IST–BLN is an exhibition collaboration between the cities of Istanbul and Berlin, curated by the German-Turkish art historian Meral Karacaoglan.

Artists from each city are invited to participate in a two-week Artists-in-Residence Program with a concluding group exhibition. The first residency took place from June 19 to July 3, 2022 with 13 participants from Istanbul at HOTO-Home to Artists. From September 25 to October 9, 2022, the second residency featuring 10 Berlin based artists took place in the Istanbul based Gallery Ambidexter.

Two cities and countries that share a long, very unique and special relationship. A connection that everyone in Berlin sees, knows and lives. This relationship must be preserved and maintained today more than ever. Especially because Germany is so exceptionally connected to Turkey, being one of its strongest bonds outside of the EU. To discover, to understand and to appreciate how both cities are connected, which values they share and which divide them, how natural the presence of the other is and how we can still all benefit from this connection, is to be found out and visualized together in this project.

Turkey and thus Istanbul are an integral part of German everyday life and self-image. Especially in Berlin, Turkish society has a very high status and it is impossible to imagine life and cityscape without it. It greatly impacts and contributes to the urban and national identity, representing a historically unique and immensely special relationship, especially in international comparison. Despite this close connection between the two countries, the image of Turkey in Germany appears to be very constructed and in large parts outdated. It is noticeable that Turkish identity still is extremely ideologically charged and stigmatized by discords conducted from a German point of view. Since stereotyping is a prevalent phenomenon of common social discourses, the bias in this regard is not too surprising. Nevertheless, the expectation that Germany specifically has of Turkey's social discourse is still biased and partly negative. 

The exhibition project IST–BLN wants to collapse, criticize and reflect this bias and the constructed image of Turkish society through active exchange. The individual and personal relationships that develop through conversations and the (audio)visual perception of the works, enable a new, young and enlightened reception of Istanbuls and Berlins visual art and sound performance landscape. The organic development of relationship and understanding for and with each other needs time and a space, given in the residency program and which will have a direct positive impact on the understanding of German and Turkish contemporary art and culture.

With buying the limited edition prints and Supporter Boxes you enable the funding of transportation, accommodation, material supply and artistic exchange.