Everyday Heroes: Works by Irfan Önürmen

C24 Gallery

May. 12, 2024 - Jul. 9, 2022

560 West 24th St
New York, 10011
PHONE 646-416-6300


Irfan Önürmen has long been known for his multi-dimensional works that examine notions of identity in the rapidly changing digital age. In his latest collection, Everyday Heroes, he has stripped down his use of symbols and imagery to its minimal foundations, utilizing one of his favorite mediums, tulle, in layered, monochromatic constructions and digital renderings that represent ordinary life during extraordinary times. In addition to his physical work, the exhibition will include Önürmen’s first series of NFTs, NFTulle.

​Önürmen’s silhouette-like figures represent people at their most basic, their physical forms navigating landscapes punctuated by the shapes and signs common to everyday living in both the real and virtual worlds. As repetitive motifs of varying scale, the depiction of ordinary people engaged in mundane activities takes on an almost heroic quality and an exalted significance, particularly when these activities are undertaken against the backdrop of current global conditions, such as war and the continuing pandemic. His works bring to mind the iconography of spiritual traditions and other manners of group think, driven by the ubiquitous visuals of modern culture.

​In the context of current events, the choice to open a visual dialogue in black and white is somewhat of a cautionary tale. Surely, as we investigate the major themes explored by creative forms ranging from film and comics to literature and visual arts of all kinds, we can see the temptation to devolve into a fully dystopian sensibility. However, as we dig deeper into the foundations of humanity and civilization, we might find clues to our salvation in the most common aspects of everyday life.

​In this selection of work, Önürmen places his anonymous human forms in stripped-down, geometric representations of cities and streets, asking us to recognize their shared humanity minus the identifying marks of nations or tribes that might divide them. In this way, his black and white works lead us to explore the shades of gray that could help us transcend the separation and confrontational nature of so much of the world’s current communication.

​Önürmen’s first series of NFTs, NFTulle continues his examination of contemporary society through its system of codes and symbols. Diving into the metaverse with the creation of 150 unique digitally rendered “tulle” images, he infuses his contribution to the changing technological landscape of contemporary art with his signature meaning and relevance.

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