Artist You Should Know: Genco Gulan

| December 16, 2014

Self Portrait || All images source:

Words by Michelle Cha

TECHNOLOGY and new media its constantly in our lives. Do you remember a time when Facebook wasn’t around? A time when iPhones was just a figment of Steve Jobs’ imagination? Not only has technology changed our everyday lives, it has changed art too. A whole new field of art is dedicated to new media and electronic art. Genco Gulan, a Turkish conceptual artist and theorist who works with photography, painting, performance, new media, drawing, sculpture, and found objects was born in 1969, and studied in New York. His work featured in cities such as Seoul, Brazil, Paris, Berlin, Istanbul, and many others.

His work is laced with political and social messages, but is never forceful of any certain ideal, just commentary of the issues that Genco is interested in. A reoccuring theme in Genco’s work is doubling, or twinning. A lot of his work focuses on the use of double heads to signify a clash of two personalities, ideals, dreams, and morals. His use of various mediums and different techniques, draws the viewer in and maintains their focus to read more into his work. I would say his work is layered and the more you think about it the more it reveals. The new media aspect of his art goes deep; I mean like DNA deep, he uses his own DNA in some of his work.

“Hermès Walker” (2009), is an impressive looking piece that is half classical half other worldly. The pristine white colour exudes elegance and beauty, but the two heads on top of the thigh, there is something very unsettling about that. Genco loves to provoke thought and intelligence into his pieces. They’re not too abstract that you go “what the fuck am I looking at?” But not too innocent and PC that you know it’s too basic for you and sashay away like you a Victoria Secret model. Well maybe not the last bit, but you know there’s nothing worse than seeing art and feeling nothing. Genco, perceives audiences so well because he draws personal inspiration and not just going with trends.

“Planet Beethoven”, (2013) is not for those sensitive to internal body parts and organs. It is literally an eight minute video of Genco’s ear examination with the reversed version of L. V. Beethoven’s Piano Sonata No. 32 in C Minor, Op. 111. The irony of this piece is highlighted by the fact Beethoven was deaf and the visuals of the ear canal draw attention to the beauty but bizarreness of our human capacity to create beauty. He drills a reversed version to our heads by literally showing you where sound travels to and from. Taking the advances of medical science and converting that to visual art transforms the mundanity of check ups to something futuristic and slightly nauseating (in a respectful kinda way).


“Hermès Walker”, 2009. 50* 50*90cm. Ozil Collection

The way in which Genco uses so many different techniques and inserts powerful and thought provoking commentary. For more on his intriguing work visit his website.

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Category: ART, FEATURED, Uncategorized

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