We wanted to learn the life story of Bahadır Baruter who is a very cheerful and colourful person and who attracted attention with his latest exhibition “Mukadderat” (Destiny) at Xist. We asked how he transformed from comics to paintings and sculpture.
Yasemin Semercioğlu: You graduated from Mimar Sinan University Fine Arts Faculty Art Department , but we have known you with your comics. How you leaned to this area?
Bahadır Baruter: It took 14 years for me to get art education. I was expelled from the school. I was included in the scope of amnesty, I turned back. It happened a few more times. My being a passionate and excited student perion took only two years. Then, I felt strange from the department. I started to draw comics without drawing pictures. I did not want to draw pictures. I realized that it was not my thing. Anyway, I did not like the university, I encountered bad education, I was disappointed. My natural energy hit the wall. Actually I liked the general atmosphere of the Faculty but I did not like the relationship between the lecturers and students, the ambiance of the workshop. There was no education, lecturers were bad, and you are a kid who wants to do a lot of things. In that period, I started to draw comics as a Professional. I was young, being a caricaturist was a perfect job and opportunity for me. What I draw attracted attention. A few years later, I became an editör and then I published a magazine. I broadcasted and published another magazine. It was very enjoyable. At last, I quit the administrative issues of the magazine “Penguen” and I only drew. Now, I am only interested in plastic arts, I do not draw comics no longer.
Y.S:Your previous exhibitions at Xist “Evim Evim Güzel Evim” (Home Sweet Home) and “Senin Ailen Bir Yalan Yavrum” (Your Family Is A Big Lie My Child) attracted attention, too. You exhibitied digital paintings. How you wanted to create them?
B.B: I have never liked the paint. Using traditional materials have reminded me the university years full of problems. I never used them after my graduation. I did not used them. It was my guilt to be strange from the faculty. So, I was offended those materials. I was angry, it was angry too. Being interested in digital paintings was the result of that I saw that digital paintings can be sold, exhibited and can attract attention as the paintings itself. I learnt how to work on photoshop and I started to create digital paintings. I have been using it fors ix years, actually it was very late.
Y.S. :Is making digital paintings more difficult than drawing on the paper or viceversa? What is the difference between them?
B.B. : Digital painting is much more suitable to my habits. I do work without sruggling wit the materials. I used to do some things with my fingers and by bending my head while I was drawing comics. I was very happy when I realized that I can manage what I want similar to drawing comics. I had a lot of fun.
Y.S: There were different stories in your paintings. The thing ostentatious at your paintings was their being in dark and scary atmospheres. The glances were effective. How you transformed your works from paintings to scultures?
B.B:Paintings, comics, sculptures, they all seem the same to me. But of course they are different. I thing I do what I want. The idea is that, I got rid of drawing extreme figures such as the images laughing, yelling, opening their mouths. Henceforward, I would draw silent, calm and staring at the viewer; serious, spleenful and depressed people. I found myself doing the opposite what I do while drawing comics. Now, I may be bored of the two sides of the paintings. Maybe I wanted to create immersive works. Actually I do not believe that I sculpture. I do what I have missed, I draw paintings; I do what I have missed, I sculpture.
I do not live like my paintings. I am not introverted and depressed like my sculptures. My daily energy is much more bright and fresh. So, I may try to hide my side in my works with a high degree of probability.
Y.S:These sculptures confronted us at Contemporary Istanbul and they have been one of the most effective parts of the fair. What do you think about this situation. Did you expect such an interest?
B.B: No, I have never expected interest. I am frightened when I expect something. It makes pressure on me. It is very nice to be liked, distilled, approved, understood; but when they are much more than the deserved level, it decreases the creative energy. This casts a cloud over the inner voice. For instance, I feel this emotion at this exhibition. I felt the same in terms of paintings and I started to make sculptures. This makes me feel escape from the sculptures.
Y.S:Where will you escape? DO you have ideas? Do you have storms in your brain?
B.B: Of course I have! It has always been in my brain. I have waited to finish the sculpture in my mind, so I would do that. I have thousands of plans on my mindç The moral andmaterial energy of life itself cannot meet what I think. I can create new thing just I finish one. I will do new things after this exhibition.
Y.S. Who are the characters of this exhibition? I feel upset when I view your works at this exhibition. There are exhausted and living deads or corpses. I feel two emotions while I watch. The first one is being in a universe of souls. The second one is being in a mortuary. Spine-chilling! What is the core meaning that you want to give?
B.B. These are the white-collar people working in plazas. These are businesswomen and businessmen… Actually they arerelated to their so different lives with me. Let’s call this as an “invitation” in order to see theirlives through a different perspective; not call “message”… In fact, this is a short story summarizing their solid, liquid and hard lives. They are actually deads.They are far awy from life itself.This is a drama showing their have not been born yet; they have already died, in a critical way. Actually they have introduced themselves as living deadsThis is a serious community taking the place of workers. There usedto be a workers class in the past, who were defined as if the community being able to refor, you remember? These are the opposite of that community; they are everywhere accepting the system, weak but creating new texturs to the life. They are tiny like embriyos, the rates are total opposite. They do not have hummels like workers. These are resigned and begging people.
Y.S. Well, why are they in a transparent liquid place?
B.B. : Becuse that atmosphere may identify their being closed it the world. It may identify their bell jar which prevent their breath and their escape. Maybe it emphasises the positive and concrete life concept plucked in their lives. It is their maze, which makes them confined there.Whe I maket hem in our own atmosphere, they would breathe. All the sculptures are dead; but these are more dead than an ordinary dead. That image was just be identident in this way.
Y.S. You work wiith a team. How is your division of labour? How long does a work take? And is it possible for you to talk about materials?
B.B. This is a kind of silicon, it is not easy to make and use. So, we needed to maket hat material with a crowded team. It takes long hours. The quantity of the material that we throw is much more than that we use for the exhibition. Because we tried a lot of times and we failed. It requires several steps to create a sculpture. At first, I design them at a digital media, then we print them. We take a mould on those printouts. The moulds are covered with plastering, textures are created and after that process we take a mould again and they are painted and put in that liquid places. This is not a processcan be fulfilled with a few people in a few days. A very Professional team worked on that issue for one year. Yes, I imagined, fictionalized but thesesculptures are created by a huge team. Here is the division of labor; there is a moulder dealing with modelling wax, there are other people applying textures, others working on the computer.
Y.S. You were drawing comics, art was not your thing, but now you are in the middle of art all. What do you think about the art in Turkey? Where does it take place in your life?
B.B. I’m not very interested in art personally. I do not follow the exhibitions around, I do not visit the art galleries, I do not read the articles about art. They are not of interest to me. I know the artists and the art in the world but I follow discreetly. I do not come into contact with the art-lovers. I do not have artist friends. I am only interested in my work.There is only one event that I can not stop myself visiting; it is Contemporary Fair. And of course, I like visiting the museums abroad. Apart from these events, I am not interested in current art events. I know generally, I do not look for the details. This make me feel alone together with myself. Maybe this prevent me being affected from others. It is very difficult to keep you controlled when you work on art. By the way, I can see what is happening on Instagram. I am only interested in what I want to do, what I find funny. But I really likecontemporary art. I am not fon of traditional and old things. Contemporary art makes me excited. What it creates is exciting. It is nice to see thatthere are no borders. It resembles cinema, theatre, comics… Maybe the things that I do is a little bit comics, a little bit sculpture, a little bit cinema.
Y.S. You mention cinema, I remember. The art-lovers are so curious that how these sculptures are made! You must have recorded the process, you could have presented those videos at the exhibition area…
B.B.: Yes, we made some videos, and showing them at the exhibition are come into our head. I wish we have done. I want to do this at my next project. Because it made me regretful not to record the whole process on video.
Y.S. With this explanation, we give the art-lovers a piece of good news that at your next project, your whole story will be able to be watched. I want to ask a question to Mine Söğüt at the end of this nice conversation. Mrs. Söğüt, what do you think about your husband’s exhibition? Do you give support him during his creating process? How is witnessing the works’ being created?
Mine Söğüt: I find the works effective. Generally we complain the same things with Bahadır. He makesgloomy, dark works because he has similar problemsin his life while he is creating. That is why I am affected from the works. I do not acompany during his works. He works with his team. I fill in the blanks of his job. According to him, creating is a lonely and painful period. I do not accompany at that period. We share a lot of things before that period and while we are solving problems. I am used to think simultaneously.
Y.S. Thanks for this nice conversation. We are looking forward to seeing what we will see next.