The OG Gallery

Founded by Senem Özgören with a focus on themes such as art theory, gender, migration, and alienation, Istanbul’s newest art gallery, OG, has a sincere dialogue with artists.

You opened a new gallery in Istanbul. What is it all about? What will make Özgören Gallery different?

A gallery is essentially a very abstract space. Think of other galleries in Turkey and abroad. They invariably have different backgrounds, systems, and aesthetic perceptions. In developing this idea, my objective was to create a gallery that was sharing, transparent, and truly unifying. OG is the abbreviation of Original Gang/ster, the Original, and Origin. OG will be different for having a solid team collaborating with the artists we represent to overcome the abstract side I mentioned.

OG opens with Ahmet Civelek’s solo exhibition. Can you tell us a little about Civelek? What can we expect to see?

This is Civelek’s first personal exhibition in Istanbul after five years, and it is also the first time he has used his body as material in twelve years. We have a wonderfully staged Wrestler here. An alienated American-Turkish Civelek redefines himself as an oil wrestler. Here, Civelek adds a new series to the male portraits of contemporary art history. He refers to those portraits with poses and gestures that disclose his fragility and ‘in-between’ emotions. We don’t have carefully shaped muscular bodies disconnected from reality. Instead, we have a wrestler who avoids exaggerations that might appear grotesque. The kispets (wrestlers’ leather knee-breeches) hanging around have been detached from their past victories in the arena and stand in a white pot as bodies defeated by Civelek.

What other exhibitions are in line, and what are your short-term plans for OG?

I grew up with a photographer father. So, I familiarized myself with the broader world through images in the early 90s, when the circulation of photographic images was less widespread than it is today. I feel this has improved my digital comprehension abilities to a level closer to the current Gen-Z.

The next exhibition will be photographer Eren Göktürk’s first solo exhibition. Eren’s photographs are staged with incredible detail reminiscent of a play. Some of them are coincidentally fiction.

I recall the day I first stepped into the open-plan, multi-columned space from the 80s that once served as the chamber of commerce of the banking union. I was very excited to imagine the potential for an infinite number of exhibitions here as an artist, a viewer, and a gallery owner. I can’t wait to witness the emergence of many talents in this venue that will challenge all three of my personas.

Address: Okçu Musa Caddesi, 11 BANK Han, Istanbul