The 1990's witnessed the signs of a crisis of unforeseen proportions. The changes all over Europe in 1989 were in some respects a maturation of this immense transformation. As the writer Thomas McEvilley has pointed out, "Western culture as it enters the 1990's is somewhat inchoately seeking a new definition of history that will not involve ideas of hierarchy, or of mainstream and periphery, and a new, global sense of civilization to replace the linear Eurocentric model that lay at the heart of Modernism”.
The theme of The 3rd International Istanbul Biennial was The Production of Cultural Difference. This represents an umbrella concept under which individual countries have their own curated shows based directly on this concept or on its interpretations.