Şener Özmen: Unfiltered
Şener Özmen
Unfiltered

Curator:
Süreyyya Evren

30 March–15 May 2016
Süreyyya Evren, on "Unfiltered"
Şener Özmen, Unfiltered
Exhibition view: Arter, 2016
Photo: Ali Taptık
Şener Özmen, Unfiltered
Exhibition view: Arter, 2016
Photo: Ali Taptık
Şener Özmen, Unfiltered
Exhibition view: Arter, 2016
Photo: Ali Taptık
Şener Özmen
An Overcast Day / Koh Samui
2016
Fiberglass, glass, Slide Viewer Light Box, Duratrans photograph
120 x 80 x 30
Installation view: Arter, 2016
Photo: Ali Taptık
Şener Özmen's "Unfiltered" exhibition is set up on three "taht"s niched into three corners of the exhibition space. These structures that make reference to the vernacular "taht"s, which are wooden constructions used outdoors in hot climates, appear both as individual works in and of themselves and also function as platforms bearing other works.

As soon as you enter Arter's second floor gallery, immediately to your left, you see the taht titled "Taht-1: Artist Battling His Invisible Enemies". The sides of each taht are adorned with small icons made using CNC engraving technology. There are a total of 32 icons on the three tahts. The white, shiny, huge binocular above Taht-1 that greets you on your left as you enter the floor recalls the small single shot Slide Viewers, which find their place in the artist's childhood memories. When we approach and look inside we see only one shot: a photograph of Şener Özmen lying on the beach of Koh Samui Island, a global vacation destination! Both the fact that the artist went on this trip and the shot documenting the trip suggest the starting point of a quest for a strong objection pertaining to fixed artist identities. This photograph, which flirts with the aesthetics of touristic promo images, also sets out to re-deal the deck in a way that shakes prejudices and reorganises what is normal for everyone.

The icons on Taht-1 consist of images from Mesopotamian mythologies and histories of civilizations in the region, ranging from Ishtar Standing on a Lion to the Urartian God Khaldi. A contemporary scene also finds its place on this taht: the historic Sheikh Matar Mosque, known as the "Four-legged Minaret", where Diyarbakır Bar Association president Tahir Elçi was assassinated as he was making a press statement to prevent the mosque from being demolished by the ongoing armed conflict. We see another icon pertaining to the same event on Taht-2.

The curtain on Taht-2 recalls the rags that are pulled around tahts used in warm climates in the evenings to ensure privacy. On this curtain, which simultaneously turns into a film screen, we see three friends merrily jumping rope in the midst of nature. However, after a while they disappear in the dust raised by their own jumps. Joy, the rhythm of the jumps, and the dream of a beautiful life also hinted at in the Koh Samui Island photograph becomes covered in dust, the right to speak that had been attained is now lost amid the racket.

As for the icons on Taht-3, they make reference to the texts titled "Unfiltered Memories" the artist wrote for this exhibition and that can also be found in the exhibition book. In the personal atmosphere created by the images of the artist's childhood and teenage memories, we also come across a TV screen. A short video is found here, in loop mode. When the source file of a film that was filtered – or in other words, censured – is no longer available, all that remains is the movement of white censuring circles on a red background. They look for something to censure, scan the screen back and forth but come up with nothing.

The title "Unfiltered" no doubt signifies a direct, candid conversation where the artist expresses his stance, his thoughts, his approach and his truth in an unfiltered manner: to try, to experience, to penetrate and, this time, remember together...