Serkan Ozkaya’s David Double Arrives by Liza Béar

Liza Béar talks to Turkish artist Serkan Ozkaya about his monumental David Double.

Twice the size of the original David in carrara marble that Michelangelo completed in Florence in 1504, Serkan Ozkaya’s David Double—made of fiberglass from a Stanford University computer model—is 17 feet tall. It has a metal armature and is sprayed gold. The homage to Michelangelo was shipped by a freighter from Istanbul to the Storefront for Art and Architecture on Kenmare Street, where it was parked on March 6, lying on its side in a low-boy tractor-trailer. David Double will be driven around New York on this rig before heading to Louisville, Kentucky, where it has a permanent home in the 21C Museum collection. A styrofoam version of David Double was previously shown at the Istanbul Biennal.

Having been deprived of direct exposure to western art while growing up in Turkey, noted conceptual artist Ozkaya has a healthy respect for reproductions and wanted to make a Michelangelo for himself—and others: “I didn’t hesitate to exaggerate,” he says, shortly before the opening at Storefront for Art and Architecture; a panel, “Doubles, Fakes,” was held there in his honor.

Lying down, it’s not so obvious that David Double, like the original, is holding a rock in his right hand and a sling in his left, but of course at 21C, Louisville, Kentucky, his final destination, he will be standing erect. As originally installed in Florence in 1504, the local authorities chose David, as a biblical hero, to represent the defense of the civil liberties of the Florentine Republic; his gaze is directed in the direction of Rome, and then the rock and the sling make sense: after all, he is the David of David and Goliath. Seen that way, David Doubleamplifies—gives added heft—to all those who would fight repression.

Reached this morning by phone while about to drive up the West Side highway, Ozkaya says he was not motivated by this type of reading, but welcomes any reevaluation provoked by the sculpture. Ozkaya now lives in New York.

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