Tuesday, March 5 – Saturday, April 20, 2019
Opening Reception: March 8: 6-8pm
C24 Gallery is pleased to present Bust-Head, a solo multidisciplinary exhibition of Irfan Önürmen. An extensive exhibition presenting over fifty works including some never before exhibited, Bust-Head builds upon and exemplifies Önürmen's exploration of personal and public experience through the lens of contemporary media, unveiling the intersections of the relationships and discrepancies of these experiences. Utilizing a multifaceted artistic approach, Önürmen addresses and represents the impact of mass media on the individual and collective psyche through collage, painting, and sculpture.
Centering on Önürman’s work, The Man Carrying His Bust, the artist utilizes the motif of the head triangulated by concepts of ideology, reality, and spirit. The potent image of a figure carrying its own bust dually draws historical comparisons to monuments of power while simultaneously exploring the contemporary construction of the self through media. With the distortion of figures and their placement within screens or on newspapers, Önürmen’s Bust-Head exposes the shift of power from physical to digital, while examining the condition of the contemporary individual under constant surveillance. Now we see that the bust of the leader transcends the town square, an ever present apparition housed in the screens permeating daily life. The nondescript heads then become interchangeable, says Önürmen, "since, after all, the actors of power are temporary."
Rather than a retrospective, older works of Önürmen’s are displayed in order to contextualize the departure points of the artist’s most recent work, what Önürmen himself describes as “returns.” In lieu of repeating prior work, Önürmen draws from and evolves previous elemental focuses. Through Bust-Head, we are able to observe the evolution of Önürmen’s figurative approach and use of the head as a vehicle. Stripping his figures of any social indicators like gender and class, the figure is able to become the image of a soul shrouded in anonymity, while the size of the heads represent the growing size of our egos. Satirizing the condition of our era, the image of the man carrying his bust illustrates, in Önürmen’s words, "man floundering to become an icon," driven by a will to be visible that is so characteristic of the digital age. Reworking newspapers through mark- making to erase identities and remove information, Önürmen draws upon this constant construction and destruction of identity through consumption and production of media.
İrfan Önürmen graduated in 1987 from Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, (previously known as the Istanbul Fine Arts Academy) Department of Painting. His selected exhibitions include “9 Contemporary Turkish Painters,” Brussels, Belgium, in 2004; “Made in Turkey,” Kulturdezernat der Stadt, Frankfurt, Germany, in 2008; “New Baghdad Museum and Terror Factory,” Thessaloniki Contemporary State Art Museum, Greece, in 2009; the 10th Istanbul Biennial; “6 positions in critical art from Istanbul,” Akademie der Künste, Hanseatenweg, Berlin, in 2009, to name, but a few. His recent solo shows include “Gaze” at Pi Artworks Galatasaray, Istanbul, Turkey, in 2011; “Pendulum” at C24 Gallery, New York, USA in 2016, and “Dis-order” at Katara Art Center in Doha, Qatar in 2012.
Önürmen's work has been exhibited at several international art fairs and included in several prestigious collections, both private and public. The Leon Black Collection in the United States and The Istanbul Modern Museum in Turkey are among the notable collections into which Önürmen’s work has been included.
Bust-Head will run from March 8th to April 20th, 2019 with an opening ceremony held on Friday, March 8th from 6pm - 8pm.