top of page

Venice Biennale 2021: Fusun Onur for the Turkey Pavilion

The IKSV Foundation announces the artist who will represent Turkey at the Venice Biennale 2021: Fusun Onur. And there is also someone returning to the Laguna Venice.

Fusun Onur, ph. EgeART.jpg

Fusun Onur, ph. EgeART

Even if, in the near future, the agenda of art and culture seems rather uncertain, the organization has not stopped. And so the panorama of the 59th Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art, which will take place between May and November 2021, continues to take shape.


After the pavilions in Holland, Great Britain and Finland, this time it is Turkey that will present a project by Fusun Onur in Venice, once again in the pavilion at the Arsenali. The IKSV - Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, the powerful foundation established in 1973 and responsible, among other things, for the organization of the Istanbul Biennale, has in fact won the prestigious outpost in the Laguna for 20 years, from 2014 to 2034.

Bige Orer.png

Bige Orer

Turkey's participation will be all-female, as Bige Örer, currently director of the Istanbul Biennial and head of contemporary art projects at İKSV, will curate the Fusun Onur Pavilion at the Venice Art Biennale. Previously, she collaborated with the Whitechapel Gallery in London and the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.

A historical figure of Turkish art in Venice: who is Fusun Onur?

Considered one of Turkey's most influential artists, Fusun Onur was born in 1938 in Kuzguncuk, a district of Istanbul. After attending the Sculpture Department of the Istanbul Academy of Fine Arts, where she was a student of Master Ali Hadi Bara, she completed her studies in sculpture at the Maryland College of Art, thanks to a scholarship. After a debut linked to the themes of abstraction, at the beginning of the 1970s, with a solo show at the Taksim Art Gallery, Onur developed her own stylistic style starting from questioning the statute of sculpture, understood as a unity of space and time, creating strongly rhythmic assemblages composed of found objects, with references also to her biographical events and childhood memories.


Füsun Onur, Counterpoint with Flowers, 1982, installation view from Through the Looking Glass, Arter, 2014, Arter Collection, © Photo: Murat Germen, © Füsun Onur

His works have been exhibited in museums around the world and at important events, from the Kunsthalle in Baden-Baden to the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, passing through several editions of the Istanbul Biennale (1987, 1995, 2011, 2015) and DOCUMENTA(12) in Kassel, in 2012. Today, after a long career, Onur is recognized as a leading and decisive figure in the renewal of contemporary art in Turkey since the 1970s, and her participation in the Venice Biennale is a recognition of this fundamental contribution.


Füsun Onur, Dream of Old Furniture, 1985, installation view from Through the Looking Glass, Arter, 2014, Arter Collection, © Photo: Murat Germen, © Füsun Onur

Someone returns to Laguna

"We are honored to entrust Füsun Onur with the Turkey Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale of Contemporary Art. Onur is one of the few artists who knows how to develop a poetic relationship between art and life, not only through her works but also through her way of being. For her, art is not only the expression of great narratives but also an unlimited flowering of creativity of individual space and the world. Her installations deal with our ability to erase defined boundaries of identity, culture and language, remaining in the perception of the users beyond time and space," explain the Advisory Board of the Turkish Pavilion, where, in addition to Serhan Ada, Özalp Birol, İnci Eviner and Fisun Yalçınkaya, we also find Milovan Farronato, director of Fiorucci Art Trust and curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale.

bottom of page