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The annual Documentarist Istanbul documentary Days film festival is counting down to its eighth edition, set to get under way this weekend with an all-embracing program of more than 80 documentary features from Turkey and around the world.

“Country in Focus: Austria,” “Turkey Panorama,” “International Panorama,” “Tribute to: Stefan Jarl” and “Women With No Name” are some of the 13 sections of this year’s Documentarist, running from June 13 through 18 at various venues around the city.

Other sections of the 2015 program include “In Memoriam: Peter Von Bagh,” “Aziz Nesin is 100-Years-Old,” “The National Film School of Denmark” and “Censored Documentaries.”

Jarl, the Swedish documentary filmmaker who is the festival’s guest of honor this year, will not be able to attend due to his filming schedule, but eight of his films — most of which will be shown in Turkey for the first time — will be offered in the “Tribute to” section, including “The Girl From Auschwitz,” “Threat,” “The Soul is Greater Than the World,” “Terrorists: The Kids They Sentenced,” “Time Has no Name,” “Javna, Reinder Herdsman in Year 2000,” and “Decency.”

Jarl, who was billed by Ingmar Bergman as “one of the last great samurai who unyieldingly fights for ideals,” will teach an online filmmaking class titled “Shedding Light on Dark Passages” as part of the festival.

Documentarist is this year making the leap to İstanbul’s Asian side for the first time since its launch in 2008, offering screenings at the TAK design studio in Kadıköy as well as at the Ses Theater, SALT Beyoğlu, Aynalıgeçit, the French Cultural Center and Şişli Kent Cultural Center on the European side.

For the full program of films and the screening schedule, check out http://www.documentarist.org.

Istanbul’s Suna and İnan Kıraç Foundation Pera Museum welcomed the winter of 2014 with an exhibition of Picasso’s engravings, ceramics, and childhood belongings from the house of his birth in “Picasso: Engravings and Ceramics from the House of His Birth.” The exhibition, which opened on Feb. 5, includes 64 artworks, including 56 engravings and eight ceramics, as well as the artist’s childhood belongings such as his baby smock, shoes, and toy soldiers.

Selected works from the Museo Casa Natal Collection, namely the house in which Picasso was born in Málaga, Spain, the exhibition presents examples of the artist’s stylistic transitions. While the engravings, which reflect the unending quests of Picasso’s career, extend from realistic depictions of certain subjects to Cubist interpretations, the works also include ceramics and personal objects.
Pablo Ruiz Picasso, born in Málaga in 1881, in a house facing the Merced Square in the heart of a city that already had 2500 years of history, comes with the memories of a house full of sisters and aunts, with doves fluttering around the square where he played as a small child, and the smell of paint on the walls.

This selection offers examples of the stylistic transitions of an artist who has made his mark on visual formats ever since the 20th century; it is a reflection of his world, his constant and never-ending search. Engravings from the Picasso Foundation, Birthplace Museum’s Collection are exhibited to create a full panorama of the models, techniques, and styles of the artist between 1923 and 1969, half a century of changing creation during which he combines and switches between Classicism, Cubism, and Surrealism.

Traditional themes are questioned in six sections, which reflect and bear witness to Picasso’s incessant search, his defense of the freedom and independence of the artist, which made him one of the 20th century’s greatest artists.

 

Nordic glass art

In another exhibition, which is simultaneously on display with Picasso, Pera Museum brings to art lovers a colorful and comprehensive exhibition showcasing some of the best examples of Nordic glass art.

In the exhibition “Aurora: Contemporary Nordic Glass Art,” 51 works by 25 artists from Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland are presented. Nordic countries hold a special, leading place in contemporary glass art, due to their different use of glass design. The artists are in a continuous search; they produce art freely and on a wide scale, in a process that is variable, innovative, and global.

The glass artists hailing from northern European countries, present visitors in Istanbul with contemporary interpretations of glass, a material inherited from past cultures.

The artists, taking their influences from the glamorous nature and traditions of the North, reinterpret the forms that pass on from generation to generation, through pushing the limits of material and technology in an unorthodox way. They transform glass into a field of contemporary art, beyond the function, form, and technical skills inherited from previous pioneers of glass-making, proved and approved since the 18th century. They open up new discussion platforms for today’s questions while remaining true to the Nordic simplicity and grace.

The artists’ work connects to discussions of gender, the environment, and street-art attitude. Any order of rank among the different motifs is respected. A mobile phone number in neon can hold an equally powerful place within a Nordic contemporary glass work, as naturally as graceful long-necked vases. Many of the artists’ work with concepts that have a clear theoretic statement, others test the definition of art itself.

The range of choice in Nordic glass illustrates its characteristic as an exuberant art form.
The exhibitions will continue through April 20.

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