Gaze Series No. 55
signed twice and dated 'İRFAN ÖNÜRMEN İrfan Önürmen 2016' (on the reverse)
tulle on layered Plexiglas mounted on wood
6618 x 5238in. (168 x 133cm.)
Executed in 2016
Donated by the artist, courtesy of C24 Gallery, New York.
The seller of this lot is Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts (registered in [63483] (IKSV) with charity number [63483]) and they will receive 100% of their net proceeds of sale (being the aggregate hammer price of the lots less any auction expenses, which will not exceed 5% of the aggregate hammer price of the lots). In addition, Christie’s will donate an amount equal to 2% of the hammer price of the lot from our Buyer’s Premium.
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Lot Essay

Scrutinsing the relationship between personal and public experiences through the lens of mass media, Irfan Önürmen explores the impact of contemporary imagery on the human psyche. Through collage, painting and sculpture, Önürmen creates portraits that emerge from archives of images that he collects from newspapers, magazines, and social media. Developing his signature technique that he calls ‘pentulle’ since the late 1990s, Önürmen’s technical portraits reveal closely-cropped portraits through built-up layers of cut tulle and clear plastic.

İrfan Önürmen’s Gaze Series gives way to psychological and political readings as he depicts familiar-looking yet anonymous faces that are composites of images found on the internet. Examining the disparity between real identities and their online, virtual avatars, the works are constructed from layered strips of soft tulle—creating a texture that suggests digital pixels, and an effect reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s iconic ripped collage and screen-printed portraits. In these monochromatic layers, Önürmen opposes the real against the virtual, truth against fantasy, clarity against pixelation; his direct yet ambiguous portraits pose more questions than they answer, and probe our position of ‘witness’ in contemporary society.

İrfan Önürmen lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey. His works are held in public and private collections including Istanbul Modern Museum and Leon Black Collection, US. His works have been recently exhibited in solo presentations at C24 Gallery, New York (2016, 2019 and 2022); Aria Art Gallery, London and Florence (2017); Katara Art Center, Doha (2012) and Pi Artworks Galatasaray, Istanbul (2011).

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