Huseyin Arıcı who had a show in CerModern Ankara, has his first solo show in Xist Gallery Istanbul. His hyperrealist oil paintings actually look like a piece of wood but are painted as wood. The other characteristic of his art is, leeches and worms. He buys leeches in order to observe them. How their mouthes move, what they look like, smell like or even feel like. And using ceramic clay, he makes hundreds of his own.

The show can be viewed until the 9th of March @xist gallery. 

Oil on canvas

What is your deal with these invertebrates?

Leeches actually have many medical qualities as they suck blood in order to cure from sickness and are still used today for medical purposes. They suck the blood that has been coagulated and they will never harm the clean blood.

And you placed these leeches on oil paintings?

Yes. They are sucking blood from art.

Are you saying, the contemporary art scene needs some cleaning or a reform?

Yes maybe.

What sort of reform do you think contemporary art needs to go through?

People should produce less by focusing on the standards of the world and focus more on their inner world. Without much expectation. I have also gone and still go through rough times in my life, economically. But if art is a weapon it should be used wisely and correctly.

Yes but that’s quite a universal problem. We hardly communicate with ourselves anymore, we’ve become emotionless like leeches and worms.

Yes we have for sure. But I don’t believe any animal or creature is emotion-free. I believe human beings wish to believe that nature and animals and emotionless but I think they have their own system it’s just that we cannot communicate with them. This might also be a way for humans to rationalize their behavior and dominance over nature, as we are the only living organisms that live excluding the eco system.

 I get the feeling of death and decay when I look at your works.

Yes its very normal that you think of death. If my wood paintings were real wood, they could also have been defined as dead and therefore could relate to death too. Humans have been destroying nature for centuries and nothing other than humans have given so much damage to nature.


What was your motive to recreate wood?

My family has always been dealing with wood as they were in forestry. Therefore I have been familiar with wood and logging. I was living in a very green area, very pure, in the middle of nature even though it was an apartment. But then for college I had to move to the center of Ankara. And that is when I myself felt like piece of unrefined wood. Because the wood belongs to the tree and the tree belongs in the forest. And once its a taken from its natural surrounding brought to the city, and used as an industrial item, the piece of wood loses its whole identity as it is transformed into a table, chair, cupboard or any other object of use. And so, I belonged to my nature in my home surrounded with trees and ended up in Ankara, away from my own surrounding and I related to the pieces of wood that also lost their identity. One thing lead to the other, I researched and thought a lot about this series, which was my first, and ended up making my own “wood” looking artworks. It deceives people, and that is what I like about it.

What’s the purpose of creating a look alike? What are you really saying here?

I figured there are some, not all, that use ready made in their art a little bit beyond the actual purpose. I realized this in some of the exhibitions I had been to. Ready made, shouldn’t be taken as granted and people shouldn’t be deceived in the way they are. So, my purpose of deceiving in a way ironically targets the actual deceivers.