Vancouver International Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

The Science and Philosophy of Mutation


Opening: Saturday, Sept 6th, 8pm
(in conjunction with SWARM)
“Art is a lie that tells the truth” — Picasso

Seated before a single listener in a photographer’s studio, the artist recounts the quasi-fictional story of his life. Then the listener takes the storyteller’s chair, repeating and embellishing the narrative for new audience. By the time the story has passed through several tellings, it is transformed almost beyond recognition.

In his previous work, “ContraDickshun”, Babak Golkar juxtaposed toy soldiers in a provocation of questions about the culture of war. This inquiry into the structure of ideology has led him into more personal terrain, to examine the psychology of personal relationships. Both works stem from an interest in looking at the invisible spaces between things — buildings, trees, people, objects – but also between words.

“The Science and Philosophy of Mutation” appears at first to be a kind of identity narrative, then a demonstration of the way that our identities are myths that we construct for ourselves, a process that is always performed in dialogue with others. The mutation of the story is caused on one hand by the failure of the brain to assimilate information, to remember accurately, or to translate. This is a neuro-biological or “scientific” failing. On the other hand, the story teller inevitably introduces subjective, emotional, moral or “philosophical” distortions. Language is revealed to be rather poorly engineered, full of contradictions, interruptions, gaps, inaccuracies and falsehoods. We pretend to enjoy seamless perfect communications (especially in the media) but on close examination, the frailty of this system becomes all too apparent.

As gallery viewers we witness this spectacle at a double remove, watching a video of a photographic performance, and introducing our own guesswork to the interpretation of the world and our place in it.

In this exhibition, Babak Golkar’s subversive disruption of codes works ironically to reaffirm, in a playful and humorous way, the creative potential of human interaction.

— Hank Bull

Babak Golkar is the winner of the 2003 Helen Pitt Award, given to the top Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate from Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design. Since then he has mounted a solo exhibition entitled “Throne” at Xeno Gallery, Vancouver, and has been accepted into the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of British Columbia.

Gallery Hours: Wednesday – Saturday 11am – 6pm; Sunday Noon – 5pm.

Centre A gratefully acknowledges the support of the City of Vancouver, the British Columbia Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts in making this exhibition possible.