Exploring Contemporary Art in Turkey and the UK

While the cultural, historical, and political settings influencing modern art in Turkey and the UK are different, there are certain similarities and areas where they overlap.

Contemporary artists from Turkey and the UK frequently address issues of globalization and identity. Whereas in the UK, artists might work with questions of multiculturalism and post-colonial identity, artists in Turkey might investigate their country’s complicated identity that straddles Eastern and Western influences.

Globalization and Identity: Similarities and Divergence

Both nations’ artists regularly address sociopolitical themes, but from distinct angles. UK artists may tackle themes like Brexit, immigration, and socioeconomic inequality, whereas Turkish contemporary artists may highlight challenges unique to their nation’s political situation.

From classical painting and sculpture to new media, installation, and performance art, contemporary artists in Turkey and the UK work in a variety of media. This variety captures a global current art trend.

British and Turkish contemporary artists actively participate in the global art scene by showcasing their works at galleries, biennales, and international fairs. This exposure not only facilitates cultural exchange but also encourages cross-border conversation and cooperation.


Political, economic, and social power structures are frequently criticized by artists in both nations. They might question conventions, stand up to authority, and promote change through their creativity.

Shared Global Currents: Trends in Contemporary Art Practices

The commitment to pushing limits, encouraging innovation, and representing the diversity of artistic expression in the modern world unites these contemporary art places and their featured exhibitions in London. Presenting the work of both established and emerging artists is highly valued by many of these venues, which fosters a dynamic and varied artistic community.


Through experimental exhibitions, new media projects, or non-traditional presentation methods, these venues continuously aim to push the frontiers of art forms and question conventional standards. In terms of the artists featured and the subjects covered in the shows, there is a dedication to showcasing a range of voices and viewpoints. This involves tackling social, political, and cultural issues as well as showcasing underrepresented artists.

From more contemporary mediums like photography, video, multimedia, and virtual reality to more conventional ones like painting and sculpture, these spaces welcome a broad spectrum of artistic disciplines. The multidisciplinary approach takes into account how modern art is changing.

A Look at Top 10 Contemporary Art Galleries in London

One of the top 10 contemporary art galleries in London is a century-old gallery, the South London Gallery. It exhibits works by both established and emerging artists. It has expanded to incorporate a refurbished fire station across from the main structure and has an inventive educational curriculum.


Since its founding in 1901, Whitechapel Gallery has been a center of the arts, showcasing global artists and nurturing up-and-coming talent with programs including Artists’ Film International and the London Open.

Contemporary Arts Institute (ICA) features ground-breaking exhibitions, an arthouse cinema, and live events, it has been fostering radical art since 1946 and is weirdly situated amidst governmental buildings.

Perhaps the highlight of our top 10 contemporary art galleries in London list, Tate Modern is a beloved site that is redefining art galleries since its opening in 2000. It is renowned for its outstanding permanent collection, large-scale installations in its Turbine Hall, and avant-garde shows.

The Barbican Art Gallery is housed in an ambitious architectural construction. It showcases works in its lively second space, The Curve, and hosts exhibitions by prominent worldwide artists who push the frontiers of major art forms.

The North and South Serpentine Galleries are enchanting spaces that support modern and up-and-coming artists. Notable people like Damien Hirst and Marina Abramović have shown in their history.

Once a public library, Camden Art Centre is now a cherished location for innovative exhibitions by artists such as Bas Jan Ader and Tacita Dean.

Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art displays both historical and recently commissioned artwork, this former Victorian bathhouse is divided into eight galleries.


The largest public photographic gallery in London is called The Photographers’ Gallery. It showcases and supports worldwide and UK-based photographers through exhibitions and renowned awards.

Gasworks is a non-profit that offers studio space, foreign residency programs, and commissions up-and-coming artists for their UK premieres.

Turkish Contemporary Artists: Exploring Identity

At the intersection of East and West, Turkish contemporary artists wrestle with the identity of their country, taking cues from the socio-political milieu. It is said that Istanbul is the “art city of the future.”

Prominent artists such as Ahmet Ögüt are well-known for using a variety of media to highlight global socio-political issues. Ayşe Erkmen uses a variety of media to investigate topics like public places and migration. The ability of photography to document in socio-political circumstances is questioned by Banu Cennetoğlu. Through multimedia works, Hale Tenger investigates cultural identity and power dynamics. Halil Altındere mockingly criticizes the hierarchies of authority in Turkish society.

Kutluğ Ataman documents neglected life by fusing contemporary art with filming. Mehmet Ali Uysal questions accepted practices in art creation and gallery settings. In his video works, Ali Kazma captures human activity and the cycle of labor. Taner Ceylan challenges Ottoman conservatism and Orientalist images in his provocative and sexually charged paintings. The artwork of these artists is on display in several galleries and shows around the world, highlighting Turkey’s thriving contemporary art scene.

Turkish Contemporary Art in London

Even though it is not included in the top 10 contemporary art galleries in London, TA London showcased the various talent of renowned Turkish contemporary artists from all around the world. The show featured 21 artists from a variety of contemporary art styles and techniques from mainland Turkey, Cyprus, Azerbaijan, London, and other European areas.

Devrim Erbil, dubbed the “Poet of Painting,” was in the forefront of the show. He auctioned off his first NFT painting, “London,” on the occasion. Devrim’s artwork provided a distinctive viewpoint of the London skyline.

Two international guest artists from London, Eva Sonaike and Joanna Gilbert, were invited to exhibit their works, which, respectively, blended traditional history with contemporary life and reflected metropolitan diversity, in order to further highlight multiculturalism.

As represented by its name, “mersi” from Turkey and “ta” from London, the show aimed to promote conversation, investigation, and artistic cooperation while expressing thanks and solidarity.

Photo Credit: “Tate Modern London architecture #dailyshoot” by Leshaines123.