Dr Necmi Sönmez, born in 1968 in Istanbul, is a Düsseldorf-based curator, art critic and writer.
Necmi Sönmez studied art history, Byzantinine art history and classical archaeology in Mainz, Paris, Newcastle and Frankfurt am Main. He gained his doctorate in 2001 in Frankfurt with a dissertation on “Milch, Blütenstaub, Reis und Wachs. Das Gesamtwerk von Wolfgang Laib” (Milk, pollen, rice and wax. The artistic oeuvre of Wolfgang Laib). From 1994 to 1997 Sönmez worked as an independent curator, initiating and organizing numerous exhibition projects, mainly involving young artists, in Turkey, Germany, Holland and France. From 1998 to 2000 he was a project assistant at the Museum Wiesbaden and at the MUMOK (Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig) in Vienna.
From 2001 until the end of January 2005 he held the post of curator of contemporary art at the Museum Folkwang in Essen, where he organized exhibitions and projects with artists such as Ayse Erkmen (2001), Renée Levi (2003), Martin Gostner (2004), Reiner Ruthenbeck (2004) and Saâdane Hafif (2005). Among the group shows he curated were “Einsiedler – Vorübergehend” (Hermits – temporarily, 2001) and “Tische der Kommunikation” (Tables of communication, 2001), “Private Öffentlichkeit” (Private publicity, 2002), “Sukûn / Stille” (Silence, 2003) and “Das Erinnerte Haus” (The remembered house, 2004). From 2006 to 2008 Sönmez was artistic director of the Kunstverein Arnsberg, where he presented artists such as Ekrem Yalcindag, Gregor Schneider (both 2006), Myriam Holme, Florian Bach (both 2007), Sabine Boehl, Martin Dammann and Anja Cuipka (all 2008).
His current activities include co-curating the exhibition “Türkish Realities” at the Fotografie Forum in Frankfurt, serving as a member of the committee of experts (Comité Technique) of the Regional Contemporary Art Fund (FRAC) in the French region of Franche-Comté and working as guest curator for the Elgiz Museum of Contemporary Art in Istanbul.