Jade Pearl Baker (2022) ⎥ Watercolor and Acrylic on paper ⎥ 36 x 48 cm


Aykan Safoğlu (2022) ⎥ Acrylic on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


Kaey Kiel (2022) ⎥ Oil on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


Zazie (2022) ⎥ Oil pastel and pensil on paper⎥ 46 x 36 cm


Georgette Dee (2021) ⎥ Oil on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


Sabuha (2021) ⎥ Oil on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


Bambi Mercury (2021) ⎥ Acrylic on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


Mignon (2021) ⎥ Acrylic on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


Sema Poyraz (2021) ⎥ Oil on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


Nurkan Erpulat (2021) ⎥ Oil on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


Gió De Sera (2021) ⎥ Oil on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


Khader Ahmad (2021) ⎥ Oil on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


Sir Henry de Winter (2020) ⎥ Oil on canvas ⎥ 70 x 50 cm


Irmgard Knef (2020) ⎥ Oil on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


Kaspar Kamäleon (2020) ⎥ Oil on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


Julian Göthe (2020) ⎥ Acrylic and oil on canvas ⎥ 50 x 40 cm


Ipek Ipekçioğlu (2020) ⎥ Oil on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


Peter Frost (2020) ⎥ Oil on canvas ⎥ 70 x 50 cm


Dieter Rita Scholl (2020) ⎥ Oil on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


Gloria Viagra (2020) ⎥ Oil on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


Imran Ataya (2020) ⎥ Oil on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


Ali Görmez (2020) ⎥ Acrylic and oil on canvas ⎥ 60 x 60 cm


Aziza A. (2020) ⎥ Oil on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


Zazie de Paris (2020) ⎥ Oil on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


The Scream (Self-portrait 2020) ⎥ Acrylic on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


Salomé en costume Japonais (2020) ⎥ Oil on canvas ⎥ 60 x 50 cm


Bridge Markland 3. (2020) ⎥ Watercolor on paper ⎥ 36 x 48 cm

The queer cabaret artist with a headscarf and a mocha cup for the coffee grounds, the chansonnier with earrings and wide eyes, leaning against a tree, the drag queen with bright red lips and a mythical Medusa head. At first glance, “Persona”, the latest series by Cihangir Gümüstürkmen, appears as a tribute to LGTBQ + and the cultural scene with a celebrity touch, coming from a migrant background. From Djane İpek to director Nurkan Erpulat, from stage diva Georgette Dee to queer activist and drag queen Gloria Viagra, an institution of Berlin nightlife, the artist has brought together a broad spectrum of cultural workers and birds of paradise away from the mainstream.
At the latest since the inflation of digital (self)portrait, but already since the invention of photography, portrait-painting has been sidelined in art history. By now making the oil paintings of his series after portrait photo, the artist reverses this relationship and restores painting to its old status. His pictures neither serve for representation nor are they intended to idealize or distort. Rather, they show affectionate people. They fulfill the most important task of the portraits: the memory of acquaintances and friends, who are always more than that. Gümüstürkmen did not choose the abstract-sounding series title "Persona" for nothing. The term from psychology describes the social mask that people show outwards, or on social stage. Be it because they want to appear in a role themselves, be it because they want to meet social expectations. Gümüstürkmen acts at precisely this interface between public image and self-image. It marks the narrow gap between the persona and the person. The portraits do capture intimate, thoughtful moments. But almost all of them work with the pose mode. The wide eyes under the orange mushroom head emphasize the unconventional, the lamb in the hand of one of the calls up the peacefulness. The monocle as the identity card of the extravagant calls up the culture of Berlin in the twenties and closes the circle to the Berlin of today.
That the staging of the “persona” can be a dance on a volcano has been known since C. G. Jung made the “unleashing of arbitrary fantasy” responsible for the outbreak of the unconscious or the hidden behind this social mask. The artist knows this ambivalence, as he himself appears as the performer Cihangir. His self-portrait “Scream” seems to hint at this very moment. Mouth tightened in scream, face contorted, shimmering between energy and pain. Which person(a) wants to become visible here?
Ingo Arend