The architecture-based culture and arts platform The Circle is organizing its first "Exploration" exhibitions from June 12 to July 5. The Circle is presenting its first portrait/auto portrait exhibition with the works of Orhan Onuk under the title (Auto) Portrait.
From Rembrandt to Van Gogh, from Egon Schiele to Frida Kahlo and from Caravaggio to Basquiat, from Edvard Munch to Francis Bacon, many artist have depicted themselves, their own-images in their minds on canvas. While this self-image might actually reflect one's existing identity, it may be the construction of a new identity. In other words, one's look at one's self might be a "recreation of one's self." The same thing goes for the portrait: the person whose portrait is being drawn is both represented and recreated, as well. The eye of the artist first becomes the other witnessing the beyond an also recreates itself as fiction.
It is possible to see both these trends in the self-portraits and portraits of Orhan Onuk. He defines himself and also adds a bit of fiction in his self-portraits and tries to represent the other and recreate the other in his portraits. The lines between the self-portrait and portrait be comes blurry from time to time while he is traveling between himself and the other.
While Onuk's works "Auto portraits: Mounting," and "Auto portraits: Volcano" and "Auto portraits: A Gliding Figure," influenced by Picasso's "Blue Period," have a more concrete and expressionist look, there is more of a realistic tone to his self-portraits, where he drew himself as the artists. His "Güneş Altında Yılanlı Otoportre" ("Auto portrait with a Serpent under the Sun") redefines his colors with fauvist-like bright colors and he redefines himself in other black-and-white drawings. Two large works Orhan Onuk did in commemoration of Ashile Gorky make you feel the geographical and political meaning of portrait. The Gorky portrait makes you feel the history of the artist's story of exile, and the reproduction of Gorky's "Mother and Child" reminds of reproduction and recreating.
Listing Jean-Michel Basquiat, Giacometti, Picasso, Vincent van Gogh, Edvard Munch, Egon Schiele, Otto Dix, Chris Ofilli, Francisco Clemente, Ashille Gorky and Marlene Dumas among his inspirations, Onuk's works invite viewers to think about the concepts of portrait, self-portrait, and the meaning and power of having a point of view.
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