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Aslı Çavuşoğlu, "Long Ago Person Found"

Surround Audience

Asli Çavuşoğlu’s work entitled “Long Ago Person Found” (2015) aims to reflect a study on how the transformation of human remains—particularly of the populations that have been persecuted—become study objects in archives or museum collections.

Aslı Çavuşoğlu is invited to the third edition of The Generational Triennial (25 February–24 May 2015) organized by the New Museum. SAHA supported the production of the new works by the artist.

Asli Çavuşoğlu’s work entitled “Long Ago Person Found” (2015) aims to reflect a study on how the transformation of human remains—particularly of the populations that have been persecuted—become study objects in archives or museum collections. Here, Çavuşoğlu forms a relation between the unidentified remains of pupils from around the world, including Turkey and Native Americans in the United States discovered in mass graves. When the remains of Native Americans were found, they were customarily collected in archaeological boxes and stored until their identities –only after most oftenly resolved by a prolonged court procedure– were proven. For this installation, Çavuşoğlu recreates the containers that hold these human fragments. Atop the empty boxes are objects—necklaces, combs, and flutes, among others—which together  symbolize a monument to the lives of those whose remains persist in obscurity.

Aslı Çavuşoğlu’s work examines the way histories and narratives are assigned, recorded, and often suppressed, with a keen eye on the power structures that govern and mute the stories of the politically disenfranchised. She approaches her projects with a sophisticated understanding of the narrative and its troubled relationship with truth, exposing the ways in which public consensus is a bricolage, while magnifying the stories that become tethered to artifacts and historical sites. Çavuşoğlu often begins her research on  local histories and carefully examines the muted or marginalized stories so as to unveil larger questions about the past.

About the New Museum and the Generational Triennial

© Dean Kaufman

The third iteration of the Triennial is co-curated by New Museum Curator Lauren Cornell and artist Ryan Trecartin.

The New Museum is the only museum in Manhattan exclusively devoted to contemporary art. The mission of “New Art, New Ideas” is in support of living culture. The Museum was conceived by Marcia Tucker in 1977 as a center for exhibitions, information, and documentation about living artists from around the world, it quickly became known to boldly and openly embrace the big issues of the day. The New Museum Triennial was initiated in 2009. “Younger Than Jesus” included 50 artists from 25 countries was organized by Massimiliano Gioni, Laura Hoptman, and Lauren Cornell. Emre Hüner and Ahmet Öğüt were invited to the first edition. The second Triennial, “The Ungovernables,” focused on Asia, Africa, and the Middle East was organized by Eungie Joo in 2012.

The third iteration of the Triennial is co-curated by New Museum Curator Lauren Cornell and artist Ryan Trecartin. Lauren Cornell was hosted by SAHA as a part of SAHA Residency while conducting her research on the Triennial in 2013.