'Coke for the World'. Image Courtesy of Gloria Delson Contemporary Arts & the artist.

‘Visual Adventures’ by Bedri Baykam @ Glora Delson Contemporary Arts

January 15, 2020

Mr. Bedri Baykam at Gloria Delson Contemporary Arts titillates with a collection of playful mixed media representing the inner consciousness of an enduring artistic spirit and its Oriental congealment within contemporary Western Culture. Most eruptive within contemporary culture in the West is the domineering of mass media, and its couplet the mass consumer. With the dominant cultural trends being commandeered by those which are the most and the loudest, there is a peculiar clash with ancient tradition which Mr. Baykam intimately develops.


And while there is typically a violent or anxious reaction to the sometimes toxic effects of a society being herded into cheap disposable values for human living as an effect of mass marketed commodities, Mr. Baykam appreciates its imagination. Coke for the World is a quintessential example. Contrasting with art hell bent on a political economy critique, Mr. Baykam juxtaposes this Warholian emblem with its global footprint, without a hint of irony. He takes the product and moves it passed the markets and into the cultural arena with portrayals of Starry Night and the Giza pyramids; maybe not so much to venerate a soft drink, but to annotate a paradigmatic shift on what culture is contrasted within world-historical tradition.


In general, Mr. Baykam has an element of mirth with his lenticular playfulness with light in the compositions. This light-heartedness appears positively amusing, which is a relief from the causticity that is easily anticipated with such a confrontation of Near East meets West. These are indeed “visual adventures” which must be experienced fully in the present to appreciate the sculpting of our immediate space, drawing out novel portraitures upon each incremental inspection.


While the symbols used are plain, it is their harmony which exemplifies sweetness and light, even with such a somber – yet artistically rare – meditation on time. To this end, the artist is accomplishing the proper feat in culture, which, in the words of Coke, is to enjoy.



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