Zilberman Gallery presents Alpin Arda Bağcık’s solo exhibition “Red Prescription”.
The so-called ‘red prescription’ was introduced by the Ministry of Health to prevent abuse of addictive medicines. This prescription is issued if a medication is considered to be beneficial in treatment of severe psychiatric symptoms, cancer patients, and treatment of aggravated forms of certain diseases. Certain active ingredients of these medications can be addictive.
The stories that the media shares without any such red prescription are among the top factors creating addiction in our time. Continuous repetition and detailed narration of news from unspecified sources goes hand in hand with a numbing of society’s conscious mind. When bringing to life the thoughts they want to impose through manipulation, the proprietor of power perpetuates events that never happened as existing within an artificial reality. As Hitler’s propaganda minister Goebbels once put it: “The longer you repeat something, the more people will believe it.”
Within the exhibition, the possible consequences of the deterioration of information manifest themselves in narcotic, anaesthetic effects. Here, the exhibition pursues concepts such as reality, representation of reality, and perceptions of constructed reality. Parallel to his previous works, this time Bağcık matches his works’ titles with the names of sleeping pills prescribed against anxiety-induced sleeplessness. The exhibition opens with Bağcık’s self-portrait titled “Sleeping Child”, depicting the artist drifting into sleep over the news he is listening to.
Bağcık applies a new technique in this exhibition in order to create a perception of reality that deteriorates through multiplication. By depicting original news images and copying them onto canvas, the artist references today’s information pollution. The 35 canvases created with this technique depict the moment when Tijen Karaş read the coup announcement on television. This moment—a turning point for Turkey—is repeatedly echoing along the walls of the gallery to the point where it is almost erased from the canvas.
An image of a cormorant covered in petrol created with the same technique represents the “fake news” phenomenon. The image’s original version shows the result of a tanker accident in Alaska, and was later presented as evidence that Saddam Hussein bombed oil fields during the Gulf War, and thus inflicted permanent damage to the environment. Bağcık captures a projection of the original image by holding it on a second canvas, and in a way emphasizes our distorted perception of reality.
Besides these fictional and manipulated images, two separate works represent the perception of the constructed reality. These works stand out as proof of a belief that notions like ”hidden powers ruling the world” in theory holds us captive with ease but if we were to claim the opposite, we also would not be able to prove it. On the other hand, they invite the audience to reflect on the normalization of a phenomenon whose reality needs to be questioned in the first place.
Alpin Arda Bağcık (1988, İzmir) graduated from the Painting Department at Dokuz Eylül University in 2007. He currently works in İzmir. His solo exhibitions and presentations include Ambivalence (Zilberman Gallery, 2015), Volta Basel (Basel, 2016), and New Proposals section at Zona Maco fair, curated by Mirjam Varadinis in New Mexico in 2014. He has participated in various group exhibitions including Young Fresh Different-3 (Zilberman Gallery, 2015), Rotary Art Competition (Proje 4L, Istanbul, 2015), Borders and Orbits (Siemens Sanat, Istanbul, 2013) and Violence(?) (Rethymnon Contemporary Art Museum, Crete, 2013). Some of his works are part of private collections in Middle East, Europe and North and South America.Photos by Kayhan Kaygusuz