The bird who resisted the darkness Mixed media on canvas 100 x 150
Photo: Dani Kormazean
The bird who resisted the darkness
Once upon a time a rooster sat atop a church steeple, as church roosters usually do. From the steeple, the rooster had seen a lot. Some were times of light, some times of darkness. And darkness was present all over the world. A darkness that enveloped peoples’ hearts.
One day the rooster wondered: Where does this darkness come from? It took courage because it knew that the darkness did not like that one asked questions. But the rooster continued, days in and days out, to ponder that question. This question led to more. Finally, it asked: Why do we have to endure this darkness? In that instance, a thread of hope was lighted in the rooster. A hope that grew and grew.
And so, one night, the church bells began ringing. The inhabitants in the area stared in amazement outside their windows and there – at the top of the church steeple – they saw the rooster’s colours blaze so brilliantly that the darkness gave way. Never had one seen anything like it.
Persistently, the rooster remained throughout the night, and blazed so wondrously beautifully. And the people accepted the light that this brave bird presented to the world. Hope spread among them and they entered the streets and they said that darkness was no longer welcome.
And so, it was defeated. The darkness. Everything had begun with one question. And the one who had asked it was the bird who had taken courage to. The bird who yearned for the light everyone had forgotten. For it knew its history. It remembered that beyond darkness lied the light. And now that it spread all over the world everyone spoke about the bird who had resisted the darkness.
Emancipation Mixed media on canvas 100 x 150
Photo: Dani Kormazean
This painting is no painting. I would like to attest that but it is pointless. It exists in a context that forces it to become a painting. It is doomed to be just that. It cannot tread outside itself and become something else. It is imprisoned. Impacted and contained in an imposing circumstance. What springs to mind it Goethe’s words: the master will first reveal himself in his limitations.
I have made this three-dimensional painting in an attempt to drive it out of its supposedly inevitable two-dimensionality where everything is flat. The material flatness is included in the traditional definition of art and from this flatness one creates the illusion of depth. Illusion, in other words, is visual art’s challenge and possibility. As is known, illusion is not limited as a phenomenon of the two-dimensional, but rather exists in all conceivable dimensions. For where there is thought there is also illusion. It could perhaps be that it is not only illusion that interests me in this painting but rather imagination’s intractable power. To constantly push its boundaries. To bravely defy the impossible. To flout and doubt what is given. The given in a double sense. That which is given as decided, the so-called norm – that which is simultaneously guiding and suffocating. But also, that which is given has its foundation in one’s own conscious and unconscious decisions – voluntary as well as involuntary.
In this art-piece there is an ache. It exists because layer upon layer is slowly breaking, cracking, crackling. One can surely hear it, and soon pieces will fall onto the floor. It happens in one’s imagination. At least in mine. Maybe also in the viewer’s, if said person now wants to enter into the painting the same way that I choose to do. A work of art has many entryways, both small and big, visible and invisible, allowed and not allowed. I speak about ache because all types of emancipation – both the physical and psychical – are to different degrees painful.
That explains why one can see the attritions on the surface; the slow corrosion that arises when the spheres eagerly and insistently try to free themselves from the dominant flatness; a flatness that in turn as eagerly and insistently tries to hold on to that which cannot be held onto. The sphere that refuses to disappear into the flat surface’s devastating anonymity.
Yes, that is how I want to see this painting, or I should maybe say sculpture. A sculpture that wants to free itself from its obtruded shapes. To consent to what wasn’t allowed to be consented: To be able to fall asunder.
The Deviation. Mixed media on canvas 100x150
Photo: Dani Kormazean
On this painting, we can see an uneven accumulation of something pudgy against an even surface. Is there something that deviates in it? If there, on this painting, had been a black dot one could conclude that the black would deviate. But here, there is only white paint. And therefore, the white should not deviate as it dominates the canvas. So, what does deviate? What is it, to evoke Aristoteles, in this material or form that is damaged? The even? The pudgy? One could be of the mind that there is something in this that deviates from the norm, that is the aesthetically pleasing.
Concerning the even surface, it is more related to the norm than the pudginess, as the evenness could likely be associated with antique marble sculptures. The even surface becomes the status quo. But does it have to be thus, when in this age – in a nice postmodern atmosphere – everything is possible. Someone could even claim that we should turn the reasoning on its head; that the pudgy aspects of this painting are the aesthetically pleasing. The pudginess becomes the normative standard. And certainly, there will be those who will rightfully claim that there is nothing that deviates since that which is even and that which is pudgy in symbiosis constitute the painting. Or, it could be a matter of a paradox: that the painting’s purpose is to deviate and thus, its deviation ceases. Maybe such is the case. Maybe not.
In this current painting, one could ask: who would want a strange, pudgy bulge on a painting that does not seem to represent anything meaningful? Or is the question erroneously phrased? Yes, why could one not experience the supposedly terrible bulge as aesthetically pleasing? No matter the answer, one must ask oneself if the deviation’s grandest contribution is to just deviate. It is there to define the norm – the aesthetically meritorious. Or rather; the deviation is there to problematize the aesthetic.
We live in an age where art increasingly seems to lack norms. The notion that the universally aesthetic norms have become suspicious. In other words: everything is allowed. And obviously, one can ask oneself if this approach rule out claims such as: This is not art.
If this is not art, then the immediate question is: Who decides, ultimately, what art is? The individual artists, each one of whom care for their own interests? Or the art academics – they who teach what art is? They too are mindful of their interests. Or maybe the institutions – the ones who attain “real” art? And they too are particularly mindful of their interests.
Whoever they might be, they who claim to ultimately determine what real art is will very likely delude themselves. Just look back into art history; the deviation did in time not seldom become the norm.
Syria. Mixed media on canvas 120x100
Photo: Dani Kormazean
How can one begin to understand the war in Syria? Wherein lies its absolute necessity? And tell me, what will ever outweigh all the suffering that the war has caused?
I cannot give an answer to these questions. Nonetheless, I don’t want to understand what is impossible to understand. That is what is recurrent throughout our history: The war with ragged bodies and infinite pain.
The ambition is to make understandable that there is evil in art. Examples are Pablo Picasso’s Guernica, Fredrik Reuterswärds Non Violence and Martha Roslers PHOTO OP.
This abstract painting is my attempt to portray the anger and sadness that I feel concerning the butchering in Syria. A butchering that always happens in the service of the supposedly good. In other words: One ought to always be suspicious – on one’s guard – against those that claim that they represent “the good”.
Photo: Eva Lindblad
Sweden for the Swedes. Mixed media on canvas 100x150
SWEDEN FOR THE SWEDES
The Swedish banner is beautiful. The yellow cross over the blue field. In that banner, a lot can be interpreted. For me, it is a symbol for openness. And we need to care for this openness.
It is indeed horrible when nationalists, in their eagerness to show that they’re certainly the best at being Swedish, violate others, in a way that tarnishes Sweden’s banner – the cross withers and becomes worm food by the very worms we call narrowmindedness.
It is precisely this narrowmindedness, that has its roots in ignorance and fear, that I have tried to capture in this painting. In this, we see a banner that no one is proud of, except the nationalists that are blinded by their rancour against everything that is foreign and that cannot see that this very banner has been transformed into something ugly and sick.