“In life, some doors are opened for us when the right time comes. Passing through, you start seeing things which you could not see before.”
With these words Baki Bogac starts to explain the concept of his three or nearly four years long project. I have often seen him during this time working in his beautiful studio, the Pygmalion Art studio at the extreme end of the Venetian Palace, the former chapel of the palace he renovated himself to the old state on the basis of old photos; a place which inspires him, a place which breathes something very special: Wisdom, Serenity, the scent of history and another time level. I still remember the first day, when I stood within the entrance, coming from the light outside, looking into the dark, and there at the end in a pool of light coming from a side window stood Baki working on a statue bigger than him, not cutting a piece of stone but building it up with plaster around a wire structure. That was his first figure of light. He tried to construct a figure with convex and concave forms to receive and at the same time reflect the light.
I continued to visit him over the years and took pictures of his first sculptured insects. Insects created from stones he found at a certain beach on the north coast, I will not reveal the name of it, and these decided the final form of the insect to be given birth. All kind of material was added to emphasize the characteristic, metal, brick, a pedal, some electric wire…
Many things came in his way, often painfully, keeping him from finishing the work as he carried it in his mind. There was this special concept and it kept pursuing him without mercy, and he could not stop and say it is done, there was still another insect waiting to be created.
Finally on October 12, 2009, he was ready to show his work to his friends and to the public coming from all parts of the island. The studio was soon flooded ahead of time with people who came early to see the pieces on display undisturbed, us and all the journalists and TV teams. This evening all my artist friends had come to pay their respects and soon the street in front of the studio was blocked.
Our president Mr Mehmet Ali Talat came, surrounded by bodyguards, and he found himself standing in front of the heavy studio door amidst some people to whom he was known and who wanted to greet and talk to him. Finally, he succeeded in opening the exhibition with friendly appreciating words together with Mrs Prof Dr. Ülker Vanci Osam stretching the importance of The Visual Arts Archive Studies under the auspices of the Center of Cyprus Studies of Eastern Mediterranean University supporting the exhibition’s documentation.
When the studio was so crowded with people that moving around was impossible, Baki switched off the light to make visible the Insects and the Reflectors, as he calls them. Parts of the sculptures were painted with luminous paint and it gave a weird effect because all the white shirts and dresses gave off a cold hard bluish light. Also Reflectors?
But let him continue to explain his concept:
“I have started to see people with their light and energy. This experience was the starting point of my “Light and Insects” concept. I decided to use this concept for an exhibition. Initially, I started to search for the darkness which denies the existence of light. I have amassed a considerable amount of knowledge about light and energy in physical and metaphysical sense by researching Islamic, Eastern and Western philosophies. As a result of my observations and knowledge about light and energy, I have grouped people in three categories: The first group I called ‘Light People’, the second one ‘Reflectors’ and lastly the third group ‘Insects’. The production process of the first piece was really painful. However, the other pieces came out just like a heavy rain which starts with few raindrops. At my 6th Solo exhibition, my aim is to encourage or create a motivation for people to question their own light and energy. The three categories I defined as follows:
1. Light People: They constantly produce light and energy with their own coordination of mind. The amount of light and energy they individually produce is always higher than their individual need; the light and energy they create is not for personal use but for humanity. Their light and energy activate other sources of light and energy on the earth. In other words it is motivating. Light people are wise. They use knowledge to educate /train humanity in order to increase the consciousness and sensitivity. In addition, they are very cooperative, modest and respectful. Mevlana and Yunus Emre can be given as rarely found, good examples to this group. Eight hundred years ago Mevlana said “Come, Come again ! Whatever you are... Whether you are an infidel, idolater or fire worshipper. Come, come again...”. He takes attention to the humane virtues such as equality and care which are absent in our age.
Unfortunately, people still do not posses such understanding. We still create discrimination because of race, language, color and sex. Besides Mevlana, Yunus Emre is another figure representing the Light People group. One of the sayings of Yunus Emre is “Let us get acquainted, love and be loved/ No one will survive forever.” And “If I told you about a land of love, friend, would you follow me and come?” can be interpreted as invitations to a peaceful and spiritual world which is quite contrary to ours that is full of wars and materialistic values. Here, now, on earth we find Humans against humans.
2. Reflectors: Reflectors seem very brilliant to you when you first meet them. However, after you spend some time with them and share things, you become aware of their emptiness. You understand that you are mistaken and look at them again in order to see their real character; but you are faced with their brightness again. You get confused and experience a great conflict. You try to question what you see. If they are empty, they should not have light and if they have light, they should not be empty. It took me two years to solve and name this conflict. I have concluded that the people in this category cannot produce the energy and light they need; but they can take the energy and light from the Light people and reflect them to others. They pretend to posses the source of Light and mislead other people with their showy, exaggerated and egocentric, prophetic behaviors and guidance. Their basic behavior patterns are; first of all since their knowledge is superficial and insufficient, they do not present themselves in an open, sincere and clear way. In addition, their populist attitudes and methods create an effect on others lacking commonsense. They are always showing off. When they notice somebody’s mistake, instead of helping him to correct and improve himself/herself, they just keep silent and store it as a hint in order to use it against that person. Actually if you ask whose representatives they are, I can say that almost all politicians can be included into this group.
3. Insects: Insects can be associated to the people who do not have any light or energy at all and function just like plants tied to soil or as insects. In order to compensate the absent light and energy they require in order to survive, instead of moving towards Light People, who are the representatives of the real source of light and energy, they tend to get attracted/caught and used by the deceiving shine of reflectors who use populist methods. In our society, insect people are the ones who obey a leader without any decision-mechanism, common sense or critical mind. In other words they are the people of huge masses who do not have any individuality. The source of this kind of behavior is based on the insect psychology.
During the process of creating the insects, I decided to represent the threatening and irritating character by using grotesque elements but indirectly through an aesthetic construction. Using insects as the metaphor for a group of people made me think that I was unfair to the insects to use them for the representation of that group; because the humans are even more disgusting and merciless creatures possessing a limitless potential for destructing themselves and his environment by wars and other means.
All humans are born with the energy and light of the universe placed inside them. When we become aware of it and try to activate and use it, only then we become human and open a path to become a Light People. If we don’t become conscious of our own source, we just follow the deceiving brightness of reflectors and become insect people.
I tried to use a minimalist approach while forming my work in an abstract expressionist style. I wanted my insects to posses both grotesque elements and also give the impression of a brooch by being involved in a Surrealist influence and may be Thrashart. Above all I do, I wanted to show how easily people can transform themselves to killing machines by ignoring/neglecting/being blind to qualities such as; empathy, affection, respect, wisdom, common sense, free will, and many others which in fact make a human a real human. Moreover, I want to bring your attention to find a way for improving education.
While hoping that this exhibition will bring light and energy to the people of my country, who have been longing for Light for a long time, I wish to say:
“May the Light be with you.”
Bâki Boğaç, October 2009
Translated by: Semen Emiroğulları
I gladly give this message on, Baki Bogac. When Mr Talat left the Studio to mount his car, he was seen bending down to save a kitten from under his car.
Copyright Heidi Trautmann 2009