Curse of the Forever Sultan is a series of neon sculptures depicting various traditional Ottoman characters from the 18th and 19th centuries. Each sculpture is life-sized or larger, and designed as a 2-dimensional caricature of a member of the Ottoman court or military.
The green, skeletal aspect of these sculptures is a love letter to traditional video-game and science fiction from the late 1980s and early 1990s, particularly the 1997 LucasArts game The Curse of Monkey Island, from which the series gets its name.
The skeletons are satirical and humorous, belonging to a fictional world of the undead.
Most importantly, this body of work is a direct sequel to the artist’s previous photography series, Maşallah, in which Ottoman iconography was superimposed on bodies through the use of light projections.
Rather than being illuminated by an external light source, these skeletons glow from within, questioning the role our history plays in shaping our contemporary nature.
The historic Hüsrev Kethüda Hamamı in Ortaköy is the ideal venue for exhibiting a body of work that reimagines Ottoman iconography and combines it with contemporary art aesthetics. Kethüda is the traditional title given to the subordinates of the wealthy families during the Ottoman Empire, and as such, it is the perfect home for the characters in the series, all of whom are military or civil servants in some capacity, such as a janissary or a court musician.
In the hamam, the visitors will enter a space that is transformed through light and sculptures — experiencing a narrative space that despite its history and familiarity, has the potential to present a new story: The Curse of the Forever Sultan.