In a variety of forms, Önürmen unveils the relationships and discrepancies between personal and public experience as seen through the lens of the contemporary media. With a visual language founded in broadcast and other public channels of information, the artist deconstructs the aesthetics to expose the disparity between reality and representation. In the series Crime Watching Önürmen turns to Turkish television and reveals the communicative pollution embedded within mainstream media in a group of monochromatic figurative paintings.

In the Gaze Series,the artist depicts familiar looking figures whose identities are fictional inventions, inspired by characters found on the internet. Made from layers of tulle, these works form softly colored portraits that refer to the composition of pixels through the material‘s texture. Önürmen‘s Gaze Series combines various elements from different visual sources to create personalities that appear familiar only through their persistent presence in our collective unconscious. In his relief series titled Panic, Önürmen addresses the visual excess of contemporary culture with large stacked newspaper sculptures.

Using newspaper as material and content, Önürmen carves a landscape of images and erased texts that suggest the inflection of media driven anxiety upon the public.

The works in the exhibition at C24 Gallery occupy the interstitial space of the practical realm and a utopia exaggerating the readymade reality found in newspapers and other public media. Önürmen edits and embellishes these outlets through his practice to address the contradictions of contemporary social constructs.

Irfan Önürmen was born in Bursa,Turkey in 1958 and graduated from the Istanbul Fine Arts Academy (now known as Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University), Department of Painting, in 1987.

His work reveals the relationships and discrepancies between personal and public experience as seen through the lens of contemporary media. Önürmen addresses the impact of mass media on human experience and its visual representation through collage, painting, and sculpture.

His selected exhibitions include 9 Contemporary Turkish Painters, Brussels, Belgium, in 2004; New Baghdad Museum and Terror Factory, Thessaloniki Con- temporary State Art Museum, Greece, in 2009; the io Istanbul Biennial; 6 positions in critical art from Istanbul, to name just a few. 

Önürmen‘s work has been exhibited at several international art fairs including The Armory Show and Art Dubai in 2012, as well as PULSE New York, in 2013. The artist‘s works are in numerous private and public collections.

By Alban E. Smajli