Şener Özmen questions the certainty of existing conditions and situations, authoritarian structures and existing taboos. His subtle and poetic works focus our attention not only on the perception and the changes in the context of art, but refer mainly to the critical problems of social reality in which the artist positions himself and offers his opinion.
Şener Özmen was born in Idil in 1971. He graduated from the Department of Painting Education in the Faculty of Education at Çukurova University. He has had several solo exhibitions and participated in many group exhibitions both in Turkey and abroad: Germany, France, England, Kosovo, Serbia, Albania, the USA, Iran, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Swiss, Sweden, Holland, Spain, Yugoslavia and Austria. His articles on exhibitions were published in BirGün Newspaper, Artist Magazine, Sanat Dünyamız, Radikal Kitap and Siyahî. His works have been shown in Centre Pompidou, The Worldly House at dOCUMENTA(13), Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Istanbul Modern, and Kunsthalle Fridericianum. Özmen has been awarded an Institute of International Education Artist Protection Fund Fellowship and is in residence at Montclair State University, participating in ISCP’s residency program.
In the video “What Does an Artist Actually Want?” (2012), Özmen himself is seen standing in a ploughed field, turning to face different cardinal directions, before speaking directly to the camera and gesturing at the ground, then at the viewer and, finally, with arms outstretched, at the empty landscape around him. What he is saying is entirely drowned out by the sound of airplanes taking off and landing. Lip-readers (and wall-label-readers) perhaps understood him to be asking: “Do you think it’s possible for me to influence global art from where I am standing?” Even though we cannot hear him clearly, and he certainly cannot hear us, our collective reply should be a resounding “yes”. – H. G. Masters