Serkan Özkaya, A Sudden Gust of Wind

A site-specific installation commissioned for Proof on Main, Istanbul-based artist, Serkan Özkaya’s A Sudden Gust of Wind is comprised of over 200 sheets of metal that emulate a scattered stack of 8.5″ x 11″ papers, frozen in motion throughout the dining room. Like Özkaya’s sculptural installation Bakers Apprentice (exhibited in Proof in 2009) A Sudden Gust of Wind alludes to the beauty found in the moments or seconds between action and destruction, between control and chaos.

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Working from his home country, geographically isolated from many of the world’s great art masterpieces, Özkaya’s work often mimics or recreates iconic art in an effort to reinterpret them and question their artistic authenticity. Begging the question, is it the myth or the object that holds the importance? It is by re-contextualizing these iconic works that Özkaya is able draw new meanings.

A Sudden Gust of Wind is the same title given to a well-known photograph by the Canadian artist Jeff Wall in which a sudden breeze has caught a briefcase full of papers into a frenzied disorder in the air. Wall’s photograph, in turn, comes from a reference to a 19th century Japanese woodblock print by Katsushika Hokusai in which nature has caused the minor catastrophe of shuffling some pedestrian’s papers. Rather than the hopeful forces of nature that are alluded to in both Wall’s and Hokusai’s work, Özkaya’s installation, set in the restaurant, draws our attention to the impossibility of a wind that could have created this time capsule of catastrophe. We are left without the hope of a sudden gust of wind thus accentuating the movement and vitality of the surrounding restaurant space.

About the Artist
Özkaya has exhibited widely throughout Europe and has had residencies at the MacDowell Colony, NH and ORTung, Austria. He is currently represented by Slag Gallery, NY. A variation on A Sudden Gust of Wind has been exhibited at the Boots Contemporary Art Space, St. Louis in 2008; in addition, previous works by Özkaya include Baker’s Apprentice exhibited in Proof on Main and Today Could be a Day of Historical Importance – a collaboration with five newspapers, one of which was the Courier-Journal.

A recent book project published with Louisville based artwithoutwalls: Today Could be a Day of Historical Importance is available in the 21c Shop.