Cihan Öncü
16 December 2022–31 January 2023 | Dirimart


Dirimart is pleased to present the second solo exhibition of Cihan Öncü with the gallery. Öncü’s new body of work includes images of estranged liquids pouring over velvety objects that pose next to, but in an urgency to be caught, colorful jello. Öncü’s dynamic constellations display a sense of freedom of color for which he has unceasingly tried and tested. The resulting series is an ode to his earlier installations with a stark contrast to their tranquil composure.

Dreams and Diversions, the first body of work Öncü presented with Dirimart was a delve into his dream sequences consisting of images reconstructed from the memory of his youth. Carefully arranged settings included but, as in a dream, not disclosing the identities of people in them that are in contact with abstract flowers, fluids or animals. Included in his new presentation of works are three from this series bridging those to the more mature, however abstract, compositions. 

The abstract photographs are reminiscent of fantastic, alien dwellings that are composed of either individual forms lacking depth or are compositions of a variety of flowers, fruits, vegetables or liquids of an organic nature to form more complex dimensions. The setups are meticulous arrangements by Öncü with a persevering sensitivity to color. Color and texture is the pivotal concern for Öncü’s latest series. In an attempt to enhance the visual and sensual qualities, Öncü hunts for the richest colors in nature; experiments with boiling flowers and leaves. As many as there are identifiable objects, there are those that are rare and hard to determine. They are intermingled with oozing fluids in different states of viscosity. Due to the changing states of the subjects, the final frame is the result of a careful selection process. Thus, unlike still life photography, Öncü’s photographs require movement. 

Simultaneously taking and giving space, Öncü accomplishes a fluid movement that holds and stays in the photographic image. It is a stream of consciousness that flows and does not ask for understanding but of absorption. 

Cihan Öncü (b. 1986, Adıyaman). He graduated from the Primary School Teacher Education Programme at Dokuz Eylül University in 2010. He began his career with fashion photography. Creating various series since 2017, Öncü’s photography that reflects his inner world, a plain visual aesthetic, comprises domestic pictures in which daily life objects play the leading role. Those scenes that function, in a way, as a tool for inward look thanks to the sense of intimacy they convey to the viewer are compositions founded on the dynamic relations and harmony between different elements. Every single photo, with their unique color palette, indicates a moment in which the motion is halted: It invites the viewer to hear the sound and odor. Although this invitation doesn’t allow room for the viewer’s imagination, it has the power to grasp it. In Öncü’s works, relations and harmony among objects and between the objects and humans who are in interaction with them, gives a dynamism to his compositions. Cihan Öncü lives and works in Istanbul.