KÜNSTLERHAUS

BETHANIEN

Artist

Serkan Özkaya

Turkey

Serkan Özkaya can remember copying important works of contemporary art from an early age. Reproductions were for Özkaya and other artists of his generation more important than the original could ever be. The prospect of seeing an original became a form of back-up and often a let-down – potentially it was smaller, less colourful, and in worse repair than ever imagined (…).

Triggering this moment of ecstasy followed by clarity for himself and others is where Michelangelo’s statue of David comes in. Özkaya has never seen the original statue. “Such iconic works no longer exist in reality as originals,” says Özkaya, “they have become verbal legends, all about the replicas, the copies, the reconstructions, and the fakes.” (…) Can repetition in any way spoil the beauty of such an iconic work of art? Does it merely suggest that the original has lost the very essence that set it apart? With the increasing ease of precise mechanical reproduction, it is in fact the copies that authenticate the status of icons.

One last question: Does Özkaya have no qualms about copying, personally adapting and re-contextualising such an icon? He is quick to answer, “I feel closer to Michelangelo in person, than to the values of the museum”. And with this salvo, another iconic David enters the world.

(November Paynter)