In the fourth and last exhibition of Portfolio Series
, Plato Sanat presented İrfan Önürmen, a leading figure within the contemporary art scene of Istanbul, creates for more than 25 years a work that is conceptually coherent and stringent as well as formally complex and pluralistic.
His oeuvre consists of paintings and drawings on canvas and (news)paper, tulle works as well as objects and installations made of newspapers. The artist critically analyses the current state of society through the deconstruction of medial representations of political issues as well as incidents within the common life of the ordinary men, where anonymous figures struggle to get along inside the mess of the heterogeneous urban chaos they are exposed to day by day. Önürmen’s work begins in the late 1980’s, when the artist started to paint fragmented images of faceless figures that invited the spectator to actively fulfil the piece in order to become involved and engaged in the depicted scene. His paintings formed a critique of the mutation of medial visibility and publicity, in which the cruellest images serve the people’s hunger for sensation and spectacle. Besides canvas pieces, since his student years, he produced drawings and paintings on newspaper as well as collages out of newspaper images, where Önürmen revealed the superficial relation between real everyday incidents and their representation in the newspaper. A different form of critique took more explicitly place within his installations and objects built out of newspapers. Here, Önürmen used newspapers as material to create environmental interventions that contained a direct political and social critique. The last work-group in his oeuvre was based on tulle pieces and installations with tulle. There, besides dealing with questions of society and the impact of media on the construction of reality, he was very much concerned with the creation of a painting itself.