Curator & Writer | Hakan Burcuoğlu · Venue | Justin’s Studio · Gear | Leica
5years ago, on a dreadfully wet Vancouver evening, inside a dilapidated WINNERS store with atrocious air quality and offensive lighting, I ran into Maria—a high school friend from Ankara I hadn’t seen in over 12 years. Although we’d never been that close, what stayed with me, in spite of the time spent asunder, was her exuberance—a relentless life force that always culminated into a singular brand of Russian revelry. Who knew a late night stroll for epsom salts [and winter socks] would open up a world of existential wonder?
Although Justin—Maria’s husband—came by association, he was very much integral to this new world order. And for the better part of five years, we’ve become quite close; revelling in the face of the absurd, much like Meursault in Camus’ Stranger. But unlike the titular hero’s fate, entering Justin’s Dionysian domain, and experiencing his inner workings, was not only a rarity—it was emancipatory, fucking Narnia. And what seemed like a veneer of hubris had proven all but illusory, giving way to humbled grandiloquence—a seasoned raconteur, and master flâneur, drifting away in his own Peter Pan universe.
Interviewing artists is nothing but unchartered territory for me, and I’d never been this nervous going into one. Whilst reviewing some talking points the night before our session, my phone rang and it was Justin. There I was, thinking “fuck, he’s going to either postpone or cancel”. But his words were quick to assuage my various anxieties —“Hey Hakan. Let’s just drink and hang out. I might paint… Do you like gin!?” Yes, Justin. I love gin. But I like your paintings better. So this time, I tried my hand at drifting, submitting to his domain, and process. We drank lots, talked about life and art, and listened to Radiohead. I’ll never forget that night. So here’s to you, Mr. Ogilvie.