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‘70s and ‘80s

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Contemporary Turkish painting witnessed an increase in the number of private gallery activities in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and made a progress towards the creation of a fully operational art market in the ‘70s and ‘80s. On the other hand the unleashed contemporary movement can be linked to the interaction between civic and artistic groups. This was a result of the coup d’etats of 1971, and especially 1980 in the non-violent protest in the form of visual and contemporary art, against the politics of repression and oppressive traditions (limiting religiosity, the role of women, the rights of minorities and sexual politics) . Apart from global art movements, conceptual art and stylistic pluralism, indicative of a post-modern understanding of art, started to be influential in Turkish art . During this period the permanent focus on the idea of progress in art (Kantian Modernist rhetoric) which supposes that problems of art should be again related only to art, was abandoned. In its place post-modernism (understood as a continuation of modernism) focusing on the present time, and with an emphasis on pluralism and difference, was adopted. Postmodernist expressions clearly emerged throughout the 1980s in Turkey. Another remarkable point is that women artists came into prominence and their art works were both quantitatively and qualitatively equal to men’s’ productions in the ‘80s .

Milestones from this era that contributed to the transformation in the field of contemporary art were : “Yeni Eğilimler” (New Directions) within “Sanat Bayramı” (Art Festival) that was started by the State Academy of Fine Arts in 1977, “Günümüz Sanatçıları Sergisi” (Contemporary Artists’ Exhibition) that was organized by the Istanbul Painting and Sculpture Museum in 1980, “Öncü Türk Sanatı’ndan Bir Kesit” (A cross Section of Avant Garde Turkish Art) that was exhibited in the 12th Istanbul Festival in 1984 and the A B C D exhibitions that were initiated by artists in 1989-1992. The first Istanbul Biennale, which emerged as a result of the impact of these exhibitions, was organized in 1987.