Ardan Ozmenoglu is a mixed-media contemporary artist characterized by her original use of medium, design, and content. Since her first exhibition in 2006, her work has been featured in over forty exhibitions in the USA and abroad including Istanbul, Basel, Berlin, London, and Milan. Her works can also be found in important collections internationally such as the Frankfurt Airport Collection, Osthaus Museum Hagen Collection, Kala Art Institute Collection, Borusan Contemporary Art Collection, UniCredit Bank Art Collection, and the Istanbul Modern Collection amongst others.
She is recognized for her distinct usage of post-it notes in an attempt to depict her everyday life living/working in Istanbul. Her technique involves adhering an array of post-it notes to her canvases as a base, topped by silk-screened vibrant imagery derived from popular culture. The result is a three-dimensional surface, adding a sense of depth and dimension to her work. The process of making a screen print is both precise and experimental, requiring careful preparation yet simultaneously allows for unplanned elements to enter the composition such as accidental smudges and spills that remain as part of the finished product. It is the double nature of the screen-printing process, its orientation to technological precision, and its openness to chance, that fascinate her most as an artist.
Once the canvas has undergone the printing process, each post-it note can behave differently. While some lay entirely flat, others curl up, giving the viewer a peak at their original color out from underneath the folds of overlaid images. In addition to physical depth, her body of work conveys depth through its meaning. On the surface it is lively, radiant, and playful yet an entirely different undertone lingers beneath the surface.
She first came across post-it notes while completing her MFA degree in Graphic Design at Bilkent University. Post-its are a very contemporary material, with no history and very much something of today, of the moment. People feel a strong connection to them because it’s an everyday commercial material that is used by all different types of people for all kinds of reasons. Post-it notes bring us comfort because they are simple, ordinary, and relatable. We leave them on the fridge to remind us of our grocery lists, we write sweet nothings to our lovers, we jot down things we need that are rather menial and tend to be forgotten. In an era where we are saturated with copious amounts of information it’s difficult to keep track of all the details and everything today is bound to be forgotten sooner or later. That is why you have to jot them down on Post-It notes.
Through her clever use of post-it notes, Ozmenoglu creates pieces of art that are infused with sociopolitical commentary, uniting seemingly opposing ideas: the past and present, art history and contemporary art trends, creativity and consumerism, repetition and individuality. The post-its emphasize the duality exhibited in her work, particularly the concepts of unity and fragmentation. The images are whole yet fragmented and conversely, they are fragmented but also whole. Her work bridges the gap between centuries old practice printing with modern colors, glitters, paper, and images. Her bold and evocative art forces the viewer to consider everyday objects in a different light thus predicting the whole from pieces, supplying an undetermined dimension, and keeping the attention. The spectrum of vision between her works and the viewer is complex, ranging from the largely irrelevant to the highly specific. She never confines herself to any criteria, principles, limits, or boundaries when choosing a subject or medium to work on.
Ozmenoglu famously declares “Art is my husband”, in attest to her captivating feminist spirit. To further this notion, one of her most popular works titled Beauty Balloons, features a sultry Kate Moss mischievously blowing up a piece of bubblegum. The image is comprised of blue, yellow, and pink post-it notes in which the pink bubble acts as a focal point. The post-it notes in the background are blacked over, emphasizing the outline of the beauty and her balloon, creating what looks like a mosaic where the true colors transpire through the image. The color composition mirrors exactly what Kate Moss serves to embody, a confident powerful woman, carrying an expression that is both exuberant yet seductive, tantalizing the viewer with her dark allure. She is a sex symbol of the 90s, capturing aspects of sensuality that are usually not expressed or accepted by contemporary fashion. She remains a timeless and decadent muse in our popular culture, endearing and rebellious all while remaining effortlessly cool. Kate Moss serves as a representation of all the qualities Ozmenoglu transmits to her female audience, and what she deems important in what it means to be a modern woman: confident, strong, and independent all without forgetting to embrace your natural sex appeal.
In her neon objects, glass works and installations Ardan Ozmenoglu takes a probing look at a wide range of phenomena in contemporary society. Many of her works are informed by her own biography, but they also set a universal example of the artistic examination of national and cultural identity, individuality, and collective visual memory. Her refined, subtle works are precisely conceived narratives, visualized through the use of iconic images or illustrations taken from other contexts. Her work always reflects from the special position as a Turkish artist in the beginning of the 21st century, creating art that couldn’t be closer to current affairs. She creates in her art a position that knows how to process both culture-historical tendencies and socio-politically highly relevant themes with a playful, ironic smile.
She has since relocated from Istanbul to Brooklyn, New York City to continue producing highly original and creatively unprecedented works.