The İstanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts has been organising the Istanbul Biennial since 1987. The Biennial aims to create a meeting point in İstanbul in the field of visual arts between artists from diverse cultures and the audience. The eleven biennials İKSV has organised up to now have enabled the formation of an international cultural network between local and international art circles, artists, curators and art critics by bringing together new trends in contemporary art every two years.

Considered as one of the most prestigious biennials alongside Venice, Sao Paolo and Sydney, the İstanbul Biennial prefers an exhibition model which enables a dialogue between artists and the audience through the work of the artists instead of a national representation model. The curator, appointed by an international advisory board, develops a conceptual framework according to which a variety of artists and projects are invited to the exhibition.

The most comprehensive international art exhibition organised both in Turkey and throughout the geographical sphere we are in, the İstanbul Biennial plays an important role in the promotion of contemporary artists not only from Turkey but from a number of different countries in the international arena.

The opportunity to follow developments and discussions in the art world, and therefore a complimentary educational program is provided both for students and viewers of art through the exhibitions and simultaneously translated panel discussions, conferences and workshops organised within the scope of the exhibitions.

After the first two biennials realised under the general coordination of Beral Madra in 1987 and 1989, İKSV decided to adapt a single curator system following the İstanbul Biennial directed by Vasıf Kortun in 1992. The Biennial was organised under the curatorship of René Block in 1995, Rosa Martínez in 1997, Paolo Colombo in 1999, Yuko Hasegawa in 2001, Dan Cameron in 2003, Charles Esche and Vasıf Kortun in 2005, Hou Hanru in 2007 and What, How & for Whom / WHW in 2009 and will be realised by Adriano Pedrosa and Jens Hoffmann in 2011.

• 1987 "Contemporary Art in Traditional Spaces"
General Coordinator: Beral Madra

1989 "Contemporary Art in Traditional Spaces"
General Coordinator: Beral Madra

1992 "Production of Cultural Difference"
Director: Vasıf Kortun

1995 "Orient-ation - The Image of Art in a Paradoxical World"
Curator: René Block

1997 "On Life, Beauty, Translations and Other Difficulties"
Curator: Rosa Martinez

1999 "The Passion and the Wave"
Curator: Paolo Colombo

2001 "Egofugal - Fugue from Ego for the Next Emergence"
Curator: Yuko Hasegawa

2003 "Poetic Justice"
Curator: Dan Cameron

2005 "İstanbul"
Curators: Charles Esche and Vasıf Kortun

2007 "Not Only Possible, But Also Necessary: Optimism in the Age of Global War"
Curator: Hou Hanru

2009 "What Keeps Mankind Alive?"
Curator: What, How & for Whom / WHW