“Space is never empty: it always embodies a meaning.” — Henri Lefebvre, The Production of Space, 1974
In his influential series of essays The White Cube: The Ideology of the Gallery Space (1976), Brian O’Doherty points out that „the installation shot is a metaphor for the gallery space…in it an ideal is fulfilled as strongly as in a Salon painting in the 1830s.“ According to O’Doherty, like the Salon, the gallery can be regarded as a definition appropriate for the aesthetics of its period. It is a place with walls covered in pictures, with the wall itself having no intrinsic aesthetic. However nowadays, being a participator rather than a passive support for the art, the wall has become the locus of various ideologies, rich with a substance that it subtly donates to the art.
In his latest body of works, Turkish Artist Arslan Sükan appropriates images of installation shots from the Internet, exhibition spaces within museums, galleries and art institutions around the world, changing these spaces by means of digital image processing. First he eliminates all exhibited works, emptying the rooms, so to speak. He then changes the walls, the ceiling, the floor, while leaving some elements of the room exactly as they were. In some images, he chooses to make only very minimal interventions, only changing the color of one wall, for example.
In other images, however, Sükan intervenes significantly, combining different views of various architectural elements and thus almost completely rebuilding the architecture of the room. In the process, he develops three different images from each photograph: the wide shot, providing an overview of almost the entire room; the medium shot, drawing attention to a particular corner, and the close-up, only showing very specific details. On the basis of this system, in her essay on Sükan’s works displayed at Haus Konstruktiv in Zurich, curator Dorothea Strauss states that the artist manages „to get his photographs to come across almost like a series of investigations – investigating the possibility of a present absence.“ The artist further enhances this impression by choosing very differently sized formats; small and large image formats come together to create an ‘installational’ overall impression. (…)