Vasiyetimdir: Erkan Özgen

I could say that I have absorbed all that humanity has accumulated over the years without consciously having given consent.
I didn’t absorb or take over the inheritance that Art left for me.
The responsibility and price of an inheritance—without an alternative—are quite hefty.
I don’t know what a will about my own work would look like. I don’t know…
When I think about how a will is in effect after death, I got the chills.
I was scared, very scared.
To write a will in a space where there are more deaths than before, is creepy.
But I shouldn’t be afraid.
At the end of the day, this is a good opportunity for me, I should be delighted. A lot of people didn’t have the chance to write a will.
For example, two days ago, while we were preparing to plant Diyarbakır’s ancestral seeds in our small community garden, we were caught by two black rangers that replaced the infamous white toros of the 1990s. The questioning that started with what are you doing ended with the planting of dynamites. Yes the will should be written before the dynamites explode.
There is a world that the children are inheriting from adults, that they need to inherit, which is tainted.
I could define inheritance as the formation of a memory.
I would like to leave a single will for children and to my children.
Reset the memory.

Translated from Turkish by Merve Ünsal

For the original text, click here

Erkan Özgen was born in Mardin in 1971. He graduated from Çukurova University Painting Department in 2000. He works on video based installations and has participated in group exhibitions in Turkey and abroad. In 2003 he curated the “Eyes Contact” exhibition at the Diyarbakır Art Center. In 2005 Özgen went to Sweden and participated in the International Artists Studio Program at Rooseum Center in Malmö. In the same year, he was awarded “Prix Meuly” at Kunstmuseum Thun in Switzerland. In 2008 he participated in the Can Xalant exchange program at the Center for Creating and Contemporary Thought in Mataró, Barcelona. In 2016 Özgen participated in PM/HIAP Safe Haven Helsinki residence program at Suomenlinna. “Polarized! Vision  is War/Peace”  Prize is granted to  Özgen for his film “Wonderland.” He has also participated in many workshops in Beirut, Damascus, Diyarbakır, Enschede, Khartoum and Taipei. Özgen has given his lectures on contemporary art in Turkey and abroad.

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.