Koç Holding is the main sponsor of Istanbul Biennial organized by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (İKSV) for 30 years between 2007-2036.

Koç Holding supports Istanbul Biennial which is the most comprehensive international art exhibition organised in Turkey and one of the four most prestigious biennials around the world since 2007 to raise awareness for contemporary art especially among young people, gather individuals who have not met this form of art with contemporary art and to revitalise the existing interest.

Istanbul Biennial is the most commonly known art event among other art events in Turkey with the highest interest from diverse cultures and audiences from other countries.

Accordingly, contribution to the Biennial also contributes to the “Istanbul” brand. Koç Holding will continue to contribute to the enrichment of the Istanbul Biennial.

As part of the Istanbul Biennial, which opens its doors free of charge to all visitors, Koç Holding also contributes to the realization of different projects.

You Know Who

Encouraged by Ömer Koç and organised under the auspices of Koç Holding, the group exhibition “You Know Who” features works from the collection of Ömer Koç, along with new productions commissioned for this exhibition with the support of Koç Holding and works loaned from institutions, artists and collectors from Turkey and abroad.

Co-curated by Brigitte Pitarakis and Selen Ansen, the exhibition that explores the representation of the unknown in contemporary art takes its cue from the Byzantine imagery related to the supernatural and the uncanny. The English title of the exhibition, which is translated from the vernacular Turkish expression ‘ismi lâzım değil’ (that whose name is unnecessary to mention), conveys the elusiveness of the unknown, by explaining nothing, defining nothing: “You Know Who” is a name that does not name yet delivers the unnameable.

Focusing on the fascination and the fear of the unknown, “You Know Who” puts contemporary artworks into perspective with ancient iconographic and textual sources, tracing the survival, migration and transformation of forms, beliefs and representations throughout history.

Permanent Works

As of 2017, it has been decided to leave a permanent work in Istanbul every Biennial year. Globally acclaimed artist Ugo Rondinone’s neon-light sculpture Where Do We Go From Here? that was once exhibited at the Taksim Square in 1999’s 6th Istanbul Biennial has thus been reunited with the city in its new venue, Mustafa Kemal Cultural Centre (MKM) near the Fatih Sultan Mehmet Bridge over the Bosphorus. In 2019, Monster Chetwynd's outdoor installation titled "Playground" by the Gorgon was placed in Maçka Art Park. Within the scope of the project, these new works are intended to be gifted to Istanbul’s public space with each new edition of the Istanbul Biennial.

Guided Tours

The Istanbul Biennial guided tour program aims to provide visitors with in-depth information about the exhibition, enriching their exhibition experience and raising awareness of contemporary art. The guided tour program, prepared to make the best use of the biennial, offers visitors the opportunity to visit a single venue, two venues or all venues accompanied by expert guides. Visitors can get to know the works exhibited in the biennial better with the guides who complete their special training with the support of Koç Holding; can experience the exhibition, its conceptual framework in more depth; they can also forward their questions about the works and artists to the guides during the tour. The Istanbul Biennial implements a more perfect guided tour program by improving the program implemented in the previous edition of each Biennial. In this direction, special tours are diversified for visitors whose relations with contemporary art differ.

Istanbul Biennial Learning Program for Children and Youth

As part of the “Children Meet the Biennial with the Support of Koç Holding” project, the program aims to improve the exhibition culture of children, increase their interest in contemporary art and introduce them to some basic art concepts. In this context, children are given the opportunity to put what they talked and learned while visiting the Biennial into practice with the activities to be held.