Volkan Aslan: Concern

Weighting the Void About the fragility of form and the stability of emptiness in Volkan Aslan's Concern series Volkan Aslan, one of the most important visual artists of the young contemporary scene, became known for of his interdisciplinary and inter-medial strategies, in which a balance between aesthetic and concept as well as an individual connection of poetics with politics, emotion with ratio, irony with analysis, and humour with critique create the basis for his review of art, its institutionalised context as well as current socio-political discussions. In Aslan's Concern series, ready made felt figures, monochrome backgrounds and the untouched white ground of the canvas form the platform for a play with reality and imagination. Especially the contrast between the thick figures and the thin acrylic monochrome paint, which exposes the hand of the artist and the action of painting through the display of the brushstroke, gives the paintings a beautiful harmony between being concrete and abstract as well as stabile and fragile. The works are illustrative enough for pulling the spectator into the scenery. After the first attraction though, he is asked to continue his discovery on his own in order to construct his individual story. Volkan Aslan translocates the felt figures from their original context onto the limited space of the canvas and forms through the collage of heterogeneous parts strange and non linear stories, in which glimpses of the known melt with sparkles of the unknown. Out of the fragments of reality, it is possible for the spectator to create a subjective vision, because in Concern, no knowledge or truth is absolute and no form is solid or permanent. The works are like pieces of a puzzle, which is impossible to finish. There is no absolute image; there are only multiple visual possibilities, out of which the spectator can construct his own screens of reception. The gaze of the spectator becomes the co-creator of the scenes. Therefore, the paintings do not accept a passive looking but an active observing, reviewing and questioning, so that in the mind of the spectator, the non-linear stories of the figures find their individual plot. In this context, emptiness is one of the fundamental formal and conceptual parameters of Volkan Aslan's series. We know that emptiness is one of the things most painters are afraid of. They try to erase it by over-painting any blank spot on a canvas in order to fill it with their own thoughts and ideas. Aslan is contrasting this approach by creating a painting-collage, in which its heterogeneous parts' surrounded by paint and emptiness tell individual stories of protagonists we do not know or understand. Every canvas represents one space with one story, in which the scenery is frozen. A still-stand gives the spectator the time to observe the relationships between the various figures, animals and objects. So, the canvases become stages of the mind, on which the spectator can complete the story of the protagonists by fulfilling the empty spots they are dealing with. Negative forms become positive actors, and emptiness functions as an element for constructing a fragmental reality, which is based on optical reception and subjective neuropsychological information. The different paintings of Concern resemble pages of a strange fairy tale, in which we get enough glimpses to start reading, but at the same time will never be able to finish it, because the author did not formulise a definite ending. That is why the works give us the chance to construct our individual versions of reality, where - fragile like a reminiscences of the past - our mind transports us to an altered state, where everything is possible, and the world does not only exist of numbers, texts and physical laws.

 

Marcus Graf