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More than thirty works originally from the Block Collection that have been on permanent loan to Neues Museum will be moving to a new home on the Bosporus. To give them a fitting send-off, many will feature in a major presentation of the collection. Among many others the show includes works by Joseph Beuys, Karl Horst Hödicke, Nam June Paik, Sigmar Polke and Wolf Vostell, all of whom are associated with René Block’s pioneering activity as a Fluxus gallerist.
For the last ten years, these works have part of the contemporary art collection of the Vehbi Koç Foundation (VKF), one of Turkey’s most culturally significant family foundations. At present, a new museum is being built for the whole collection (including the works loaned to Nuremberg) in Istanbul’s Beyoğlu district, which is due to open in 2019.
The relocation of these works to Turkey is the result of René Block’s many and varied links to the Turkish art scene, dating back to the 1990s. Early on in his activity as both a curator and a collector, he focussed attention on the periphery of the continent.
Today, Istanbul counts among the centres of contemporary art, and this is due in no small part to the contribution made by René Block. In 1995, as the event’s first non-Turkish curator, he directed the 4th International Istanbul Biennial. As well as being a great success, this event had far-reaching consequences, marking the start of an intensive partnership with the VKF. The foundation created and financed the non-commercial project space TANAS in Berlin, which Block directed from 2008 to 2013. In 2010, the ARTER art space was opened in Istanbul.
The inaugural exhibition curated by René Block offers a first look at the VKF Contemporary Art Foundation that will soon be moving into the ARTER Museum.