Vasiyetimdir: Gülsün Karamustafa

I was startled when I saw the word Vasiyet [will] in the email I received about this project.

I was surprised to realize I hadn’t thought of anything material or immaterial related to my will up until that moment. No such thing related to art production, in particular, had crossed my mind. 

For me, art has always been something elusive, fragile, destructible if need be. What matters is to further the arts, to keep it moving, to open new doors for it go through.

This is why I, along with many artists from my generation, haven’t developed ideas about how artworks could be preserved forever in museums or collections once we were done producing them. We only cared about whether artworks we produce could speak up as desired. For many of us, the question of what artworks would become after they fulfil their function was not an issue at all. For this reason, the artworks I produced in the second half of the 20th century, which then got damaged or destroyed due to the lack of necessary storage conditions or other reasons, now take place in museums with two dates—the first being the original date and the second referring to the new reproduction date.

I don’t have a will. Especially not about my works. Let them be/continue as they have up until today.

Gülsün Karamustafa (b. Ankara, 1946) is an artist based in Istanbul. Graduated from the Istanbul State Fine Arts Academy in 1969, she is one of the laureates of the 2014 Prince Claus Awards that are presented to individuals or organizations whose cultural actions have a positive impact on the development of their societies. Karamustafa‘s solo exhibitions took place at numerous museums and art institutions, including Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart inBerlin, Villa Romana in Florence, SALT in Istanbul and Ankara, Salzburger Kunstverein in Salzburg, Kunstmuseum Bonn in Bonn, Museé d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris in Paris, and Musée d’Art et Histoire Geneva, among many others. She is represented by Rampa in Istanbul. 

Translated from Turkish by Özge Ersoy

For the original text, click here

Vasiyetimdir* is a publication project that aims to explore how art works will subsist over long periods of time. Art works live in artist studios, private collections, museums, storage spaces, or simply in memories. But how far do the artists want to control what happens to their works when they are no longer? How do they want to exert their control? We directed these questions to the artists we are in dialogue with. We are accumulating their answers through

*Vasiyetimdir is a Turkish phrase that can roughly be translated into English as “It is my will that…” The phrase holds a tint of the melodramatic, mixed with a sentimental flair.

Vasiyetimdir was conceived by Aslı Çavuşoğlu, Özge Ersoy, and Merve Ünsal.