What Actually Does an Artist Want

Şener Özmen, 1971

What Actually Does an Artist Want, 2012

Şener Özmen graduated from the Department of Painting Education in the Faculty of Education at Çukurova University in 1998. Closely involved with literature and especially poetry, the artist questions in a provocative style what is determined by those in power: imposed paradigms, conditions, and authority. Using poeticized humor to draw attention to social issues, transformation, and reactions, he creates thought-provoking works.

In his video “What Actually Does an Artist Want”, Özmen stands in an open field covered with dry grass and thorns and tries to say something above the roar of planes that continuously pass overhead. Furious at not being able to make his voice heard, the artist looks all around him then turns back to the camera and repeats the question: “Do you think that from where I’m standing I can influence world art?” He thus makes reference to the video “Road to Tate Modern”, in which he and Erkan Özgen traveled on horse and donkey, in an ironic allusion to Cervantes’ Don Quixote, through the mountains of Diyarbakır to reach Tate Modern in London. Using dramatic language to explore the impossibility of accessing “temples” of art and the tragicomic ordeal of artists, the present work conveys the deadlock between the artistic milieu in the center and artists on the periphery and expresses the difficulty of being recognized by the contemporary art world.


Film / Video


Video, color and sound

Credit Line

Dr. Nejat F. Eczacıbaşı Foundation Collection

Istanbul Museum of Modern Art / Long term loan