In a new souvenir shop at Ishøj By Center, artist Deniz Eroglu invites you to delve into stories about belonging, global business structures and relationships between art and consumption. Please note: special opening hours.
4 December 2021 to 1 November 2022
Ishøj By Center has welcomed a new souvenir shop – but not quite the usual kind of shop. Danish-Turkish visual artist Deniz Eroglu is behind the shop-cum-artwork Souvenirs, which was created especially for ARKEN. Merging art and retail, the work offers an artistic experience in the middle of the Ishøj By Center. At first glance, the shop blends in well with its surroundings – located opposite a fast-food restaurant and some other stores. Even so, Eroglu’s creation has certain distinctive, quirky features that make it stand out. After all, what is a souvenir shop doing in a shopping centre in Ishøj?
“The word souvenir comes from Latin and means “to come up from below”. As a title of a work of art, it can be taken as a reference to art that rises up from below in a social sense. The word also refers to memories of something you have left behind, whether this is a tourist destination or, as in the case of the immigrant, one’s homeland.” – Deniz Eroglu
Stories about Ishøj
We associate souvenir shops with trips to touristy areas abroad or with the main pedestrian street in Copenhagen and its overabundance of miniature Vikings, mermaids and palace guards. In his work, Eroglu has created alternative takes on souvenir objects that carry narratives about Ishøj within. The small sculptural works speak of everyday life in the area in humorous and poetic ways, but they also encompass deeper considerations and layers of meaning. A common trait of all the souvenirs in the shop is that they convey a surprising reinterpretation of Ishøj’s identity – and position – as Denmark’s most mixed, multicultural municipality.
In his works, Eroglu often uses his family history as a starting point. As the son of a Danish mother and a Turkish father, his upbringing was informed by both cultures. This created a sense of cultural division up through his upbringing – an experience now processed in the artist’s works. Souvenirs is inspired by Eroglu’s father, who in the late 1970s ran a small antiques shop in a Danish provincial town. However, the interest in Turkish brass and copper objects was limited, and the shop was soon shut again. Eroglu describes Souvenirs as a re-creation of his father’s original idea of spreading greater awareness of a culture largely unknown in Denmark.
Art for everyone
Souvenirs takes our general expectations regarding works of art and shopping and turns them upside down. The work invites dialogue and participation in an artistic world one does not expect to encounter while browsing in a shopping centre. By taking the form of a shop, Souvenirs blurs the boundaries between everyday activities and the spaces of art. If you buy a souvenir in the shop, you take a small work of art home with you and have, deliberately or unwittingly, become an art collector.
“I think remembrance is an essential emotion that all immigrants carry with them. Such memories can be linked to a feeling of melancholy due to a loss of status, identity, close relationships, sense of belonging, language skills and autonomy in society’” – Deniz Eroglu
Deniz Eroglu was born in Skive in 1981 to a Danish mother and a Turkish father. He lives and works in Crema, Lombardy and Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Throughout his upbringing, he felt a sense of being split between two cultures as he was brought up according to both Turkish and Danish customs. The artist claims that this dual gaze on the world prompted him to join the ranks of artists.
Eroglu’s practice comprises video works, sculpture, performance and text works. He is a graduate from the Funen Art Academy and became a Meisterschuler from the Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main in 2014. He was an artist-in-residence at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam in 2016–17.
Wednesday: 1-4 PM
Thursday: 1-4 PM
Friday: 1-3 PM
During the exhibition guided tours, workshops and performative lectures will be held periodically in the exhibition space.
The artist will do a series of performative lectures (in Danish) in Souvenirs on the following dates:
Thursday 28th April at 5-6 pm
Friday 29th April at 5-6 pm
Thursday 16 June at 5-6 pm
Friday 17th June at 5-6 pm
Souvenirs sales catalogue
The work has been realized through support from the Danish Arts Foundation
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