Turkish artist ‘takes the apple’ in attacking female stereotypes
Nazlan Ertan – İZMİRThree women with the same facial expression of discomfort look straight at you from the huge canvas in Fatih Kızılcan’s new exhibition in İzmir, symbolizing the artist’s favorite theme: The female’s bondage by tradition, religion and society at large.
Kızılcan, an Ankara-based artist and sculptor, likes to play with the roles cast on women. The walls of Galeri A in downtown İzmir show women in dark colors, most of them holding an apple, the forbidden fruit that symbolizes the original sin. In some of them, the female figure holds the apple as a gun; in others, she is pictured as a traditional pin-up, with only the sneer around the mouth showing that she is anything other than submissive.
“All monotheist religions have regarded women in an unfavorable light,” Kızılcan told the Hürriyet Daily News.
“Eve, created from Adam’s rib and therefore inferior to Adam, ate the apple and got both of them exiled from Heaven. Eve’s daughters are therefore cast in a role of guilt and submission. I try to look at all this ironically, questioning and mocking the role cast on women by society, tradition and religion,” he added.
Born to a conservative religious family, Kızılcan broke away from faith during his years working as a doctor.
“Religions talk to us about heaven and hell. In my opinion, hell is nothing other than the world we live in, where we eat other living things, torture and kill each other,” he said, pointed out his painting of Pan, looking defiantly from a rectangular canvas, his goat feet hiding the second pair of human ankles in the background.
“Everything I draw is criticism and an attack. I draw naked figures to mock those who think that covering your body is an obligation,” he added.
Kızılcan, born in 1961 in Köyceğiz, describes himself as “a born artist” who become a doctor in order to meet social expectations. A pediatric surgeon, he left his academic career to concentrate on art. Since his first solo exhibition in 1998, he has launched various solo exhibitions and participated in various art fairs, including Contemporary Istanbul.
He mostly works by erasing or rubbing off dry paints from a MDF surface, to give his work the impression of several surfaces hiding behind the same painting.
Kızılcan’s exhibition can be viewed in İzmir’s Galeri A until April 23.