DON'T FORGET TO REMEMBER
The readymade object of Thursday is the “Smiley” emoticon, one of the most widely recognized icons in the world. Volkan Aslan covers, with the smiling face of this icon, the face of a security guard and/or exhibition attendant, the kind of face that viewers will most frequently encounter when they visit an art institution on any given day. With this small intervention entitled “Welcome”, he transforms the attendant into an actual part of this exhibition, who, for security and institutional reasons must be visually present within the exhibition space during the visiting hours, no matter what is on display. In “Miscalculation”, which corresponds to Friday, Aslan brings an ornate chandelier—a readymade chosen from the religious sphere—into the exhibition space. The chandelier seems to have fallen onto the floor instead of hanging high above us, as if the length of its cable was miscalculated while it was being hung; and its bulbs wink from below to the fluorescent lamps that draw patterns on the ceiling.
The light and loose rhythm of weekends (the days reserved for forgetting rather than remembering) is associated with cartoon characters and statuettes. Aslan assembles these childhood heroes—the ones he spent happy weekends with—in a studio for a big family picture and makes a video recording of their reunion. Dressed up in clothes that he has ordered over the Internet from a company marketing party and festival costumes, a group of friends are asked to pose to the gaze and lens of a professional studio photographer—a gesture already very familiar from the family pictures of his childhood years. As for Sunday, it invades the whole gallery, just like our hobbies, which we can only enjoy in our spare time, but then seem to take over the entire house with their mess. Aslan started collecting cheap statuettes from market stalls after he departed from a family home that had no glass cabinet displays or statuettes. Every time he moved to another house more of these statuettes got broken; yet he hybridized them by gluing one broken part onto that of another. Gradually this break-and-paste act turned into an obsession, and completing each broken porcelain piece with parts of the others, Aslan has created?a vast collection comprising dozens of unique and disturbing objects.
The works Volkan Aslan has produced for “Don’t Forget To Remember” subject his main strategy of instrumentalising templates and readymade objects—a method he frequently employs—to experimentation on a new template. As he uses the days of the week as the backbone of the exhibition, Aslan connects each day to his own personal experiences and perceptions by associating them with various readymade objects and patterns.
This book designed by Esen Karol and edited by Ilkay Baliç to accompany the exhibition is situated within a personal calendar that begins on New year’s Day 2013 and ends on 3 April, the artist’s birthday. The book brings together the photographs that Volkan Aslan took almost every day during this period in order to remember a specific day, the notes from his notebooks, and quotes from a conversation on ‘the days of the week’ made during the production process of the book. Those who realise as they flick through the book that the exhibition actually takes its title from a tattoo on the artist’s arm, will no doubt guess that certain autobiographical elements have leaked into these works formed of readymade objects and media. They might want to search for other connections: yet they will probably end up encountering something of their own.
Emre Baykal, Don't Forget to Remember Editor:Ilkay Balic, Design:Esen Karol, Translation: Nazim Dikbas
installation view from “DON’T FORGET TO REMEMBER” curated by Emre Baykal, ARTER - Istanbul, 2013