Self-portrait with 4 eyes. Oil on Canvas. Pekin Collection.
|Education||The New School,|
|Known for||Contemporary Art, Painting, Sculpture,|
|Movement||idea art, Post Dada|
|Awards||BP, Lions, EMAF, Sovereign European Art Prize, Ege Art Master Award|
Genco Gulan (Turkish pronunciation: [ʤænʤoʊ ˈɟylun] (born 1969 in Turkey) is a contemporary conceptual artist and theorist, who lives and works in Istanbul. His transmedia contextual work involves painting, found objects, new media, drawings, sculpture, photography, performance and video. His work often carries political, social and/or cultural messages but is never transformed into propaganda. He rejects being modern or minimal. He describes his work as idea art.
Given that he is one of Istanbul’s most famous contemporary artists, it comes as a bit of a surprise that the work of Genco Gulan touches upon the disciplines which are regarded as “underdeveloped” in Turkey. Gulan is interested in Idea Art (which is how he describes his work), which could be defined as a form of conceptual art, and he is also quite familiar with the new media and explorations that take the art of new media as a point of reference. It is rather obvious that Genco Gulan holds a certain fascination with multiplication, given that his work is either concerned with the most obvious forms of duplication, or imitation, which serves to suggest that individuality is a myth. One of his most famous series (Self Portrait?) from 2013 questions personal identity through a number of photographs, all of which portray Gulan dressed as someone else. 
Genco Gulan studied Media at The New School, New York. His art has appeared at Pera Museum, Museu de Arte Moderna do Rio de Janeiro, ZKM Karlsruhe, Triennale di Milano, Biennial of Tehran and Pompidou Center Paris. Gulan has had solo shows at Gallery Artist in Berlin, Istanbul; State Painting and Sculpture Museums in Ankara, Izmir; Foto Gallery Lang, Zagreb and Artda Gallery, Seoul among other places.
He has received prizes from EMAF, BP, Lions, and was nominated for and selected as a finalist for the Sovereign Art Foundation European Art Prize in 2011. His net-art pieces have been listed in required reading lists at the City University, New York, Rice University and U.C. Santa Barbara. Gülan has given conferences at Yale, School of Visual Arts, Köln University, Incheon University and the New York Institute of Technology among others. He is in public art collections such as Proje4L / Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, Istanbul Modern, Museum Ostwall, Davis Museum and The Thessaloniki State Museum of Contemporary Art.
“Ikiz” (twins) are a working preoccupation of Genco Gülan’s. His interest in secondariness and doubling, as well as his propensity for revealing/discovering multiple personalities and identities, attracts us for this particular project. At times claiming to be Kurdish, or possibly Armenian, Gülan simultaneously shies away from these (possibly self-invented but probably not) designations—explaining them as pointless. What Gülan is a well-established artist working in disciplines and circumstances that are undeveloped in Turkey. The singularness of his position as a media/ performance/ visual artist in a place where each of these descriptors is understandable on its own, but not together, stands out for us as important. Istanbul has the problem of a lack of continuity in the art world. Every thing must be reinvented again and again, which means that the art-going audience must watch while artist after artist repeats the same tedious experiment over and over. Genco, however, is the exception. For the past 20 years, his work continues to innovate and stand apart from the young artists of Istanbul today, who all look to trendsetters outside of Turkey for references and cues—trying to become relevant and collected in this recently overly commercialized scene. Genco, however, creates work inside the semi-permeable bubble he has created, and therefore, his work remains free of the influence of passing whims and trends and true to his vision. While at the same time, his work with new media demands that he stay current with what is happening in the rest of the world. Gülan maintains an excellent balance between relevance and innovation.
Genco uses text, codes and even his own DNA in his art. He is a conceptual, contextual new media artist, developing theory as well as practice. He specializes in not knowing what everybody else knows. Genco Gulan believes in the artistic future of bio-technology, artificial intelligence, and digital communication. In a video piece called “Grundig”, he filmed a female swim team playing rugby underwater with a TV monitor.
"If it's not new, it's just media," says Gulan in regards to the importance of novelty. His experimental works include net-art, web art, A.I.gen (generated) images, Robot Games, SCIgen papers and online videos. Genco uses boron in his sculptures.
After years of work and experience, Genco Gülan's exxhibition 'Untitled' was considered as a résumé of his adventure in conceptual colors of contemporary art. The gallery space (EKAV Foundation, Istanbul) was used in a manner that allowed all artworks “to talk” with each other apart from their unique placement, preventing monotony. Different mediums were 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 were made in different mediums, create a bigger and much intense chunk of information. The exhibition holding layers of information, ready to be interpreted by the viewer, divided into all works was brought into light in January 21, 2014.
“The Android Statue” of Genco Gülan was exhibited in Antalya Archeology Museum March 12–20, 2014. In the exhibition, also the sketches of his kinetic marble statue series, called “Robotic Statues” were presented. Genco Gülan gives references to archeology; he even produces new media artworks. His art try to predict the future of both sculpture as a discipline and humanity in general. Gülan has been working on robots in the labs of different universities since the middle of 1990’s. He uses hardware and software of robots in many art projects. For example The artwork titled Robots, Football and War (RFW) of Gülan that consists physical robots, was part of a computer game “Balkan Wars” that won a prize from European Media Art Festival, Osnabrück in 1995. His play written by artificial intelligence (AI) robots was used in the project YEN! (New), presented in Pera Museum, for 16th Istanbul Theatre Festival.
Gülan’s site-specific installation, ‘The Great Conjugation’, was exhibited at Boğaziçi University’s Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences building, Washburn Hall through May and June 2014. After 23 years, the artist returned to the building where he completed his undergraduate studies. This time he tied the twin towers of the historical building together from inside.The project which changes and transforms depending upon the location was not displayed in a museum but this time in an academic institution. Gülan’s The Great Conjugation’ used approximately 1000 ties for this installation. All of the connected ties created a route tens of meters long and the line flowed through the all five floors of the building. The ties connected the twin towers of the building from the inside which was built in 1906. During the exhibition Gülan invited the viewers to bring their ties and add them to the installation to generate a second level of participation. Gülan’s work of art is not descriptive, it does not involve just one explanation. Both the objects that are used and the space-time relationship between them give a range of meaning to the piece. What Gülan tries to do is to constitute new semantic connections and summon new connotations by using the association of ideas. While he is doing that he claims the role of ‘playmaker’ and tries to be almost out of the picture. Even if the method is referring to Nicolas Bourriaud’s concept of relational aesthetics, the soft sculpture that came to life is more plastic and political among its contemporaries. The ties used in the project have different colors, designs, brands and they were made in different countries. They were gathered from hundreds of domestic and abroad donators. The ties some of which are silk, nylon and wool conjugate and become a whole. The same ties were exhibited and greatly appreciated by viewers in The Thessaloniki State Museum of Contemporary Art and Ankara Contemporary Art Center in 2013. At the first display in Istanbul, they were attached with a crane to a skyscraper and raised 160 meters from the ground. Genco Gülan was selected as a finalist at Sovereign Art Foundation European Art Prize in 2011. He had opened his first exhibition at White Saloon inside the Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences building where he had also taken lots of courses while he was studying at the Department of Political Science and International Relations between 1987 and 1991. ‘The Great Conjugation’ project happened with the contributions of Prof Dr. Ayşe Gül Toker and the Faculty Secretary Hatıra Şenkon.
A solo show named Swimming Rocks which was on exhibit on June 27, 2014 at the Art Gallery of Kırmızı Ardıç Kuşu, Gallery Metazori in Çeşme, Alaçatı where Gülan spent most of his childhood is not only the name of the exhibition, but also one of the significant artworks in the exhibition, the Swimming Rocks are pumice typed rocks that can float on the sea and be found in Aegean Sea, especially in Çeşme and Alaçatı inspiring the artist in this process. Gülan made a sculpture, named Swimming Rocks from these and other stones; therefore this and some other sculptural pieces float on the sea and in the gallery. He made floating figurative, human-sized sculptures covered with stone. The artworks of Genco Gülan's mother, Tezer Gülan and his grandmother, Saime İzmiroğlu where also exhibited in the show. Genco Gülan had also a series called as “New Landscape” in this exhibition. This series being a conceptual/electronic interpretation of landscapes as barcodes dealing with questions, such as how the landscape pictures change in time, how different our landscapes became now and how the landscapes in the future will become. Gülan juxtaposed classical landscape paintings, barcodes and produced new pieces. Gülan also exhibited his new series; Digital Ghost in the show. The artist painted on large canvases; the non-existing images that appeared in his formatted laptop.
As an artist Genco Gulan worked with curators such as Marcus Graf, Derya Yucel, Peter Weibel, Suzanne van Hagen, Firat Arapoglu, Margerethe Makovec & Anton Lederer, Necmi Sönmez, Gülsen Bal, Ege Berensel, Roger Connover and Eda Cufer. He worked with art historians/ writers such as Zeynep Yasa Yaman, Nilgun Ozayten, Goknur Gurcan, Baris Acar, Aysegul Sonmez, Burcu Pelvanoglu; As a curator he curated and co-curated shows in New York, Seul, Karlsruhe, Istanbul, Thessaloniki and on the Web.
"At first the Istanbul Contemporary Art Museum developed as an art series in the manner of Duchamp and Broodthaers until the end of the 1990s. Later it evolved when it was transferred to the Internet. It turned into a new age institution that organized exhibitions, workshops and provided logistic support on cyber space." 
For almost a decade, the museum ran an unorthodox residency program called "I live in a Museum" and hosted artists from the U.S., the Netherlands, Spain, and China at its Galata location. After the Istanbul location closed, Genco Gulan, in Berlin, manifested himself as a Museum.
Gulan's monograph; "Conceptual Colors" edited by Dr. Marcus Graf, is co-published by Revolver Publishing in Berlin in collaboration with Artist Istanbul. His books are available at libraries such as the German National Library, SALT Istanbul, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Thomas J. Watson Library and the Haas Family Arts Library at Yale University. Gulan founded the Web Biennial at the turn of the century, served on the Board of Balkan Biennial in Thessaloniki, International Programming Committee of ISEA Singapore in 2008 and was a guest editor for Second Nature: International Journal of Creative Media. He was in the jury for Turgut Pura Art Prize in Izmir and teaches at Mimar Sinan Academy and Bogazici University.
Art (Blue), ready-made, 2013.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Genco Gulan.|
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: Genco Gulan|
- Genco Gulan at the Internet Movie Database
- Official Web site gencogulan.com
- The Change in Art: Genco Gulan at TEDxModa
- Galeri Artist, Istanbul, Berlin.
- Banff Centre, Banff, Canada.
- Rhizome, at the New Museum, NY.
- Java Museum, Koeln interview.
- Istanbul Contemporary Art Museum
- Official website of the Web Biennial
- LABS : Leonardo ABstracts Service
- The King beheading himself. Written by Sabine Küper on June 21, 2013.
- Goethe Institute
- Saatchi Online
- Review by Nancy Atakan, Phd.
- Review by Marcus Graf at Visual Art Beat Magazine.
- Employee of the Month
- Turkish Culture and Art
- Identity as a Myth, article by Dr. Graf
- Marcus Graf. Conceptual Colors of Genco Gulan, Revolver Publishing, 2012. ISBN 978-3868952049
- Marcus Graf. Genco Gulan: Kavramsal Renkler, Galata Perform Publishing, 2008. ISBN 9789944016001
- Genco Gulan. Portrait of the Artist as the Young Man: (After James Joyce) CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2013. ISBN 978-1481942423
- Genco Gulan. De-constructing the Digital Revolution: Analysis of the Usage of the Term "Digital Revolution" in Relation with the New Technology, LAP Lambert Academic Publishing (November 12, 2009). ISBN 978-3838320472