Tucked away in the unlikely location of Harry Handelsman's Manhattan Lofts Marketing Suite, just around the corner from Wallpaper's Southbank HQ, an intimate exhibition is capitalising on London's Frieze-time footfall. Cryptically named 'All fun and games until someone gets burnt', the marketing rooms have been transformed into an eclectic contemporary gallery, showcasing emerging and established Turkish artists, along with local London talent.
Co-curator Huma Kabakci, hailing from Open Space Contemporary, explains how the representation of different materials and mediums is key to the exhibition – which includes a diverse range of sculpture, live performance, video, painting and textiles. Standout pieces include Patrick Hough's broken bust, that imitates ancient, heavy weathered stone until you're a nose-width away and realise it's made from foamy polystyrene; and Rafal Zajko's meta-installation that displays its own construction on cardboard-framed video screens. Perhaps most engagingly of all, Ahmet Civelek uses IKEA plastic spoons paired with marble – two materials that each have a particular value and significance, creating a poignant juxtaposition when paired together.
The exhibition hopes to provide a commentary on the contemporary art market, exploring the value of the materials used in a work. What's more, the artists represented here reflect a younger demographic than typically found in the throng of London's largest arts fair, as the second curator, Burcu Yuksel of Artkurio, explains. 'During Frieze week there is a dynamic energy throughout London, but it is hard for young, emerging artists to be featured. We wanted to provide another platform for this.'
It's not just Frieze that this exhibition coincides with. There's also Istanbul Art Weekend (which took place 30 September – 2 October) and also Contemporary Istanbul Art Fair, which returns to the city for its 11th edition in November. Yuksel explains, 'Since 2013, after the post-Gezi protests and the political situation, a number of galleries and non-profit spaces such as Salt Beyoğlu closed down. The Turkish art scene has unfortunately suffered some set backs due to the uncertainty.'
But, she continues, there are still thriving, innovative artists and great collectors, institutions and spaces popping up all the time in Turkey; just last May, Dirimart Gallery opened a new space, the largest commercial art gallery in Istanbul. This optimistic atmosphere translates throughout the showcase – perhaps a little off the beaten track, but well worth exploring, if the bright-lights of Frieze become too much.