Sukan is a multi-faceted artist who is trained in interior architecture and photography and has tackled ideas that question the limitations of human perception, the borders between the physical and the virtual as well as the visible and the invisible. Sukan’s work positions the artist as a challenging narrator who re-creates an idea or a form that confirms viewer expectations at first glance while undercutting them in practice.
Sükan created the series as he was working for international magazines such as L'Uomo Vogue (Italy), A Magazine (France), Crash (France), Faces (Switzerland) and Muse Magazine (Italy) between 2004-2008. He captures the tension and the individuality that remain present at backstages before the models enter the catwalk where they lose their individuality becoming actors of consumerism or objects of art. Sükan momentarily steals these figures - who are preparing for other roles to create his own dialogue and mise-en-scène right before they appear on the actual stage.
Sükan created the ‘La Notte’ series as he was working for international magazines documenting the fashion shows and backstage as well as the social times of the fashion world in Paris, Milan, London and NY between the years 2004-2010. ‘La Notte’ is mainly from one specific costume party that is given by Carine Roitfeld of French Vogue in Paris. The party is before the social media era specifically before the Instagram era that makes it very private and has not been shown anywhere else.
While you are sleeping
‘While you are sleeping’ (Seascape Series) In his seascape works, Sukan manipulates his imagery connected to the constant tensions between the mental grasp of the specificity and representation.
He starts taking his pictures above sea level and contextualizes the scenes and brings out a new kind of perception. At first glance, the viewer may not be suspicious of the situation but on close inspection, questions arise; if this is a night time shot, how come the ships in motion look so sharp as if they are from a frozen movie still. By reconstructing these environments from one portion to another, Sukan raises some of the most elemental questions about how we perceive the world we live in. The other side of duality comes out when we look at the full moon in the sky. The moon is in transit and clearly gives a hint that the world or in this case another planet turns in its own axis. He creates an image that represents the duality of time, space in an undefined space.
While you are surfing
The physical gestures that make up our interactions with touch-screen personal devices are intensely intimate, yet abstract signatures of our everyday browsing and messaging patterns. In his ‘While you are surfing’ photographic series, Arslan Sukan scans the surfaces of smartphones and manipulates the resulting images in Photoshop to isolate and enhance the fingerprints, dust, and cracks marking the screens. Sukan separates the intimate swipes and taps of screen navigation from any digital content, enlarging the marks to form anonymous and abstract landscapes. Printed on highly reflective metallic paper using an inkjet printer, each piece mirrors the context of its place of display, transforming the physical world and the body of the viewer into virtual content for the image surface. But, unlike fingers on a screen, the reflections leave no physical trace on their object. With ‘While you are surfing’, Sukan questions whether our experiences with the digital world, which are mediated through a screen, are any less immediate or complete than our encounters with experiences in the physical world.
‘While you are surfing’ continues Sukan’s engagement with the role of artifice in presenting the real. Through a process that moves from the physical world to digital and back again, his work dissolves distinctions between matter and thought, gesture and image. This ongoing translation of material from one media format into other challenges viewer expectations at every turn.
Public on Paper
Sukan has set out to identify alternative sites of public display and common space within the banal recesses of the everyday world. Collecting and adopting the sketch pads and papers that customers use for testing markers, pens and other drawing tools at art supply stores through years, from different cities around the world, Sukan considers how these test sheets serve as a vehicle for both intimate and exhibitionist performance as well as original social documents. In the improvised layers of sketches, doodles and drawings that fill the pages, Sukan sees the documents of a ritual that approximates the practices of graffiti art but makes no allowance for participation in a common culture. Unlike palimpsest or open-sourced editing platforms where history can be scraped clean and updated, the sketch pages collapse past and present straddling the line between private notation and public expression. His transformation of these sketch-filled pages suggests that while the artist offers another voice, it is one capable of giving form to that which litters the surface of the things.
Sukan’s photographic work explores the conventions of the modern white cube as both an architectural context and as a content subject in and of itself. By addressing the notions of spatial memory, presentation and representation, this exhibition enhances the confrontation between visibility and invisibility in social and phenomenological terms.
By means of deconstruction, intervention, and reconstruction of the white cube, Sukan brings complicity between opposites and creates dualism between recognition and non-recognition, visibility and invisibility, abstraction and concrete concepts. The result is an entirely new space, an architecture of past and future, with a continuously shifting viewpoint. Sukan proposes a phenomenal situation, challenging the viewer on the realism of the photograph and the memory of a space, while also opening up the horizons of the viewer’s perception and interpretation of the exhibition's their own immediate setting.