Serkan Özkaya

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Serkan Özkaya
Born Turkey
Nationality Turkish
Education Bard College, Istanbul University
Known for Contemporary art, Conceptual art
Awards MacDowell Colony, Society of Newspaper Design, Civitella Ranieri

Serkan Özkaya (1973) is a Turkish conceptual artist whose work deals with topics of appropriation and reproduction, and typically operates outside of traditional art spaces.[1] Özkaya lives in New York City. He holds an M.F.A. from Bard College, New York, and a Ph.D in German Language and Literature from Istanbul University, where he also earned his B.A. and M.A.

Özkaya has been an artist-in-residence at the École Régionale des Beaux Arts de Nantes (2000–2001), Rooseum in Malmö with the IASPIS grant (2002), Platform Recent Art Center in Istanbul (2003–2004), and at Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin (2006). He is also a fellow of the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire.

Selected works and projects[edit]

MyMoon, 2015

MyMoon is an artwork by Serkan Ozkaya. It is a large round rock floating in the sky, that is visible through the smart phone via MyMoon app. Using the smart phone's GPS and compass, MyMoon app detects the object in the sky and makes it visible. MyMoon rotates in close proximity to the moon in the sky. Yet unlike the earth's satellite, it is visible outdoors and indoors.

Mirage, 2013

Mirage was installed at the Postmasters Gallery in New York and consisted of a shadow of a passenger airplane that crossed the room for 45 seconds every four minutes. The shadow here was considered not as the mere absence of light but rather as a material in and of itself which could then be sculpted.

One and Three Pasta (with George L. Legendre), 2012

Serkan Ozkaya collaborated with the architect George L. Legendre to create replicas after computer models of 92 types of pasta (based on Legendreʼs mathematical equations). The actual pieces of pasta were displayed next to their generative equations. One and Three Pasta references to canonical works like Joseph Kosuthʼs One and Three Chairs and Donald Juddʼs untitled stacks.

Atlas, 2011

Atlas is a contribution to a walking museum wherein Ozkaya constructed a rock to be strapped to the curator's back and promenaded daily throughout the streets of New York. Ozkaya came up with the idea of making ‘the museum’ wander around the streets of New York with his new piece: a giant rock.

What A Museum Should Really Look Like (Large Glass), 2000

Ozkaya collected roughly 30,000 slides from artists, galleries, and institutions and showed them on one of the largest galleries in the main pedestrian street of Istanbul, the Kazim Taskent Art Gallery. What A Museum Should Really Look Like represented a giant mosaic of individual images. During the day the slides were readable from the inside of the gallery and at night, with the lights on, they became a scene for the street. This piece was later initiated in Utrecht, the Netherlands in a much larger scale with 100,000 slides.

A Sudden Gust of Wind, 2007

In A Sudden Gust of Wind, Ozkaya depicted the journey of one sheet of paper swept by the wind in a room. The work was made with basic materials, i.e. legal size Xerox paper, thread, and glue. Analogous to the almost littoral quality of the installation itself, the piece of paper is a structure between the abstract and the concrete.

Bring Me The Head of..., 2007–2015

Bring Me The Head of… is in the form of a teddy bear’s head on a plate. Instead of working with museums or galleries, in this case, Ozkaya collaborated with restaurants and chefs and they decided the ingredients—i.e. the material—of the sculpture. This work was made in collaboration with M on the Bund in Shanghai and was offered at Freemans in New York in 2007 as a part of the Performa Biennial, as street food in Izmir in 2009, at Changa in Istanbul in 2008, Capital M in Beijing in 2012, and in 2014 at the Hive in Bentonville, AR.

David (inspired by Michelangelo), 2005–2012

David (inspired by Michelangelo) is a double size, golden replica of Michelangeloʼs David based on the accurate 3D computer model by Dr. Marc Levoy of Stanford University. This piece was acquired by 21c Museum in Kentucky, USA.

Today Could Be a Day of Historical Importance, 2003–2009

Ozkaya turned the front and back covers of Radikal newspaper into drawings. The text and pictures were hand-rendered and the paper appeared as a print of the drawing for one day. This act enabled the reader to acquire a limited edition for a very reasonable price (the price of the newspaper). The overall piece, entitled Today Could Be A Day Of Historical Importance was executed in Sweden with Aftonbladet, in Germany with Freitag, in the U.S. with the New York Times and Courier Journal.

Proletarier Aller Laender, 2000

“Proletarier aller Laender... is an installation with hundreds of minuscule red plastic foam figures affixed to the floor. Depending upon your point of view, Ozkaya's installation either cited the trampling of the working classes or their resilience and ultimate power, always springing back, indestructible.”

Dear Sir or Madam, 1996–2009

Dear Sir or Madam is a collection of letter correspondences between Ozkaya and cultural institutions, dignitaries and curators. This is his own paper trail of bureaucracy in (in)action. He has requested that he be allowed to hang the Mona Lisa upside down and re-wrap the Reichstag, among others. Often, the letters do not deserve a response but curiously, they have usually been treated with official but unthinking courtesy, read perhaps but not comprehended—answered and then often passed along the bureaucratic chain.

Public appearances and workshops[edit]

Over the course of the past two decades, Ozkaya has given talks, taken part in panel discussions, and conducted workshops at numerous academic and artistic institutions, including: The Malmö Art Academy, Malmö, Sweden; Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art Malmö, Sweden; Goldsmiths College, London, United Kingdom; Bilkent University, Ankara, Turkey; Platform Garanti Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul, Turkey; BeganeGrond / BAK, Utrecht The Netherlands; Charlottenburg Museum, Copenhagen, Denmark; University of Gothenburg's Valand School of Fine Arts, Gothenburg, Sweden; The Drawing Center, New York City, NY; Helsinki Art Academy, Helsinki, Finland; Brown University, Providence, RI; Columbia University, and New York City, NY.


Selected solo exhibitions[edit]

  • Lives and Works in Utrecht, BeganeGrond, Utrecht, The Netherlands, (2002)
  • Minerva Street, Galerist, Istanbul, Turkey, (2003)
  • Monet: A Retrospective, Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Germany, (2006)
  • When He Came Back to His Senses, The Monster Was Still Waiting in Front of the Cave, Galerist, Istanbul, Turkey, (2006)
  • Bring Me the Head Of…, M on the Bund, Shanghai, China, (2007)
  • A Sudden Gust of Wind, Boots Contemporary Art Space, St. Louis, USA, (2008)
  • Dear Sir or Madam, Slag Gallery New York City, NY, (2009)
  • Today Could Be a Day of Historical Importance, Slag Gallery New York City, NY, (2010)
  • ATLAS, IMOCC, New York City, NY, (2011)
  • David (inspired by Michelangelo), 21c Museum, Louisville, KY, (2012)
  • One and Three Pasta (with George L. Legendre), Galerist, Istanbul, Turkey, (2012)
  • Mirage, Postmasters Gallery, New York City, NY, (2013)
  • Today Was Really Yesterday, Galerist, Istanbul, Turkey, (2014)
  • Sudden Gusts of the World (curated by Marta Smolinska), Galeria Miejska Arsenal, Poznan, Poland, (2014)
  • One and Three Pasta (with George L. Legendre), Postmasters Gallery, New York City, NY, (2014)

Selected group exhibitions[edit]

  • Side-Effects (curated by WHW group; Natasha Ilic, Sabina Sabolovic and Ana Devic), WHW Gallery, Zagreb Croatia, (2004)
  • public.exe (curated by Anne Ellegood, Michele Thurz), Exit Art, New York City, NY, (2004)
  • Situated Self City (curated by Mika Hannula, Branco Dimitrijevic), Museum Helsinki, Finland, (2005)
  • 9th International Istanbul Biennial (curated by Vasif Kortun, Charles Esche), Istanbul, Turkey, (2005)
  • 7th Biennial of Video and New Media, Santiago de Chile, Chile, (2005)
  • SHIFTscale – Extended Field of Contemporary Sculpture (curated by Mika Hannula, Hanno Soans and Villu Jaanisoo ), Kumu Art Museum, Tallin, Estonia, (2006)
  • Pre Emptive (curated by Philippe Pirotte), Kunsthalle Bern, Switzerland, (2006)
  • Modern and Beyond (curated by Fulya Erdemci), Santral Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey, (2007)
  • PERFORMA07 (curated by Roselee Goldberg with Defne Ayas), New York City, NY, (2007)
  • A Series of Coincidences (curated by Regine Basha) Cabinet, New York City, NY, (2009)
  • Ohne Hintersinn (curated by Benjamin Fellmann), Istanbul, Turkey, (2009)
  • Drawn From Photography (curated by Claire Gilman), The Drawing Center, New York City, NY, (2011)
  • Carnal Knowledge: Sex + Philosophy (curated by Christopher Eamon and Beth Stryker), Leslie Tonkonow Gallery, New York City, NY, (2012)
  • Certainty and Vision (curated by Peter Lang and Moritz Gotze), Frankesche Stiftungen zu Halle, Saale, Germany, (2013)

Selected publications[edit]

  • Genius and Creativity in the Art: Arts: Schoenberg, Adorno, Thomas Mann, Pan Publishers, Istanbul, Turkey, (2000)
  • It’s Not What it Looks Like! I can Explain, Baglam Publications, Istanbul, Turkey, (2004)
  • Modest Proposals by Charles Esche (Baglam Publications, Istanbul, Turkey, 2005). Edited by Özkaya.
  • Have You Done Anything Right? (with Willoughby Sharp), Kuenstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, (2006)
  • Today Could Be a Day of Historical Importance, artwithoutwalls, Louisville, KY, (2010)
  • The Rise and Fall and Rise of David (inspired by Michelangelo), Yapi Kredi Publishing & 21C Museum, (2011)
  • Double (ed.), Lars Muller Publishers, (2013)

Selected images[edit]


External links[edit]