Irfan Onurmen /   Irfan Önürmen

Turkey 1958

Installation, Painting, Collage, Drawing

Irfan Onurmen
Irfan Önürmen
May 27, 2016

İrfan Önürmen is a contemporary Turkish artist who makes captivating portraits using simple shapes and soothing color palette. His work shows a great depth, almost three-dimensional, which compliments his theme: human relationships and personal experience. Önürmen places his subjects between universal and personal, giving them an authentic opportunity to voice out their expression. The distinction between intimate and public has been portrayed using contemporary methods, especially signifying the mass media effect. The focus is on an influence of digital and mass media on an authentic human experience, trapped between the differences of public and private.

Irfan Onurmen - Gaze Series #31, 2013 (Left) / Gaze Series #32, 2014 (Right)
Irfan Onurmen – Gaze Series #31, 2013 (Left) / Gaze Series #32, 2014 (Right)

The Magic of Collage

İrfan Önürmen was born in 1958 in Bursa, Turkey. He attended the Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, where he graduated in Painting in 1987. He was still a student when he exhibited his first works in group showings in Istanbul. His first solo exhibition happened just a year after graduation, at the Sanfa Art Gallery, in 1988. He participated in many traveling shows and art festivals, across the Europe. He uses the variety of mediums to make the 3D looking paintings. He was trained to use formal painting technique, but his special interest was the collage. So, he started making collages on top of the painting, where he mixed tulle, lace and various types of fabrics.

The artist uses the variety of mediums to make the 3D looking paintings

Irfan Onurmen - Later, 2013
Irfan Onurmen – Later, 2013

Layering for the Depth

Gradually adding layers of paint, combined with a specific texture of textile he’s painting on, gave his work a mesmerizing depth. Along with the fabric, he uses newspaper cutouts to make his pieces even more versatile. The choice of magazine images is not coincidental, he collected them over the period of time. In his private collection, he noticed that the paper images are making a concept of their own, so he decided to incorporate them into the artwork. This decision gave a conceptual depth to his pieces. He uses transparent and covering properties of tulle to give freedom to the painting, leaving the form open and unchanged. And the does the opposite with newspaper, manipulating the form with cutting, and intentionally leaving the changes visible.

The important feature of Önürmen’s art is the material and its manipulation

Irfan Onurmen - Gezi Park 1, 2013
Irfan Onurmen – Gezi Park 1, 2013

The Selection of Information

The important feature of his art is the material and its manipulation. What Önürmen does to paper and textile, all the cutting, gluing and layering, represents a forceful changing of the subject. That happens to people, too. Sometimes the people are the ones who cut and subtract pieces of information and layer the different peculiarities to their mind. We take what is important to us, the information that can help us in any way. In the same manner, the artist takes out the material that can help him to realize his idea. This is one of the main reasons, İrfan Önürmen successfully portrays the influences of mass media on humanity, along with his painting skills and incredible talent.

İrfan Önürmen lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey.

Featured image: Irfan Onurmen – Portrait of the Artist (Detail), photo credits
All images courtesy of the

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Irfan Onurmen: PendulumC24 Gallery, New York, NY, USASolo
2016Art New YorkC24 Gallery, New York NY, USAGroup
2015PULSE New YorkC24 Gallery, New York, NY, USAGroup
2014Irfan OnurmenC24 Gallery, New York, NY, USASolo
2014The Heritage of Turkish ArtNYIT Gallery 61, New York, NY, USAGroup
2014Contemporary Istanbul ’14Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2013PULSE New YorkC24 Gallery, New York, NY, USAGroup
2013Contemporary Istanbul ’13Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2012Dis-orderKatara Art Center, Doha, QatarSolo
2012Irfan OnurmenC24 Gallery, New York, NY, USASolo
2012Contemporary Istanbul ’12Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2012Group ExhibitionArtMRKT Hamptons, Bridgehampton, NY, USAGroup
2012The Armory ShowNew York, NY, USAGroup
2012Group ExhibitionArt Dubai, Dubai, United Arab EmiratesGroup
2012Self-portraitAlanistanbul, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2011AutopsyPi Artworks Tophane, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
2011GazePi Artworks, Galatasaray, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
2011If Nature is Heaven the City is HellCer Modern, Ankara, TurkeyGroup
2010Zoom Art FairPi Artworks, Miami, FL, USAGroup
2010Contemporary Istanbul '10Pi Artworks, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2010Chaotic MetamorphosisProje 4L Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
201034 IST 2010Adasanat, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2010Cer Modern Opening ExhibitionAnkara, TurkeyGroup
2010Contemporary Art From IstanbulMuseo Comunale d'Arte Contemporanea, Polignano a Mare, ItalyGroup
2010Group ExhibitionPolignano a Mare, ItalyGroup
2010FoodKarsi Art Works, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2009Irfan OnurmenNew Baghdad Museum & Terror Factory, Thessaloniki Contemporary State Art Museum, Thessaloniki, GreeceSolo
2009PanicPi Artworks, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
2009Contemporary Istanbul '09Pi Artworks, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
20096 positions in critical art from IstanbulAkademie der Kunste, Hanseatenweg, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2009Works from 1928 to 2008 from the collection of Istanbul ModernIstanbul Modern Berlin, Berlin, GermanyGroup
2009Martin- Gropius- Bau Berlin, GermanyGroup
2009New WorksNew Horizons, Istanbul Modern, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2009Scope BaselPi Artworks, Basel, SwitzerlandGroup
2008Artasia Miami '08International Contemporary Art Fair, Pi Artworks, Miami, FL, USAGroup
2008The Bridge to PeacePippa Bacca, UPSD, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2008Contemporary Istanbul '08Pi Artworks, Lutfi Kirdar Exhibition Hall, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2008Made in TurkeyVarious venues, Frankfurt, GermanyGroup
20088 Faces5533 IMC Unkapani, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2007On Paper and TullePi Artworks, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
2007Hybrid NarrativesAkbank Art, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2007Your Eyes Are Bigger Than Your Belly10th Istanbul Biennial, Special Projects, Hafriyat Karakoy, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2007Black and WhiteCKM, Caddebostan, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2007Color of WomenMKM, Akatlar, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
20061996 - 2006 Figure SeriesNew Pi Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
2006Gray 3Pi Artworks, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
2006Contemporary Istanbul '06Pi Artworks, Lutfi Kirdar Exhibition Hall, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2006Art Istanbul '06International Contemporary Art Days, Pi Artworks, Antrepo, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2006Local Heaven: Contemporary TransportHafriyat Group, Diyarbakir, TurkeyGroup
2006Art.fair 06International Art Fair, Pi Artworks, Cologn, GermanyGroup
2006DeforNationPi Artworks, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2006Natur-MortGalerist, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2006InformationPi Artworks, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2005ArtFrankfurt 05International Frankfurt Art Fair, Frankfurt, GermanySolo
2005On The Frontiers of ExperiencesAkbank Art, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
200535+Terakki Foundation Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2005Secret-TimeAnkara Contemporary Art Center, Ankar, TurkeyGroup
2005Art Istanbul 05Istanbul Art Fair, Lutfi Kirdar Sergi Sarayi, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2005Production FaultIstanbul Biennial, Antrepo, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2004GrayLutfi Kirdar Exhibition Centre, Pi Artworks, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
2004ArtFrankfurt 04International Frankfurt Art Fair, Pi Artworks, Frankfurt, GermanySolo
2004False WorldHafriyat Group, Munich Town Hall, Munich, GermanyGroup
20049 Contemporary Turkish PaintersBrussels, BelgiumGroup
2003Artist 200313th Istanbul Art Fair, Pi Artworks, Tuyap Exhibition Hall, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
2003PentullePi Artworks, Istanbull, TurkeySolo
2003Art Istanbul 2003Contemporary Art Exposition, Pi Artworks, Lutfi Kirdar Exhibition Hall, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
2003Irfan OnurmenPG Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
2003Hakan Gursoytrak, Irfan OnurmenGallery Nev, Ankara, TurkeySolo
2003Irfan OnurmenGoruntu Art Gallery, Adana, TurkeySolo
2003KoperatifHisart, Kargart, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2002Irfan OnurmenMilli Reasurans Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
2002Artist 200212th Istanbul Art Fair, Pi Artworks, Tuyap Exhibition Hall, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
2002Aileye Mahsustur, Karsi Art, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2001Death = DeathKarsi Art, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2001Modern TurkTopkapi Palace, Has Ahirlar, Istanbul Art Museum Foundation, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2001Artist 200111th Istanbul Air Fair, Pi Artworks, Tuyap Exhibition Hall, Tepebasi, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2001Balkan Art Istanbul 2001Pi Artworks, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2001Voices from HomelandKarsi Art, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2000Four Walls AtelierAxa Oyak Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2000Treacherous NightsHafriyat Group, Asmalimescit, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
2000Domestic GoodsElhamra Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
1999Artist 19999th Istanbul Passion Gallery, Tuyap Exhibition Hall, Istanbull, TurkeySolo
1999Irfan OnurmenSiyaz Art Galley, Bursa, TurkeySolo
1999Irfan OnurmenPassion Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
19994th Turkish Jockey Club Painting CompetitionTurkish Jockey Club, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
1999Geography Losing Its Identity - Vanishing RootsElhamra Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
1998Istanbul Art FairPassion Art Gallery, Tuyap Exhibition Hall, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
1998Group ShowBeytem Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
1998Group ShowPassion Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
1998DrawingsElhamra Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
1997Irfan OnurmenNadya Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
1996Irfan OnurmenTurkiye Is Bankasi, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
1996Group ShowNadya Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
1995A Cross-section of Young Turkish PaintingMine Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
1995Two TendenciesFour Intentions, Ataturk Cultural Center, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
1994New TrendsMimar Sinan University, Osman Hamdi Hall, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
1993Emerging ArtistsEtibank Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
1993Mimar Sinan UniversityJunge Kunstler Sichvor, Frankfurt, Germany; Vienna, AustriaGroup
1992Irfan OnurmenUrart Art Gallery, Ankara, TurkeySolo
1992SanartTurkish-British Culture Association Gallery, Ankara, TurkeyGroup
1990NudesTurkish-British Culture Association Gallery, Ankara, TurkeyGroup
1989Irfan OnurmenMaya Art Gallery, Ankara, TurkeySolo
1989Irfan OnurmenMor ve Gallery, Ankara, TurkeySolo
1989Irfan OnurmenSanfa Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeySolo
1989DrawingsUrart Art Gallery, Ankara, TurkeyGroup
1989Drawings from Nine Figurative PaintersSanfa Art Gallery, Istanbul; Urart Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
1987Nese Erdok AtelierUrart Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
1986Seref Akdik Art PrizesMimar Sinan University, Osman Hamdi Hall, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup
1985Youth yearYoung Painters, Urart Art Gallery, Istanbul, TurkeyGroup

We provide art lovers and art collectors with one of the best places on the planet to discover modern and contemporary art.
We aim at providing better value for money than most.