In istanbulberlin, there is always a space for projects that bring Istanbul and Berlin together. One of those projects in contemporary art is Zilberman Gallery, that has gallery spaces in both cities. Occupying two floors of one of the most famous examples of art nouveau architecture in Istanbul and since 2016, a turn-of-the-century building in Berlin's Charlottenburg neighborhood.

Founder of the Zilberman Gallery and art collector Moiz Zilberman has given written answers to my questions on the both cities, the projects of the gallery and the artist residency. 

Cover Photo: From the current exhibition of Zilberman Berlin,Both Eyes in My Two HandsSandra del Pilar, Who am I and How Much?, 2019

Translated from Turkish by Seniha Özden.

Moiz Zilberman

Two Cities Where Multinationalism Embraces Originality

S: Why Istanbul and Berlin?

M: Istanbul and Berlin because both are world cities which converge, both with their socio-cultural traffic and dynamic historical experience.
We are talking about two cities where multinationalism embraces originality, creativity and craft are not in competition with each other, and where disciplines can only exist and be as productive as how much as they need each other.
Iwasinevitable for Zilberman Istanbul and Zilberman Berlin to be able to keep both internal and external circulation fresh, fluid and rhythmic in this organism.
S: Can you tell me about the relationship between your gallery spaces in the two cities? How do their programs differ, if they do?
M: We have a project vision that is prone to satisfy both world cities with a multicultural approach in line with their own demands.
Contrasts, problems, cuts, destructions and ruptures feed the creativity of both cities, and the destiny and behavior of the people there, with ironic reassurance.
In particular, the visual and auditory arts, which we can call the creative sector, and architecture, design and stage/performing arts are exposed to a self-transforming dynamic in this moving infrastructure that dominates both cities. In this respect, great care is taken to approach the exhibition programs of Istanbul and Berlin galleries with this wide, flexible angle.
For example, the 'Recurrence' exhibition, which takes place in Berlin until the end of August and is curated by Lotte Laub, the director of our gallery, makes this 'mood of the soul' visible.

From 'Recurrence' exhibition, installation of the works of Simon Wachsmuth and Isaac Chong Wai.

Isaac Chong Wai, Elmas Deniz and Simon Wachsmuth join the exhibition with their works. The exhibition brings together three international artists who emphasize the new and different social, ecological, and psychological climate that today's world has produced, following a process through which science, economy and technology transformed dramatically and which, in a way, also paved the way for romantic expression.

Elmas Deniz, The Three I Want to Buy, HD DVD Video.

S: What are the differences between your visitor profiles in the two cities?
M: Berlin's active atmosphere of global production and consumption creates a definitive quality bar for the events that are put forward to be in this direction.
In comparison, we witness the audience of Istanbul as being able to carry Turkey’s prolific art scene, and expect more than locality from a young and academic based accumulation with a high rate of competition.
In this case, both art history and future-oriented practices become mission grounds for private art museums and organizations, which focus themselves on different fields. Institutions, museums, and galleries can determine each other's spheres of existence through the generations they embrace and the actions they produce.

S: Do you also live in these two cities? How do you keep the pulse of two different culture and arts scenes?

M: I mainly reside in Istanbul. However, as you can imagine, I was a frequent visitor to many cities of the world before the pandemic, especially Berlin, due to fairs, biennials and exhibitions. When this process is over, I hope that we can all visit Berlin and other addresses again.
Zilberman Berlin Residency Program

S: Can you tell me about your residency program where you offer artists the opportunity to live and work in Berlin?

M: Zilberman Berlin's residency program is intended for the artists represented by the institution and prepares the ground for working, living and researching together in an international and dynamic environment. The initiative, started by
Zilberman , aims for artists to meet with the local art scene, exchange ideas and enhance their experiences with the international art community.
The residency program, which continues at the Zilberman building in Berlin, takes place at a point where the first modern art galleries have been hosted, with a lifespan of more than 100 years, and which now attracts attention with many contemporary art galleries. Thus, artists have the opportunity to exhibit their works in this remarkable environment. For three months, this program contributes to the artists it has chosen with workshops, accommodations and daily needs. Our program currently does not accept any applications other than those that were solicited.
S: What goals do you wish to achieve with this program?
M: Our biggest expectation is that this program will expand the personal interaction and communication networks of the artists we have selected, and provide an infrastructure that stretches the creative processes, and that is open to surprises and new production possibilities. We firmly believe that our artists' acquaintance with the international experience Berlin promises under these circumstances, has been conducive to great gains for both Berlin, and the artists’ own origins and careers.
Contemporary Art Can Perpetuate the Many Values ​​We Call Dead

S: In one of your interviews, you summarized your adventure from collecting to being in the gallery business as “Art has taken me over”. Why does contemporary art excite you?

The social, political, and ironic responses of contemporary art to the harsh conditions of the world create obvious and new values, ​​which can cause many clogged mechanisms that we consider to be inoperative today to become almost reworkable, and perpetuate the many values ​​we call dead.
In this respect, I attach great importance to the production of contemporary art in the world, both in terms of the brand-new opportunities of seeing all the familiar forms it provides, and in terms of the new ideas it brings with it. I take care to keep the alignment of the gallery in an appropriative width with this global stance.
Artists Deserve to be Embraced as Representatives of Unique Micro-Universes 

S: In the interview you gave to Gazete Duvar about the effects of the pandemic, you said "I think there will be an art environment where we can focus more deeply on the local, and act with finer nuances." What is the importance of focusing on the local for you?

M: The artists we call local today, with the special worlds they belong to, deserve to be claimed as representatives of unique micro-universes.
Even if each artist seems to be producing from the same point, or from a side-by-side origin at first glance, they can cause as big surprises as there are in the science of astronomy with the huge, universal differences in tone and interpretation created by being almost a millimetric distance away from each other.
This leads us to make the analysis of the atmosphere we live in more precise.
S: Thank you very much for your time and contribution to istanbulberlin.

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