"A New Hopelessness"

PILEVNELI Mecidiyeköy

April 6 - May 12, 2019


Well-known contemporary artist and writer Şener Özmen’s so far the most comprehensive solo exhibition in Turkey “A New Hopelessness” is taking place at PILEVNELI Gallery Mecidiyeköy between April 6 and May 12, 2019.


The artist’s both known and unknown works produced in a vast timespan of 17 years in New Jersey, New York, Berlin and especially Diyarbakır, where he lived and produced for many years, will meet the audience in İstanbul’s new contemporary art space PILEVNELI.


A New Hopelessness reconsiders a scene from Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope - the first of the original trilogy written and directed by George Lucas and screened in 1977 - as Şener Özmen thinks he relates to the movie in a way. Özmen’s obsessive attitude towards geographic nomenclature becomes catatonic, especially in moments when the land that bore his roots is considered a no-where.


The artist states that war, internal and external immigration, forced displacement, destruction and other anomalies will continue unaffectedly until the end of time, regardless of the recent or the distant past. His reasoning lies in the idea that the world isn’t constructed perfectly and the problem isn’t human action or lack of it, but instead, it is the World itself, which deceives human beings since the very beginning of their existence. He reminds us of the fact that in those lands where both art and wars exist, a new door of hopelessness might have left ajar, which might lessen in an imaginary way the destructive effects of the tough reality. Thus, Özmen divides his exhibition in two main sections: one showing works including a least bit of hope, but aren’t hopeful; and the other section showing, completely backing on his word, works that perceive hope as an abusive regime. “World…” says Şener Özmen, “is the world we know!” Right at that point, the artist turns to science-fiction; as he can’t make himself to shout “Energize!” standing by the city walls of Diyarbakır, he hopes for help from Marx and Engels in Alexanderplatz, Berlin. Influenced by a dream he thinks his mother had, he communicates with a Hoberman Sphere toy stuck in a tree hollow in the middle of a snow-capped forest, thinks and speaks Kudish. For Molestation, he gathers a couple of Jimmy Jibs that he hasn’t used in any of his videos throughout his artistic career. He suggests that we look at Aphrodite’s torso again, and again, and again, implying we might find new things there. Then, he tries to show how Manhattan’s view may deform when looked at from Edgewater, New Jersey, and how an immigrant can’t be more than what he’s transformed into.


With A New Hopelessness, PILEVNELI Gallery creates an opportunity to see Şener Özmen’s new attitude towards earthly issues, the balance between life and art that he hasn’t been able to set in no way, and to get to know the artist better in light of his past and recent artworks.


The exhibition is sponsored by ASMED and Fairmont and supported by Privee PR, Samsung, Jotun and Nespresso, and installed by BeetleArt.