Nitra Gallery opens its doors to the Athenian art scene with ‘What is the time in Istanbul,’a solo show by the celebrated Turkish artist Ardan Özmenoğlu.
In light of the current turbulence in Turkey, Özmenoğlu’s work addresses this ever-changing reality as symbolized by a simple question. 'What's the time in Istanbul' might sound metaphorical or ironic but it is not: recently, it has often been a question asked with the expectation of a valid response. Özmenoğlu portrays aspects of her own existence in this state of national turmoil, addressing stereotypical interpretations of the notion of Turkish identity – and other identities around the world.
Her work contains pop and conceptual elements, investigating the processes of image consumption and repetition. They can be understood as social commentary, and impart ‘a feeling of ritual and a more personal space for a contemplative mood,’ according to the artist.
Art Historian Berin Golonu writes about the artist: ‘Özmenoğlu adheres hundreds of post-it notes to her canvases and then silk-screens colorful, pop-inspired imagery on top to create a three-dimensional surface. This singular composition made out of a multitude of similar parts lends the work a formal variety and literal depth. After the canvas undergoes the printing process, each post-it note can behave differently. Some can lay completely flat, while others can curl up and reveal their true colors peaking out from under the overlaid images. The work’s three-dimensional depth also translates into a depth of meaning—on the surface, it is colorful, lighthearted and extremely fun, yet an entirely different character and tone threatens to eclipse these surface appearances from underneath’.
Nitra Gallery’s first location is in Thessaloniki, where it opened its doors in 1994 as Atrion Gallery, only to be renamed and relocated as Nitra in 2013. Focusing on the geographical, historical and cultural connection between Thessaloniki and Istanbul, Nitra has integrated an artistic dialogue between the two cities as part of its identity. For the inauguration of its second gallery space in Athens, Nitra chose to introduce itself and its exhibition program by presenting of one of the most significant Turkish artists of her generation: Ardan Özmenoğlu.
Ardan Özmenoglu (b.1979, Turkey) obtained her BFA as well as her MFA in the Department of Art, Design and Architecture from Bilkent University, Ankara. She was an Artist in Residence at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, Ateliergemeinschaft Milchhof e.V. Berlin, Frans Maserell Centrum in Belgium, Kulturkontakt Austria in Vienna and Glasstress in Murano, Venice. Her recent work consists of site-specific screen print installations, which incorporate architecture and sculpture, using materials such as glass, neon tubing and post-it notes. At the interface between printmaking and sculpture, these three-dimensional portraits come into being. Her works can be found in important collections internationally, such as the Frankfurt Airport Collection, the Osthaus Museum Hagen Collection, the KALA art Institute Collection, the Borusan Contemporary Art Collection, the UniCredit Bank Art Collection, the Fondation Jan Michalski collection, the Imago Mundi (Benetton) Collection and the Istanbul Modern Collection etc. She works and lives in Istanbul.