Growing up, Baker was amazed by what he saw in films, fascinated by the ability to pursue the viewer in believing a story line, from Superman to Star Wars and even romantic films.
Later in life, this fascination turned into a philosophical pursuit, a journey of discovery and research to find what really makes the viewer accept the premise of a film.
Suspension of disbelief is an essential ingredient for any kind of storytelling. With any film, the viewer has to ignore the reality that they are viewing a staged performance and temporarily accept it as their reality in order to be entertained. Black and white films provide an obvious early example that audiences are willing to suspend disbelief, no matter how implausible the images appear, for the sake of entertainment. With the exception of totally color-blind people (achromats), no person viewing these films sees the real world without color, but some are still willing to suspend disbelief and accept the images in order to be entertained. Suspension of disbelief is also supposed to be essential for the enjoyment of many films and television shows involving complex stunts, special effects, and seemingly unrealistic plots and characterizations.
As an audience, the psychological effort required to enter this state of arrested disbelief seems innate and effortless. As an art, Baker wanted to experiment with the aesthetics of painting surreal and sometimes grotesque characters to see if the viewer would be willing to suspend disbelief and convince himself that he/she is looking at actual audience members watching a specific movie and reacting to it.
Through his exhibition ‘Suspension of Disbelief’, Ghazi Baker divides his work into two symbiotic elements, the transmitter and the receiver, the movie and the viewer and in the case of his paintings, the painted audience becomes the transmitter to the viewer of the painting, attempting to introduce the viewer as a new entity willing to possibly suspend their disbelief while looking at the paintings.
Ghazi Baker (1967) is a self-taught artist, a practicing architect and a manager of his own firm, CC&A. Since his early teens, he has been learning and intellectualizing in a constant state of communion and renewal with the world around him. Born in Beirut in a multicultural family, with Iranian and Armenian heritage, Baker was raised during the Civil War years. In his youth, he spent some time in Europe where he cultivated a love for art, travel and adventure. An avid photographer and passionate bike rider, his trips, rides and photographs have always been a source of inspiration and self-awareness.
Currently working and living in Beirut, Baker’s style could be characterized as an exotic cocktail of lines, post-structuralism art, cerebral and deliberately anti-thematic. Always looking to highlight the process itself, his artistic influences include comic book art, music, movies, motorcycle culture, esoteric imagery, everyday life and the human condition. His work is inspired by thinkers as diverse as J. Derrida, M. Foucault and M. Merleau-Ponty, as well as other artists including Francis Bacon and David Salle.
Baker’s work is highly sought after by many major collectors in the middle-east, Europe and elsewhere. His work is present in institutional and foundation collections in Beirut, Dubai, Paris, New York and other locations. He only recently had works at private auctions and easily exceeded set reserves for his work.