The critical period

The critical period for children comes near the completion of these developmental stages. At this time a child's attractive naiveté disappears. To the extent that he acquires skill in portraying the external world, he loses his artistic force. In these circumstances, it becomes evident that Bedri Baykam, who had completed these developmental stages when he was six or seven, got through his critical period for child prodigies; but he says that "Bedri is up to it". As one can see, this statement of Professor Legueult supports our claim.

Taking all this into consideration, we are forced to judge the plastic qualities of Bedri's painting as we would the work of an adult painter who had passed through all the developmental stages.

Harmony of form and matter

The greater part of the artist's work consist of drawings, characteristic for the lightness of the very stuff of them, the lines which make them up. For this reason all of them achieve the form which their matter requires. The use here and there in his compositions of darker spots does not change the formal character of the work. Therefore the work always retains that light, flowing quality of line. This harmony of form and matter, which ever since Aristotle has been taken by philosophers as an element of beauty, forms the basis of Bedri Baykam's work. It is for this reason his pictures are reminiscent of Paul Klee's, Matisse's, or of the prehistoric cave drawings done in thick lines so much simplicity

Particular features of composition

The paintings done by Bedri after the age of seven are special from the point of view of composition. His pictures, when he is between six and seven years old, are constituted of open space. After that he works toward a closed space. With the transition to closed space begins a very powerful period in which the artist is striving to surpass himself. "In the compositions prior to this period, while we cannot add anything to the picture, we may remove a section or a part, or else divide the composition. But in the work of this new period, removal of the least portion destroys the composition. There is in these works a compact, organic wholeness, an order built of interdependent elements".


This closed space has brought to Bedri's paintings a new system of equilibrium. This feature, appearing at the time he is seven and intensifying with each passing year, has given his paintings this particularity: Large open areas are left on the paper, or else areas of dark, securing a deep harmony in which the eye can rest. When the lines thicken, or when there are more spots, the blank spaces shrink; and conversely, when the spots lighten, the amount of blank space increases.
It is through this handling of spots in an inverse proportion that the forceful equilibrium is achieved in Bedri's work. The problem is connected with the law of contrasts. With greater numbers of spots, or with thicker lines, the as a field can balance be achieved. Conversely, when the lines are thin, or the spots more dilute, the whiteness is thereby unaccentuated and the surface must be quite large. In either type of execution, there is a great difference in the proportion of black and white in the picture. Together with this, an asymmetric type of composition is carrying Bedri toward a form newer than those of the latest trends. It is impossible not to agree with the correspondent of the New York World Telegram and the Sun when he calls Bedri "the forerunner of 21st century art".

Baykam as an expressionist

Insofar as Bedri's paintings take place within the framework of a subject, of an event, he is an expressionist. This affects not only the unfolding of his compositions, it also assures that the line will be expressive in itself, so much so that it often achieves a dramatic quality. This expressionism, however, has not led him to paint in detail. With him there is neither one line too many nor too few. He attains to the richest expression through this most economical system of line and spot. "The realities hidden behind the external are, in his portraits, brought forth with an intuitive talent. With Bedri, a few lines are enough to show the model's psychological state".

Diverse elements come together, in his compositions, to make up a consistent whole. In my opinion, Bedri has been able to reach this point, which brings to his works their style, as the result of a particular interpretation given by him to certain instinctive preoccupations of the painter.

One day, Bedri gave the following answer to a question of mine: "What occupies my thoughts the most is the problem of how to bring trees, houses, people and mountains into harmony." The "extraordinary rhythm" in his works is without question the result of this preoccupation. In his rhythms, which take shape through cyclic repetitions of motion, arabesques and motifs having the same feel, one senses a quality at whose base lie the ancient Turkish calligraphy, miniatures and decorative arts. Generally Bedri Baykam brings into play undulant rhythms produced through slant wise motion. He also uses the up-and-down rhythms of the carpets or the traditional folk dances. We can see this even in the paintings inspired by his short trips to Europe. As Raymond Legueult says, "all of Bedri's works reflect the atmosphere of the land in which he lives".

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