BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

The Agah Uğur Collection

One of the Largest Video Art Collections in Istanbul, Turkey

In the early 1990s, Agah Uğur was still collecting modernist Turkish painting. As the CEO of the giant Turkish industrial group Borusan explains, at that time he was primarily concerned with beauty. In 2008, however, he began to radically reorient his collection’s concept. Since then, he has focused on provocative art that grapples with social and political themes, such as the abuse of power or issues related to ethnic and religious identity. Many of the artists in the collection are from Turkey, like Füsun Onur, Cevdet Erek, or Aslı Çavuşoğlu, but international names are also represented, such as Bouchra Khalili or James Richards. In order to make the exquisite video collection available to a broader public, Uğur opened Why Not—a 170-square-meter exhibition space with five rooms for screening videos and an area for installations, next to his own residence. Half of the exhibits are rotated every six months.

Frankfurt am Main-based writer Sandra Danicke is a correspondent for the art magazine Art, where she reports on contemporary artists and all art historical time periods. In addition, she holds a PhD in art history and works as an editor for the Frankfurter Rundschau and as a freelance journalist for Die Zeit and the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Image courtesy The Agah Uğur Collection, Istanbul, Turkey