Born and raised in the Derik district in Mardin, Turkey, Erkan Özgen (1971) graduated from the Fine Arts Education Painting Department in Çukurova University, Adana in 2000. The artist’s video and photography-based installations examine issues concerning migration, cultural identity, language, conscience and ethics, among others. Özgen’s works explore the contemporary conjuncture where various forms of displacement are redefining our political and social ecosystem. These works amplify stories that run the risk of being forgotten amid the constant flow of information or are sometimes even intentionally overshadowed. They are fragments that awaken feelings and raise such a fundamental question as, how can art help understand the reality of war, conflict, and violence?
Özgen’s latest solo exhibitions include Off the Record, Kunsthal Rotterdam, (curated by Shehera Grot) Rotterdam, the Netherlands (2022),Kinderland (curated by Avi Lubin), Hamidrasha Gallery, Tel Aviv, Israel (2019),Giving Voices (curated by Hilde Teerlinck), Foundation Antoni Tàpies, Barcelona, Spain (2018); and group exhibitions include “Lenin Was a Mushroom, Moving Images in the 1990s”, M HKA – Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp(curated by Nav Haq), Antwerp, Belçika (2022), When we count Time, We measure Light (curated by Sisipho Ngodwana and Sinazo Chiya), Stevenson Gallery Cape Town and Johannesburg, South Africa (2021); Busan Biennale (curated by Jacob Fabricius), Busan, South Korea (2020); Manifesta Revisited, Manifesta in Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2019); An American City: Eleven Cultural Exercises, FRONT International: Cleveland Triennial for Contemporary Art, (curated by Michelle Grabner and Jens Hoffmann) Cleveland Ohio, USA (2018); 15th International Istanbul Biennial (curated by the artist duo Elmgreen and Dragset), organised by the Istanbul Foundation for Culture and Arts, Istanbul, Turkey (2017); 77/13 Political Art and Resistance in Turkey, nGbK, Berlin, Germany (2016); DOCUMENTA 13 (curated by Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev), Kassel, Germany (2012); Turquie et Alors (curated by Yekhan Pinarligil), Centre Pompidou, Paris, France (2010); Beyond Paradise, Stedelijk Museum Bureau, Organised by SMBA, Amsterdam, Netherlands (2008) among others. Erkan Özgen, who lives and works in Diyarbakır, is the co-founding manager of the Loading Art, which has been operating since 2017.