (2010, A Foundation, London); Istanbul Modern Berlin (2009, Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin); Held Together with Water (2009, İstanbul Modern); Sarkis: Site (2009, İstanbul Modern); Istanbul: New Continent (2009, Seul Museum of Modern Art); New Works New Horizons (2009, İstanbul Modern); Hybrid Narratives (2007, Akbank Culture and Art Center, İstanbul); Twilight Notebook (2006, Yıldız Technical University Art Gallery, İstanbul) and Strangers with Angelic Faces (2006, Space Triangle Gallery, London).

Can Elgiz
Can Elgiz studied architecture at İstanbul Technical University. During his years at the university, he became an art aficionado through the classes he took with professors such as Sebahattin Eyüboğlu, Ercüment Kalmık, Şadan Bezeyiş and Yavuz Görey. His love for art turned him into a collector more than 20 years ago. Elgiz first started collecting Turkish art, and his collection eventually expanded to include international contemporary art. In 2001, he founded Proje4L İstanbul Contemporary Art Museum, after the realization that young and unknown artists in Turkey did not have the opportunity to exhibit their work. As is the dream of all collectors, he exhibited selections from his own collection at Proje4L, with the belief that collections should be shared with the public.

Proje4L still functions as a “private collection museum,” having supported young artists, providing them with the possibility of transforming their creative powers into artistic creation and assisting them in being recognized on the global platform for art.

Charles Esche
Charles Esche is a curator, writer, Director of the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, and co-founder of Afterall Journal and Afterall Books, based at Central St. Martins College of Art and Design, London. He is a visiting lecturer at a number of European academies, a regular advisor at the Rijksakademie, Amsterdam, and a board member of Manifesta.

In past years, Esche has curated the following biennials: U3 – 6th Triennial of Contemporary Slovenian Art, Ljubljana, Slovenia (2010); 3rd Riwaq Biennale, Ramallah, Palestine (2009) with Reem Fadda; 2nd Riwaq Biennale (2007) with Khalil Rabah; 9th İstanbul Biennial (2005) with Vasıf Kortun, Esra Sarıgedik Öktem and November Paynter; and the Gwangju Biennale (2002) with Hou Hanru and Song Wang Kyung. He co-curated Tate Triennial: Intelligence at Tate Britain and Amateur - Variable Research Initiatives at Konstmuseum and Konsthall, Göteborg, both in 2000. From 2000-2004, he was Director of the Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, Malmö, and from 1998-2002, he organized the international art academic research project ‘Proto-academy’ at Edinburgh College of Art. Visual Arts Director at Tramway, Glasgow, from 1993-1997, Esche curated exhibitions by Elisabeth Ballet, Christine Borland, Roderick Buchanan, Douglas Gordon, Jonathan Monk, Stephen Willats and Richard Wright, as well as group shows Trust and The Unbelievable Truth.

A book of Esche’s selected writings, Modest Proposals, was published by Baglam Press, İstanbul, in 2005. He has written for numerous catalogues, magazines and art magazines, including Artforum, Frieze, Parkett and Art Monthly.

Vasıf Kortun
Vasıf Kortun is a writer, curator, and teacher in the field of contemporary visual art. He is the Director of Programs and Research at SALT, and was the founding director of various institutions including: Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, İstanbul (2001–2010); Proje4L İstanbul Museum of Contemporary Art, İstanbul (2001–2004); and the Museum of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson (1993–1997).

Kortun has curated numerous exhibitions in Turkey and internationally. He was the chief curator of the 3rd İstanbul Biennial, 1992 and co-curator (with Charles Esche) of the 9th İstanbul Biennial, 2005. In addition, he co-curated the 6th Taipei Biennial, Taipei, 2008 and 2nd Biennale of Ceramics in Contemporary Art, Albisola, 2003 and the 24th São Paolo Biennial, São Paolo, 1998 among others. Kortun organized the Turkish Pavilion at the 52nd Venice Biennale, Venice, 2007, and he was curator of the UAE Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale, Venice, 2011. In 2006, he received the Award for Curatorial Excellence from the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College.

Bartomeu Marí Ribas
Bartomeu Marí Ribas is currently Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona (MACBA). He was the Curator of Exhibitions at the Fondation pour l’Architecture in Brussels between 1989 and 1993, and was also the Curator at IVAM-Centre Julio González in Valencia (1994-1996). He was the director of Witte de With, Centre for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam (The Netherlands) during 1996-2002. Between 2002 and 2004, Marí was the coordinator of the Centro Internacional de Cultura Contemporánea in Donostia-San Sebastián (Basque Country). In 2002 he co-curated the Taipei Biennial with Chia-chi Jason Wang and in 2004 he co-curated the exhibition Juan Muñoz. La Voz Sola. Esculturas, dibujos y obras para la radio, shown at La Casa Encendida, Madrid with James Lingwood. In 2005, he was the Curator of the Spanish Pavillion at the 51st Venice Biennial, where Antonio Muntadas was the invited artist. Between 2004 and 2008 he worked as Chief Curator at MACBA, Barcelona.

Bartomeu Marí Ribas has curated exhibitions by artists such as Raoul Hausmann, Lawrence Weiner, Rita McBride, Eulàlia Valldosera, Francis Picabia, Frederik Kiesler, Marcel Broodthaers, Michel François, and Francis Alÿs, among others. He has written numerous articles about contemporary art and is currently working on a volume of essays about the art of our time.

Georg Schöllhammer
Georg Schöllhammer is a writer, editor and curator based in Vienna, Austria. He is founder of the journal Springerin - Hefte für Gegenwartskunst, head of and chairman of The Július Koller Society (Bratislava). Being Editor-in-chief of Documenta 12 in Kassel, Schöllhammer has conceived and directed Documenta 12 magazines. Schöllhammer has co-curated Manifesta 8 (2010) and directed Viennafair (2011). He is member of the boards of Kontakt – The Art Collection of Erste Group and steirischer herbst.

Forthcoming and recent exhibitions and projects include Imagination of the Political Subject (Vienna Festival 2013); Sovjet Modern (AZW, Vienna 2012); Moments (ZKM, 2012); Sweet Sixties (2011, ongoing); KwieKulik (BWA Wroclaw, PL, 2009); the 6th Gyumri International Biennial of Contemporary Art (Gyumri, ARM, 2008) and Void (Tanzquartier Vienna 2008).

Steven ten Thije
Steven ten Thije is a research curator, working on his PhD on the genealogy of the exhibition curator at the University of Hildesheim, supported by the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven. He recently co-curated Spirits of Internationalism (2012); an exhibition conceived in the framework of L’Internationale, a new trans-institutional organization comprised of five European museums and artists’ archives based on the shared use of collections and archives. Ten Thije was also part of the team that organized Play Van Abbe (2009-2011).

In addition, he is the coordinator of The Autonomy Project and has published numerous articles and reviews, among which is Exhibiting the New Art, ‘Op Losse Schroeven’ and ‘When Attitudes Become Form’ 1969 (2010).