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Bengi Ünsal Named as New Director of the ICA London

Bengi Ünsal will become the first woman to serve as the organisation’s director in over five decades

portrait of a woman

The ICA London has announced Bengi Ünsal will take over as its next director in March 2022, as the organisation approaches its 75th anniversary.

Ünsal is the first director to be appointed under the chairmanship of artist Wolfgang Tillmans and will take responsibility for the “rebalancing of [the ICA’s] multidisciplinary programme across all arts, all media and all spaces.” This includes the ICA’s approach to visual art, film and educational programming as well as the expansion of its nighttime events and digital offerings.

As the head of contemporary music at London’s Southbank Centre since 2016, Ünsal has overseen a broad range of performance-based projects, including the annual Meltdown Festival (with guest curators including MIA, Robert Smith of the Cure, and Nile Rodgers) and she plans to bring this experience to her new role at the ICA by commissioning, producing and presenting “a broader range of live performances.”

“We are living through a time that is challenging everything we know about work, life, the world, our connectivity. In a time of such questioning, it is vital that the space for culture, art, and expression is safeguarded to help us make sense of it all. We need our cultural institutions to be the platforms which allow artists to do just that. Artists of today are genre-fluid and connected, their expression limited only by their imaginations,” commented Ünsal in a press statement. “The ICA, with the diversity of its spaces and specialists, can become a home for these artists to create and inspire; a space where our rapidly evolving communities are more truthfully represented and welcomed; a hub for creative encounters.”

“My colleagues and I are enormously excited that Bengi has agreed to join us at this crucial moment in the ICA’s history,” added Tillmans. “Bengi has already started developing and sharing her ideas and plans on how she will shape a programme across all artforms and all areas of our building, taking the organisation back to its multidisciplinary heyday with a program rooted firmly in the here and now.”

Find out more: ica.art

Featured Image: Bengi Ünsal. Photo by Muhsin Akgün.


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