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Throwback on the Otonom Art Events in Istanbul: Garage, Art, Metal, Rust

The district of Maslak from 9. Sokak


The Otonom Art Events, held between the 1st and the 6th of June 2021, describe themselves as « accessible, innovative, free, contemporary » art events.

As the Contemporary Art Fair of Istanbul – one of the biggest international fairs of the country – was taking place at the same time a few kilometers away, the OAE was making a rather different proposition : garage, art, metal, rust… A succession of art studios were open to the public in the 6. Sokak and 9. Sokak of the district of Maslak, Sarıyer.


Atatürk Oto Sanayi : skyscrapers, garages and art studios

The landscape is rather surprising as you reach the neighborhood. The Otonom Art Events are established in the middle of the Atatürk Oto Sanayi, an industrial complex dating back from the 70’s. As the years passed by, the district of Maslak in which the garage is located transformed itself into one of the most important business districts of Istanbul, seeing dozens of skyscrapers emerging from the ground. Business towers, car garages, and art studios : the composition is particular but manages to create a singular harmony that « brings the art, the artist and the audience together ».

Indeed, we are far from an exclusive and unwelcoming art gallery. The doors of the studios are warmly open and sometimes you don’t really know if you are entering someone’s private place or an artwork studio. There is actually not much difference as these two streets, 6. Sokak and 9. Sokak, are the margin spots where different artists settled in the last years. They enjoyed these suburban areas as creative spaces to produce their work, thanks to the space and ambiance it could provide. One of the participants of the Otonom Art Events said « I actually came here because it’s the only place in Istanbul where you can put music really loud without being bothered ». Therefore, the Atatürk Oto Sanayi is an alternative place giving birth to an art in link with its surroundings.


Metal and rust

The 6th and 9th Streets are hosting some Turkish artists but not only, as they also accompany German-Turkish collectives like Metallwerstatt Tacheles and Komünart. That’s the case for example of the artist Hüseyin Arda, based both in Berlin and Istanbul, and to whom we owe the big metal rhinoceros installation. Cutting metal pieces and welding them together, there is no much doubt why he has set himself in this venue. More or less all the artworks shown during the Otonom Art Events are exploiting metal as their main component, creating a substance harmony with the rest of the district, the motos resting in the garages and the noise of the workers fixing cars a few streets away.



This edition of the Otonom Art Events is now over but do not hesitate to have a closer look at their digital content as they regularly organize events.

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