Okay Özkan (born in 1987, Ankara) completed his undergraduate degree on Visual Arts at Marmara University and his MFA in Art and Design at Yıldız Teknik University. The artist, who has studied for a semester at the Royal Academy of Art at The Hague, lives and works in Istanbul. In his work that links a variety of disciplines including sculpture, video, installation and performance with gender studies, memory and pedagogy, he reverses the signs and codes of the ruling class/government. Özkan has participated in numerous group exhibitions including Still Life With A Curtain, Galerist (2018); Temporality – Differences and Beyond, Marmara University (2017); World and Things, Cermodern (2016); Sessions I, Mixer (2016); Possible, Kargart (2014); Skinny Deeping in the Void, Noordwall, Den Haag (2014) and has received awards at the Istanbul Rotary Art Competition (2018), Contemporary Art Project Competition (2016) and Borders - Orbits 17, Siemens Art (2015).
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OKAY ÖZKAN. Beyaz Bayrağı Katlamak/ Folding The White Flag
Art Talks: Okay Özkan & Burak Delier
Stones is a work I began in 2014 at the Royal Academy of Den Haag and it still continues. When I went to Den Haag, I came across “sterile” streets in general compared to the streets of Istanbul. In this sterile and regular city, you may find interesting things that are rare and “irregular”.
Installation: Ceramic, Plaster, Concrete; Variable Dimensions.
My ongoing project in an experimental and
participatory artwork named "Trust" that was developed in the 16th Istanbul Biennial Programme in this
year. In this work, I produced non- functional objects which are entrusted to third persons and parties to get to friends or participants. The main part of the work is the inclusion of third parties, thus the custodians, rather than the objects reaching the friends.Third parties may be
baker, green grocer, tailor, cafe or neighbor, etc. These non- functional and unknown objects which are haptic, intriguing, stimulating
imagination; most of the time iti is meaningless and strange. The objects aim to leave question marks in the minds of the participants and to open relationships among the people. This artwork proceeds by settling into the pores in the society.
Tuna Ofis’te Çağdaş Sanat Sit, Stand, Walk! Sanatçı Konuşmaları Contemporary Art at Tuna Ofis Sit, Stand, Walk! Artist Talks
X RED NEO LIGHT. 2018
X is about my own traumatic past. The work is made up of X signs reproduced with neon lightn and a slide show of the archive I have collected. This work was originally inspired by some houses that were marked with an X in Turkey. If this sign is painted on the door or wall of a house in Turkey means people in that house are either undesirable or can be slaughter. It is related to hate crime. In particular, such signs
and massacres against Alevis who are an ethnic, religious social group with a secular lifestyle, have been made many times. As I began to
archive this grafitti, I noticed that it is used all over the world, from Turkey to India to Kenya, to target minorities.In addition I discovered these marks were also used to mark trees that will be cut down and buildings that will be destroyed. I use neon lights to reproduce the signs in the archive in their original form. By making the signs more visible, I try to face this trauma and heal myself.
FOLDING THE WHITE FLAG. 2017
Performance Video, White and Black, 5' 32", Loop.
This work focuses on the “act of folding”. The work’s starting point is based on the flag folding ceremony. Every country has a different flag folding ceremony. But even if they look unique they are actually quite similiar. Well, does the White flag that represents civilians established by The Hague Convention in 1899, have a ceremonial folding guide? I could not find any information during my research. So I decided to create a folding ceremony with the white flag because it represents being caught in the crossfire, unarmed civilians and losers (defeated armies).
The work focuses on the act of folding because it is free of national symbols, and represents all people like White flag. My work’s meaning can be interpreted in many different ways, just like the meaning of peace is interpreted in many