Post-it notes, neon signs, everything is wonderful... Turkish artist Ardan Özmenoğlu’s unique first solo exhibition, titled "Alles wunderbar" (Everything's wonderful), has aptly found a home in Germany as Anna Laudel's Düsseldorf branch continues to host the artist's show until Nov. 13, where one is able to witness the nine-year creative journey Özmenoğlu has taken while covering a wide array of topics throughout her career.
The exhibition, curated by Katerina Valdivia Bruch, comprises a broad range of themes with – on the surface – simple materials like paper, glass or neon light tubes, yet Özmenoğlu's endless creativity and her capability of combining the simple and the complex in a playful and joyful manner produces a show with depth.
Meanwhile, the three-dimensional sculptural works with a series of painted glass layers, depicting flowers and trees, provide an insight into her outlook on nature, its fragility and the vulnerability of humans.
The exhibition focuses closely on the artist's yearslong relationship with the country of Germany in general and the city of Berlin in particular, which stands as a close second main production site where she creates her artworks, right after Istanbul, where she resides.
Germany and the German language plays a large role in the exhibition and on her works. The 42-year-old's works are infused with German, with some of her latest pieces focusing almost solely on the language. Her Post-it works showcase the first German words she learned: "Alles gut" (Everything is good), "Alles schön" (Everything is beautiful), and "Alles wunderbar" (Everything is wonderful), from which the exhibition is named. There is also the neon tube light sculptures that read "Ja, ja, ja, ja" (Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes).
The exhibition is hosted by Anna Laudel Düsseldorf, which stands as the second gallery of the art space that started with its main gallery in Istanbul. It welcomed art lovers to a new building in September as it continues to host extensive exhibitions where Turkish and international artists showcase their works.
Its Istanbul gallery offers a spacious arts environment where multiple exhibitions and events can be held simultaneously, as it is dedicated to becoming one of the leading dynamic contemporary art centers in Istanbul.
Meanwhile, Anna Laudel Düsseldorf, which opened in 2019, meant the gallery has expanded internationally.
Founded by Anna Laudel and directed by Ferhat Yeter, both galleries host solo and group exhibitions by artists from Turkey and beyond.
Özmenoğlu playfully challenges the viewer throughout the exhibition, as her explorations focus on the imperfection of life providing a perfect scenario.
The attention to detail, subtle reflections on every day and the now, but also on media, art, Turkish identity and history distinguishes her oeuvre and is unparalleled. Her playful manner is on full blast at this exhibition, as she hints at a sense of community and belonging, always with a shred of humor.
She also offers a strong sense of receptiveness to the new, and an openness to surprises in life.
Post-its, those innocent note devices usually employed as memory-aids, or quick notes stuck on different surfaces, become something else entirely.
In Özmenoğlu’s reinvention of the material through her eyes, Post-its acquire unique meanings as they speak about Turkish history and politics, as well as daily life in Istanbul, but also portray how the artist sees modern urban women that are shaping contemporary Istanbul society and culture.
Her Post-it works include popular mass-mediated images from popular culture, such as celebrities from the arts scene, music or fashion industries, historical figures as well as famous Turkish political leaders.
She also portrays impressions of daily life in urban settings, spanning from random phrases written on walls, doors or graffiti, to manhole covers traced by the artist in different cities.
Özmenoğlu also brings her own interpretation of society and the art environment in her works produced using neon lights.
The exhibition is curated by Bruch who is a Berlin-based independent curator and arts writer that has been curating exhibitions and organizing talks, conferences and lectures for a number of institutions for many years.
Besides her work as a curator, she contributes essays and articles to art publications and magazines.
Özmenoğlu’s solo exhibition “Alles wunderbar,” featuring the artist’s previous works as well as her brandnew ones, will be on display at Anna Laudel Düsseldorf until Nov. 13, 2021.