Since the mid 1990s İrfan Önürmen has explored new avenues in figurative painting, delving into the lifestyle of the modern city dweller. He investigates the issues of a post 1980 generation, struggling to find a foothold in history, or indeed in life. His subjects include the alienated individual, striving to become ‘other’, but always falling short. He particularly focuses on the lonely heroes of the shanty towns and the one-day-superstars of the media. Scenes such as the fake moments of happiness captured by the tabloids and the lynching attempts in explosive ghettos, as well as the relationships between the sexes, dominate his work. Önürmen’s paintings are woven with sometimes austere, sometimes poetic expressions. He shows the artificial moments of a society that has turned into one great, cacophonous collage and probes the dilemmas and causes of what is commonly termed ‘cultural erosion’.
Since the early stages of his career, İrfan Önürmen has turned to expressive possibilities other than painting. He has created collages made of magazine and newspaper clippings and more recently has started to use gauze as a transparent medium. ‘In the Room’ is one of Önürmen’s most powerful works and was produced using gauze and fabric to create a three-dimensional optical illusion with layers of different depth. The frozen atmosphere lends drama to the relationship between the two people. The installation resembles a black and white television screen that gives a deceptive impression of depth and has multiple angles of vision.