Untitled by Genco Gülan
Ekavart Gallery, Istanbul, Turkey
21 January – 1 March 2014
Text by Sinan Eren Erk*
We know there were worlds
So much older…
And they shall rise, and
Tell us much more the truth of man
(Jimi Hendrix – Valleys of Neptune)
Conceptual artist Genco Gülan, has brought his new exhibition Untitled to light few days ago. After years of work and experience, this exhibition can be considered as a resume of his presence in contemporary art.
The gallery space is used in a manner that allows all artworks ‘to talk’ with each other apart from their unique placement, preventing monotony. Different mediums are being used with a variety of measurements, colors and display styles. Axles, like arteries, feeding the ease of legibility around which the exhibition revolves. Therefore the focal point of Untitled is the concept of meaning. Each artwork has its meaning however, even though they belong to different series or they are made in different mediums, create a bigger and much intense chunk of information. The exhibition holds layers of information, ready to be interpreted by the viewer, divided into all works.
Gülan’s art is somehow a mixture of the past and the possible future. On one hand, the milestones of the art history (classical, modern or post-modern) are being re-imagined and adapted in today’s reality, on the other hand they are transformed into something that predicts the oncoming days in Jules Verne’s precision. The work 22.2 that is basically a QR code in a big scale done using tiny black and white tiles, is a perfect representation of such mixture. The QR code symbolizing the future, when scanned with a tablet or smart phone, gives you a contemporary poetry that has a parallelism with Kurt Schwitter’s in Dada movement. Similarly in Being Rembrandt van Rjin, the image of the famous self-portrait is deformed and adapted in today’s world by replacing his face with Gülan’s and his painting equipment with a computer keyboard and a bunch of paintbrushes. These two works are made in different mediums, in different dates but even so in the exhibition, not just because of their placement but also because of their cross relation, they create a different third meaning layer that is still in relation with the other two.
To understand the full potential of the exhibition, one must first get rid of his prejudgments about the concepts and meanings, then prick up ears for the conversation between the artworks and finally rediscover the meaning. Therefore the lines that you get from the works individually are getting clearer and clearer, surprisingly, with the help of much more otherness created in between them.
*Sinan Eren Erk is an independent curator and writer. He worked in 12th Istanbul Biennial and Istanbul Design Biennial as assistant curator and in Documenta13 as contributor/speaker.
Genco Gülan (Istanbul 1969) is a contemporary conceptual artist with a specialisation in new media and performance art. He pursued an MA degree on Media Studies at New School, New York. He got his first prize from BP in 1993, selected as a finalist for The Sovereign Art Foundation, European Art Prize in 2011. Gülan made solo shows at Berlin, Graz, Istanbul, New York, Seoul and Zagreb. His works are presented in museums such as; Centre Pompidou, Pera, ZKM, MAM, Rio and La Triennale di Bovisa, Milano. His works listed in required reading lists at; City University, New York, Rice University and U.C. Santa Barbara. Gulan gave conferences at Yale, School of Visual Arts, Köln University and New York Institute of Technology. He is in art collections such as Istanbul Modern, State Museum of Contemporary Art Thessaloniki, Davis Museum Barcelona and Museum Ostwall Dortmund. Genco Gulan was in the Advisory Board of Balkan Biennial, Cosmopolis, Thessaloniki, International Programming Committee of ISEA Singapore, at the editorial board of Second Nature Journal, Melbourne and at Turgut Pura prize jury in Izmir. Genco Gülan is the founder of the Web Biennial, currently teaches at Mimar Sinan Academy and Bogazici University.
Ekavart Gallery, Istanbul;
EKAV / Education, Culture and Research Foundation has started its operations on November 23rd, 1991, with the aim of carrying the concept of art to a wider area, and giving support to young artists of the future.
The Ekavart Gallery is a non-profit establishment under EKAV. The system works donations. The Ekavart Gallery aims at improving the quality of life in general and at the level of social consciousness within the general population through combining the language of art and esthetic values. Ever since the opening of the Gallery, solo and mixed exhibitions that included the works of the masters of Turkish art as well as the works of the younger generations, personal development seminars, signing days, workshops, concerts have been conducted there. The Gallery hosted the works of many well-known artists such as Fahrel Nisa Zeid, Ergin İnan, Süleyman Saim Tekcan, Muzaffer Akyol, Balkan Naci İslimyeli, Seyyit Bozdoğan, Okan Bayülgen, Mercan Dede, Nezih Çavuşoğlu, Ali Alışır, Sezin Aksoy, Uğur Çakı, Yalçın Bilgin, Ardan Özmenoğlu.