“Names Inscribed” 239 cheap souvenirs, dimensions variable, 2011
For his show entitled VOLKAN, Volkan Aslan creates a game of reproduction/ repetition/collection and focuses on the history of Maçka Sanat Galerisi. With his findings, Aslan turns the exhibition space into an archeological excavation site. These findings consist of the names of the 239 artists who have exhibited in the gallery before him. These 239 names are exhibited as inscriptions on 239 cheap souvenirs. Both the names and the souvenirs on which they are inscribed become objects of art.
This installation titled Names Inscribed (2011) raises a line of quetions con- cerning an art history and a conception of art that are written through names, as well as pointing to tensions between commodity and art, mass produced objects and collectibles, the ordinary and the worthy of exhibition, the authentic and the fake by turning mass produced objects into valuable art objects. What does art and industry have to do with each other? What does art and commodity have to do with each other? Are these objects that we are allowed to touch freely even though they are exhibited in a gallery really so valuable or are they simply no different from their copies in a souvenir shop?
Aslan manipulates our conception of these objects through the names in- scribed on them, the value these names and himself attach to them, and the declaration of them as art objects as a consequence of this. Lastly, this instal- lation brings to the fore two ways in which the human experience relates to these objects in the current art system: As a heap of cheap objects that be- come valuable with the names of the artists with which art history is written, and as a heap of art objects that can be dug up by the viewer.
installation view from “VOLKAN” curated by Nazli Gurlek, Macka Sanat Galerisi, Istanbul