Independent Art Spaces in Dialogue        
  Exhibition and Events



Address: Imç 5.Blok No:5533 Unkapani / Istanbul
Members: Nancy Atakan*, Volkan Aslan*, Marcus Graf
*: Will be present by the opening.

Founded by Nancy Atakan, Volkan Aslan and Marcus Graf, 5533 opened in February 2008, with its storefront window gallery, library, artist/curator/art initiative/new media/sound art, and portfolio archives, as an independent space for research, discussion and exhibition of contemporary art. Talks, workshops, public roundtable discussions, and readings taking place in this former shop located in the Istanbul Textile Traders’ Market (IMC) Block No. 5 creates a forum for an interactive review of artistic concepts and practices. In addition to analyzing art’s theoretical context, at 5533, video screenings, performances and exhibitions turn a former business environment into a ‘contact zone’ where visitors from different backgrounds, professions, and communities interact with IMC inhabitants to experience various artistic forms in a non-exclusive and non-elitist atmosphere.


Exhibited Project-1

Once Upon a Time

Volkan Aslan, Nancy Atakan
Photographs, digital prints, videos, found objects

Whenever memory plays a role in relating information, the outcome, whether verbal, visual, or a combination of the two, becomes narrative. In a complex chaotic city like Istanbul, storytelling exists as a part of the natural texture of the place. In this installation entitled, Once Upon a Time/Bir varmış bir yokmuş, Volkan Aslan and Nancy Atakan show alternative ways to tell stories about the worlds they inhabit by presenting a historical/imaginary space that reflects the multiple-layers of reality/fiction found in Istanbul as well as the Unkapani area around 5533.
The environment around 5533 joins the traditional, Muslim and historical with touches of contemporary life to allow parallel worlds to stand side by side as well as overlap and penetrate each other. Plexiglas, neon, plastic, glass, advertisements, videos, contemporary music intertwine with traditional Muslim women’s readywear, a local tea shop, a semi-deserted modern shopping center, faded photographs, arabesque music, and discarded objects. Aslan and Atakan’s installation indirectly recreates this atmosphere using their individual artistic practices. While Atakan starts from personal experience, family photographs and stories of her relatives, who initially established the shopping center in which 5533 exists, Aslan’s narrative begins with found objects from past eras. Both artists realize that objects outlive humans and that objects leave traces, carry smells, and reflect the atmosphere of what remains. Objects document and carry memory. Whether these objects come from someone known or unknown, they tell stories about events, people, and eras. Neither seems more true than the other.

Volkan Aslan
Nancy Atakan

Exhibited Project-2

“Special Days and Weeks” Comes to Berlin

participating groups
from Istanbul: Altı Aylık, Apartment Project, Artık Space, atılkunst, Bas, Caravansarai, daralan, Hafriyat, Galataperform, Kop-Art, Masa, Nomad, Pist, Oda Projesi, Videoist,
from Berlin: arttransponder, Art Laboratory, berlinerpool, copyright, Kulturpalast Wedding International, Mai Foto, Meinblau, no gallery, TÄT, Uqbar, Visite Ma Tente, Westgermany

In February of 2008, inside the store numbered 5533 at the 5th Block of IMC in Unkapanı, Istanbul, 5533 opened its first project to the public. To commemorate the completion of this establishment’s first year, the first in a series of projects under the title of “Special Days and Weeks” began on Saturday, February 14, 2009, with Nancy Atakan and Volkan Aslan as coordinators.

This project was organized around an open invitation to independent art spaces, collectives, artist initiatives, and initiatives of all types located in various real and virtual neighborhoods of Istanbul. Aiming to create opportunities for communication, networking, sharing, and artistic practice, this event also gave spectators a chance to become closely acquainted with these groups. The exhibition in the space at 5533, organized as an Istanbul panorama, included documentation about the different groups, black and white wall drawings depicting their Participants or spaces, and a piece of needlepoint designed and executed by members of each group as well as video films showing interviews with neighbors of 5533 and the other initiatives. Participants were: ALTI AYLIK, APARTMENT PROJECT, ARTIK, ATIL KUNST, BAS, CARAVANSARAI, DARALAN, HAFRİYAT, GALATAPERFORM, KOP-ART, MASA, NOMAD, PİST, ODA PROJESİ, VİDEOİST.

Remnants from this event will be displayed at the Istanbul-Off event in Berlin. Furthermore, 5533 has asked various Berlin initiatives to create a needlepoint design to exhibit alongside and juxtaposed against the ones made by the Istanbul groups. Why needlepoint? Since every group has its own personality, language and aims, using this technique, we attempt to implement visual tools to join disparate elements. An ‘x’ sown into a square (reminiscent of contemporary computer pixels), allows the designated artist from each group to use traditional tools –a frame, a canvas, a needle, and colored thread- to design a logo to represent themselves. Everything becomes a metaphor for networking and communicating.


Special Days and Weeks - Istanbul

Special Days and Weeks - Istanbul
Apartment Project

Special Days and Weeks - Istanbul


Nancy Atakan
New Opening Windows





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