Genco Gulan
Since 2002
Works in Istanbul Turkey

Genco Gülan is a conceptual artist with an interest in new media and performance art. He studied Political Science and Art at Bogazici University then he pursued an MA degree on Media Studies at New School, New York. He got prizes from BP, New School, Lions, E.M.A.F. Nominated for the European Art prize in 2012 and got selected as a finalist. Gülan made solo shows in Istanbul, Ankara, Graz, Berlin, New York, Seoul and Zagreb. His works are presented in museums such as; Centre Pompidou, Pera, ZKM, MAM, Rio and La Triennale di Milano. He participated to festivals such as; Steirishes Herbst, Ars Electronica, Mediaterra, prog-me, Accente, Balkan Art and Istanbul Festival. His net-art pieces have been exhibited at, and His works listed in required reading lists such as; City University, New York, Rice University and U.C. Santa Barbara. Gülan gave conferences at Yale, School of Visual Arts, Köln University and New York Institute of Technology. Genco Gülan and his art has been referred to by Newsweek, Herald Tribune, NY Arts, Art in America, Art News, Das Kunst, Beaux Arts and Idomenee. His monography edited Dr. Marcus Graf is published by Revolver Berlin the title "Conceptual Colors of genco Gulan". His book "De-Constructing the Digital Revolution" is published by LAP and both of the books are available at Genco Gülan was in the Advisory Board of Balkan Biennial, Thessaloniki and International Programming Committee of ISEA Singapore. He is the founder of the Web Biennial. Currently he teaches at Mimar Sinan Academy and Bogazici University.
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"Rediscovering the Meaning" solo show by Genco Gülan

Text by Sinan Eren Erk*

“We know there were worlds
So much older...
And they shall rise, and
Tell us much more the truth of man”

(Jimi Hendrix – Valleys of Neptune)

Conceptual artist Genco Gülan, has brought his new exhibition Untitled to light few days ago, January 21st, 2014. After years of work and experience, this can be considered as a resumé of his adventure in conceptual colors of contemporary art.

The gallery space (EKAV Foundation, Istanbul) is used in a manner that allows all artworks “to talk” with each other apart from their unique placement, preventing monotony. Different mediums are 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 are made in different mediums, create a bigger and much intense chunk of information. The exhibition holds layers of information, ready to be interpreted by the viewer, divided into all works.

Gülan’s art is somehow a mixture of the past and the possible future. On one hand, the milestones of the art history (classical, modern or post-modern) are being re-imagined and adapted in today’s reality, on the other hand they are transformed into something that predicts the oncoming days in Jules Verne’s precision. The work 22.2 that is basically a QR code in a big scale, done using tiny black and white tiles (betebe), is a perfect representation of such mixture. The QR code symbolizing the future, when scanned with a tablet or smartphone, gives you a contemporary poetry that has a parallelism with Kurt Schwitter’s in Dada movement. Similarly in Being Rembrandt van Rjin, the image of the famous self-portrait is deformed and adapted in today’s world by replacing his face with Gülan’s and his painting equipment with a computer keyboard and a bunch of painting brushes. These two works are made in different mediums, in different dates but even so in the exhibition, not just because of their placement but also because of their cross relation, they create a different third meaning layer that is still in relation with the other two.

To understand the full potential of the exhibition, one must first get rid of his prejudgements about the concepts and meanings, then prick up ears for the conversation between the artworks and finally rediscover the meaning. Therefore the lines that you get from the works individually, are getting clearer and clearer, surprisingly, with the help of much more other in between them...

*Sinan Eren Erk is an independent curator and writer. He worked in 12th Istanbul Biennial and Istanbul Design Biennial as assistant curator and in Documenta13 as contributor/speaker.


"Untitled" 2014, solo show by Genco Gülan

Tue Jan 21, 2014 18:30 - Sat Mar 01, 2014

Istanbul, Turkey

Contemporary artist Genco Gulan, acts almost like a story teller, with a digital rod in his hand and introduces us his new work that appeal to different senses in his recent exhibition called “Untitled" 2014. Gulan, who is one of the leading names of contemporary art, continues bringing the traditional and the extreme together with his compositions prepared by surprising objects, installations that are exclusive to their location and extraordinary paintings. With those post-modern stories that are created with various media and surprising materials, he fiddles with the audience’s minds.

“Untitled" 2014 reminds a retrospective, with sculptures, paintings and objects that each tell their own stories. The exhibition is tailored with refences to archaic, art history, modernism references and confides the artist’s work reserve that is accumulated through the years.

“Untitled" 2014 builds an observatory that one can read the artist’s mind over the statues formed with a teasing and judgmental attitude, paintings that digress from the usual margin with their unique bits, visual relations that are formed with music and unusual object placements.

Artist creates inter-sense pathways within his unrestricted borders through the visuality of a symphony without G notes (Symphonie Sans Sol) and the chocolate sculptures that arouse the senses of smell and taste? In “Untitled" 2014, it is possible to encounter some orientalist works as well as the traditional and modern ones. Genco Gulan, puts himself on the backstage and leaves the relations behind the stories to the audience to process, in the universe that is composed of piece – whole, piece – piece and whole – whole relations. That relation and interaction between those, forms the language of the artist that is open for exploration and interpretation.

The harmony that emerges from the works that speak different languages and that their inner relations are solved by the audience, reveals the clues of Genco Gulan’s unique identity and spontaneity. “Untitled" 2014 welcomes a pleasant journey on vibrant colors, different textures, pathways to explore in this artistic observatory that urges the audience to examine every art-work closely.


Beam me up!

Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:30 - Sun Dec 08, 2013

Lisbon, Portugal

Beam me up!

Show opens the November 8 at the Robotarium Space, LxFactory

Can be visited every day from 10am to 7pm
Rua Rodrigues Faria, 103, H.02

Leonel Moura have asked some friends to send by email a file of a sculpture to be 3D printed at his FabLab.

The result is a series of works created by a kind of teletransport, much in the style of Star Trek, where one object made in one place is materialized in another.

Beam me up! is one of the first collective shows dedicated to the potential of 3D printing applied to art.

Emanuel Pimenta
Genco Gulan
Holger Lippmann
Kas Oosterhuis
Ken Goldberg
Ken Rinaldo
Jorge Moura
Leonel Moura
Miguel Chevalier
Ozan Ertug
Suzanne Anker
Telmo Alcobia
Zaven Paré

Image: Miguel Chevalier was the first to have a piece ready!


"Self Portrait?" solo show by Genco Gülan

Mon Oct 07, 2013 19:00 - Thu Nov 07, 2013

Istanbul, Turkey

Identity as Myth
Article by Marcus Graf*

“Nothing of me is original.
I am the combined effort of everyone I've ever known.” 

(Chuck Palahniuk, Invisible Monsters)

Modernism created a fairy tale about personal freedom, unique identity and personality as well as the trust in individuality, subjectivity and authenticity. The current continuation of this story tells us today to believe in ourselves, to become the creator of our world, and to overcome all rules of totalitarianism and absolutism. NLP coaches and personal trainer, as well as advertisement and media professionals claim that nothing is impossible if you just to do it and only believe in yourself. Sounds right, seems right. Though, what is the self? How can you be individual in the overwhelming power of social, political and cultural conventions and agreements? Can one be authentic in the age of absolute medial visibility, where everything is observed, recorded and shared?

Obviously, the current notion and meaning of identity changed from the ones that our parents and grandparents were facing. Today’s understanding of identity is fluid, and in a state of permanent change. So, the forming of the ego and the self are dynamic processes, where individual stories get merged with social history. Nevertheless, we still look in the mirror and have faith in its reflection, as we believe it shows us the true image of ourselves. We talk with people, try to be social and trust their evaluation of our actions. We take part in the world of social media, where we produce, share, edit and curate information, as well as hope to form an attractive but decent cyber identity, which should suit and represent the real one. Though, what is real? Is reality not just another believe, a confidence in a truth that lies outside of our body, and therefore might just be another hallucination? We have no chance, but to believe in what we see, but what we see might be just a big lie, a trick of our mind.

Genco Gülan plays in his current series 'Self-portrait?' a game with identity, as he reveals and questions ideas of identity, and personality as well as their constructiveness. The works present the artist in various poses that are inspired by portraits of world famous artists. On the one hand he imitates the originals in every detail. That is why these pieces could be interpreted as final shots of a performative act, in which Gülan imitates Warhol, Pollock, Paik and many other artists. Though, as Genco Gülan’s ouvre is deeply influenced by new media art and net art, in every image, the careful spectator finds hints and relicts of the digital age. So, in an absurd and ironic way, you see Warhol-Gülan with a mobile phone, Paik-Gülan with a monitor instead a television and Pollock-Gülan with a laptop that seems to play the free-jazz to which the original Pollock was listening during his action-painting. Gülan’s works can be understood as a personal reference regarding the sources of his own artistic work. Already before this series, in works like Vincent (2003), Zonaro (2010), or Osman Hamdi (2007), he dealt with self-portraits of artists. Also in his current series, the pieces can be understood as a tribute to great artists that he values and from which he is inspired. Though, the works are more than simple tributes like we know them from other art appropriation works. Like a DJ, Gülan creates a combination of reproductions, remakes and remixes of the original photo-portraits, and formulates his own comments by adding objects, which contain subversive personal references. He reconstructs self-portraits and images of artists, and later gets into the role and pose they showed. Therefore, Genco Gülan intermingles two portraits: The image of the original artist and the image of himself. That is why, we see two individuals and their personalities in one figure. A schizophrenic effect occurs, in which the spectator constantly shifts between the reorganization of the original artist and the observation of Gülan’s imitation. Who do we see? Which image is the original in his work? Which visual layer is the dominant parameter?

Identity is a major issue for every artist, because it is one of the sources and motors of artistic production. In this series, Genco Gülan exposes and erases his identity at the same time. He plays Warhol, Pollock, Paik, Beuys and the other titans of art history but never becomes them. His own image always remains on the surface of his remix. In the end, we observe an eclectic, heterogeneous and pluralistic idea of identity and artistic personality, a visual investigation of their lies and truths created by Genco Gülan. Though, who is Genco Gülan?

* Assoc. Prof. Dr. Marcus Graf works full time at Yeditepe University, Fine Arts Faculty, Art Management Department. He is also the resident Curator, Plato Sanat Istanbul. (image: Genco Gülan, Beuys with Robot, 2013.)


Six and a Half: Books as the subject and object of Art.

Wed May 15, 2013 18:30 - Fri May 31, 2013

Istanbul, Turkey

Six and a Half" is the new solo project of Genco Gulan where he used books as the subject and object of his art. Thus, its no coincidence that he is opening up this show in a bookstore. The name of the show comes from the reading statistic: In Turkey, currently, there are six and a half books per person. Gulan, in this project, interpreted his set of books without utilising any digital means.