Art historian, a freelance art critic and curator
With his project The Lost Artefacts Azad Karim, Kurdish artist, draws our attention to the culturecide which followed the genocide at the time of the American warfare in Iraq.
»Uprisings, occupations, revolutions, riots and extreme ideologies always claim their victims, « maintains Azad Karim, adding that apart from civilian victims, there are also artworks, witnesses of the past times and a heritage belonging to the whole humanity, which are affected. He deplores the loss of all the artworks which have been victims of contemporary wars, from the destruction of the statues of Buda in Afghanistan to the looting of the museums of Cairo and Baghdad. »I wish to reconstruct the destruction and loss of the artefacts of ancient civilisations in my own way. I feel I must outplay the pain of the moment when my own work crashes into tiny pieces. I echo with the bang of my work crashing onto the hard, dusty ground...Sacrifice. Shock. Death. And then, down on my knees I carefully pick up all the pieces, up to the very last one. Piece by piece. On them are fractions of memories of Mesopotamian civilization, which I somehow reinterpreted. « This is how Azad Karim explains his video performance of the moment when his ceramic relief panels crash, bearing in mind how all the original masterpieces of the ancient Mesopotamian culture were destroyed in the war in Iraq.
Iraqi and Kurdish towns and dwellings were being bombed for days, months and years.Civilians had to die for the interests of oil magnates. After the American occupation of Iraq in 2003 and the fall of the Hussein regime, pillage took place at the renowned Baghdad's Iraq Museum and also at numerous historical and archaeological sites across the country. Meanwhile, the world just stared at their TV screens, speechless. What happened besides murder was also the termination of a civilisation, culture, memory. First, the military destroyed cities, then looting took place at Baghdad's Museum which treasured precious finds of the lands between the Euphrates and Tigris, considered as the cradle of civilisation and the beginnings of science, literacy, literature and fine arts. The whereabouts of most precious artefacts of Baghdad's Museum still remain unknown to this day. However, with the help of an international campaign, more than 3400 items have been returned to the museum, whereas more than 10,000 are still missing. Some of them were found in private collections or in auction house depositories. »My art campaign could just represent a tiny contribution to raising the people's awareness that the same kind of destruction which happened in Baghdad could happen anywhere,« says hopingly Azad Karim, who was deeply affected by the injustice and tragedy done to the people living in Iraq.Namely, Azad Karim was born in the city of Arbyl in the Iraqi part of Kurdistan. In 1976 he completed his studies at Baghdad's Institute of Fine Arts and moved to Yugoslavia the same year. He continued his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana, graduating in1980 under Professor Kiar Meško. Three years after that he completed his post-graduate studies under Zvest Apollonio. He also went on study visits to London and Paris. He settled in Slovenia, making his home in Ajdovščina after marrying Silva Kobal, an artist, Master of Sciences and art teacher.
The exhibition The Lost Artefacts, displayed simultaneously in two versions at Montfort in Portorož and Mihelič Gallery in Ptuj, talks about the lost heritage. Karim reacted emotionally and firmly to the events happening in his home land. His bitterness seems to have been enhanced even more as he was not allowed to go back home and visit his parents the whole time during the Hussein regime. After that he made the decision to go back to Iraq and see what remained of his family house, city and country. On his return to Slovenia, he buried himself in work, creating sequences for the Portorož and Ptuj exhibitions, but also works for the exhibition at the Mesopotamian collection of Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden, to which he was invited. Confronting his narrative with ancient artefacts, he created a multi-media project The Lost Heritage, which consists of human-sized sculptures, interpretations of ancient Assyrian obelisks of 8th century B.C. He formed clay panels with bas-reliefs and smashed them the way vandals used to destroy ancient cultures. Besides this, he created paintings in dark earthly hues in which the blue, so typical of Karim's earlier period, gave way to earth and dust. In this way Azad Karim's work, as he says, echoes with thousands of years old history, thus contributing to the ancient, multi-layered art messages. However, by setting them anew into the present time, he exposes them for the »madding world« to see and reflect upon.
Who: Azad Karim: The Lost Artefacts
Where: Two versions of the same exhibitions at two venues simultaneously
When: - in Ptuj till 26th May 2013
Art historian and art critic
A look into Azad Karim’s more than thirty-year-long creative work presents us with an interesting and logical evolution of a sensitive artist. The noble antique civilisations between the Euphrates and the Tigris and the current political situation in this part of the world, as well as the author’s vision and experience of his everyday life, lived in Slovenia, are the impulses which define Azad Karim’s artistic expression. Kurd by origin, his painting matrix in the specific colour range, his poetics of symbols, intertwining experiences of European modernism with Eastern mysticism are the features that make Azad Karim’s artistic expression distinct and recognisable, distinguished by the painter’s original iconographic system of meanings, within which the viewer is especially attracted to the exciting and mysterious script characters and inscriptions as carriers of his intimate, sometimes also discretely nostalgic memory and message.
Due to political events in Europe and in the world, we have become more familiar with the Kurdish issue in the past few decades, but unfortunately Kurdish art, especially the contemporary art, has remained quite unknown. Ten years ago Karim got involved in the organisation of the first complete presentation of artistic achievements of the Kurdish artists who have emigrated and are now living in different European countries. The exhibition was prepared in collaboration with the National Museum of Krakow. In history of art there have been many cases of politically induced and forced emigration of artists. Likewise, for the same reasons, Azad Karim decided to leave Iraq to study in Europe. He moved to Ljubljana, where he was accepted to the Academy of Fine Arts, after which he did not return to his native country for as many as16 years, due to the war situation since the end of the seventies and the Hussein regime. Ljubljana, and later Ajdovščina, where he has been living since 1984, has become his new home, but his native Kurdistan and the region of the ancient Mesopotamia have remained his essential mental, emotional and creative attachment. However, especially in the past decade he has often returned to Kurdistan. He has also been to study visits to different European capitals, where he visited museums with collections of ancient civilisations. Moreover, he has been studying even more in depth Sumerian, Acadian, Babylonian, Assyrian and other Mesopotamian civilisations.
Therefore, last year’s invitation of the Dutch museum Rijksmuseum van Oudheden (The National Museum of Antiquities) of Leiden with a rich Mesopotamian collection, presented a particular challenge to him. He was asked to prepare a collection of his works in the way in which he was to confront his own current artistic interpretation with the exhibited objects and artefacts and simultaneously establish a dialogue with these. The painter created a conceptually accomplished multi-media project entitled “Lost Heritage”, which we are presenting here, upgraded with his latest works and his own exhibition arrangement. Our exhibition, entitled Lost Artefacts, is a reflection of Azad Karim’s on-going involvement in the global political situation, and of his critical attitude to the recent history of Kurdistan, to the war period, and especially to its disastrous consequences, not only on the people, but also on the several-thousand-year-old preserved heritage. And this heritage is spared neither by the new-age economic, political and religious interests, nor by various ideologies and political systems. Azad Karim was particularly affected by the destruction of two Buddha statues of Bamiyan in Afghanistan, listed as the Unesco Cultural Heritage Site, the looting of the Bardo National Museum in Tunis, and the looting of the Egyptian Museum of Cairo during the Arab Spring uprising. The author’s sensitivity, his mental and emotional involvement and disappointment at the unprecedented vandalism – thefts, looting, destruction that occurred also in his native Iraq, even after the year 2003 and after the end of the war and the fall of the Hussein regime, at the time of the American occupation, during which the most notorious case known to the public, namely the looting of the National Museum of Iraq in Baghdad – acquired a new image in a new, modern artistic interpretation, in a new, personally autonomous story and message. By using various genres and media (paintings in mixed media on canvas, sculptures, digital prints, wind chimes, video), and by the carefully premeditated arrangement of the specific exhibition venue, each work of art and project as a whole becomes a new-age monument of a concrete identity and entity and a powerfully artistic memorial to the highly developed modern civilisation. What stands out, are the author’s ethical attitude, his most intimate views and understanding of the past and the present, as well as his never fully-formulated questions on the man’s role within the original civilisation in the eternal universe.
Azad Karim’s project Lost Artefacts provide the visitors with multi-layered dimensions of understanding and receiving. We stroll among sculptures, which are the author’s interpreted “replicas” of the specific Assyrian obelisks of the 8th century B.C. with possible associations with human figures. We also pass the paintings created in the distinct manner of Karim’s, which remind of walls and facades of abandoned houses, damaged and pierced in war conflicts, scribbled with graffiti and ancient cuneiform signs. We also follow Karim’s blown-up photographs with which he documented his travels round his homeland, which provide associations in us with the atrocities that have happened in the past twenty years close to us, on the Balkans, and are valid for all times, and all the places in the world. The visitor stops and watches a video, about which Karim wrote: “I wish to reconstruct the destruction/loss of the artefacts of ancient civilisations in my own, personal way. I feel the urge to role-play the pain of the moment when my own body crashes into tiny bits and pieces. I echo with a bang, which happens when my own body falls onto the hard dusty ground... Sacrifice. Shock. Death. And then I kneel and carefully gather piece after piece, up to the very last one. On them are fractions of signs, fractions of memories of Mesopotamian civilisations, which I have reinterpreted in my own way. No! I am not going to dispose of these pieces, but I will exhibit them. Along with the video that I recorded when my ceramic reliefs were falling into dust; and alongside the original Mesopotamian artefacts, those which are stored (and preserved) in some museums; or beside potographs.”
With their message, the exhibition Lost Artefacts goes beyond this time and space, and opens to the visitor views of a mentally and spiritually involved challenge.
Art historian and art critic
All The World Shared One Language...
Academically trained painter Azad Karim, a native of Kurdistan, a region in the North of Iraq, has been largely contributing to the Slovenian and wider European cultural life for several decades. Having completed his studies at the Institute of Fine Arts in Baghdad, he was awarded a prize as one of the best students there, which enabled him to study abroad. As a result, he completed post-graduate studies of graphic art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana. In spite of the fact that he established his physical home in The Vipava Valley over three decades ago, his native land remains firmly rooted within him and his creative opus. There is no doubt that his regular travels to his native land and across the countries of the Near East add a specific touch to his creative works, filling them with a special richness, reflecting his deep respect for the cultural achievements of past times, especially of Mesopotamian history. His enthusiasm for history intertwines with the current political reality that his native land finds itself in. Following the socio-political situation in Iraq generated emotional and mental reactions in the sensitive artist in the first place, resulting in his creative activity. As an artist he feels responsible and entitled to speak about the situation in his own way. Karim's particular style consists of intertwining artistic elements of ancient Near Eastern civilisations, Sumerian, Assyrian, Akkadian, Babylonian cultural traditions and the ones of other civilisations of Mesopotamia with elements of current Western-European art trends. All this intertwinement adds a particular impression to his artistic expression, and undoubtedly establishes his own distinct artistic language.
The essential motive of Karim's works entitled Abandoned Houses, which he has been creating over the past years, is a quotation from the First Book of Moses. This quotation namely speaks about the Tower of Babel, saying: »So Jehovah scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off building the city. « The story of the Tower of Babel talks about a magnificent building whose top reached unto God in heaven. However, due to God's sudden intervention the people, who had been working hard, building and building, were no longer able to understand each other, and in this way destroyed this magnificent achievement of their own spirit.
In his works Azad Karim tends to modify the rhythm of landscape and figure. Now it is the former that prevails, now the latter, but they rarely play an equal role on the same painting surface. Figure images look like shapes from the past, but they are designed in a perfectly contemporary way, closer to the abstract than concrete and distinctly real. Karim's figure images are the main media of his personal, lyrical expressions, which are on numerous occasions fraught with tragic connotations. Each one of them narrates its story, the story of the people scattered across the world who keep carrying their homeland within themselves while living immersed in other cultures. The same way as the author does. Walls are presented, which have for centuries carried various messages with social, but also politically involved contents. They are witnesses of tragic events, including war, which have cut sharply into the human history.
A landscape image is typical of Karim. It is intersected with numerous script characters, signs and symbols without which his landscape would not be able to come to its full life. A stylized image of the Tower of Babel appears in this landscape almost as a rule. It is covered with symbolic sign elements like a dark premonition of its emerging end, expressed in the paintings by many shades of grey and velvety black.
Comparing to Karim's previous works, the colour range the painter uses in these paintings seems to be much less intense, more reserved and sober, but some particular hues still seduce and attract with bright yellowish, brown and blue shades, passing from clear, translucent tones to strongly dense velvety blacks. Colours are still vivid and intense; there is still a lot of blue, which Slovenian artists have simply defined as Azad's blue. The author is namely convinced that he has been carrying this colour within him his whole life, as this is supposed to be the colour of his native land. Specifically symbolic colour range, which generates an associative connotation of Eastern cultures in spectators, thus remains Azad Karim's original means of expression and his main media. However, colour does not only help him create illusions of places, landscapes and figures, but remains essential in creating a mysterious atmosphere that keeps imbibing his work and establishes tension and dynamics together with mystic elements and numerous signs intersecting the painting surface. Most viewers find these writings and individual characters in one of the oldest scripts illegible and beyond comprehension. But lack of understanding has its advantages, as it feels like an unsolved riddle which is appealing to our mind, producing a faster and stronger reaction than clear, distinct words that we consider too common. It is a fact that human mind is more attracted to what it does not grasp than to an already understood fact. In this way Azad's writings immediately become the subject of our interests, our research, and of our hypothesis, raising numerous interpretations.
Anamarija Stibilj Šajn
Art historian and art critic
Many past civilisations remain alive for their cultural richness, although they already experienced their political downfall. Even today, we still admire them and appreciate their grandeur. To Azad Karim, born into the land between Euphrates and Tigris, Mesopotamia is still »the birthplace« in which he discovers, nurtures, and, briefly speaking, cradles his artistic expression. Not only is the author a visual companion or admirer of this world and its »physical« component, but an artist who continuously brings the »genius loci« of his native environment alive as a memory and a reflection. He finds inspiration for his work in the magic power of ancient traditions which speak to him. He is immersed in their enigmas; he travels millenniums back in time among ancient forms, and picturesque legends to find his message and discover the truth.In this way he creates his own, deeply personal and established authorial poetics. His particular material heritage, as well as his outstanding spiritual and cultural potential become an endless source of his inspiration and constitute his intimistic iconography of symbols, signs, ornamental fragments, radically stylised figural elements and Arabic lettrisms. Since the period of Renaissance, generations of painters, writers and other kinds of artists have been setting off on pilgrimages and creative wanders, which would last years or even decades. But in contrast, time and again, to establish some interaction with the painting surface, Azad Karim goes on a pilgrimage in his mind and memory to his own country.His painting surfaces become »walls« on which he records his stories.Walls which were overwhelmingly important already in the times of Leonardo da Vinci and Piero di Cosimo due to their visual suggestivity remain inevitable also for Azad Karim, if not even a more suggestive artistic inspiration. His structures and lettrisms reproduce his memory of the records on ancient tablets and walls which excite and attract his creativity. To him, their literal message is but of secondary importance. He is mostly enthusiastic about their artistic form, their primal and direct nature. Structures and thick textures involve rich visual richness, which go from the tangible and haptic accents to the spheres of ongoing transformations. Namely, on the vibrant epidermis of the painting, colour values are caught into the rhythm of change, which also affects the forms. Furthermore, the mystic and enigmatic nature of the action on the painting is gradually accentuated also by the very »skin« of the painting.The light that falls on the painting has a defining role on the grainy, slightly relief-like surface marked by striped structures. Layers of plasticity throw a barely perceivable shadow and in this way complete the painter's vision. In the painter's latest creative period a shadow is given a concrete role, adopted by the author according to Assyrian tradition. The author depicts it also by way of repeating individual forms.
Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leiden; NL
International Exhibitions and Fundraising
Human suffering in times of war often makes us forget that cultural heritage suffers during violent conflicts. Only when peace has returned, it becomes clear what has been destroyed – on purpose or accidental -, what has disappeared and what is left.
The artist Azad Karim (1954, Arbil, Kurdistan, Iraq) is extremely aware of the vulnerability of cultural heritage through his Kurdish background. Although he has worked and lived in Slovnia since the 1970s, what happens in the Near East still shakes him to the core. The tragic destruction of cultural heritage in the area between Euphrates and Tigris are constantly on his mind.
In the exhibition Lost Heritage Azad Karim pays homage to lost heritage, and especially the lost heritage of the Middle East. The Buddha’s of Bamiyan and the plundering of the museum in Bagdad are dramatic examples. To cope with his feelings concerning this destruction, he recreates this lost heritage symbolically, only to destroy it again. The bang with which the artwork is obliterated, reverberates deep into the soul. The shards, covered in symbols and memories of the civilisations of the Near East, are collected by Azad Karim and made into mobiles.
The work of Azad Karim represents an offering of his own artworks, to raise awareness for the loss and destruction of material heritage all over the world, for ever lost to humanity.
Art Historian and critic
Where do we come from and where are we going?
Azad Karim has been present on the Slovenian cultural scene as a painter and graphic artist for nearly thirty years. Many writers have mentioned a thesis, which still holds about him, that in his art he combines his eastern and western experience of the world. His painting is fraught with impressions from both worlds. Having brought his primary artistic experiences along from Baghdad, where he first studied, he managed to ennoble them with those which he began experiencing in Europe, after establishing his reputation as a painter in Slovenia. In fact, this duality, this synthesis of two worlds represents noble values in his artistic language which brings up quite a few intriguing questions.
In the first instance, it is obvious that Karim’s painting took into consideration the values of decorativism, originating undoubtedly in arabesques. The painter gradually upgrades them into symbols, related in their essence to eastern mythologies, mostly the Mesopotamian ones. His awareness that European modernism is different encouraged the painter to search for his own artistic identity. It goes without saying that he had to go through some stages of the new artistic world in which he found himself living. It is clear that the painter was somehow absorbed by this world, which was new to him and which set out new tasks before him. On grounds of symbols and signs he was to build up abstract fields, a setting for colours to come alive. Namely, one of the most recognisable components of Karim’s painting is the colourfulness of his painting motifs. He brought this asset along with him from his homeland, ennobled it with new experiences and knowledge that he acquired here, to finally add the needed balance and harmony, which he still lacked at the beginning.
The development of Karim’s artistic career could be defined as a continuous quest of his own artistic identity, while he is being aware that he is not to disregard or forget anything significant that he brought along with him, and that the new world allows him again and again to reassess his old values. He remains true to his original point of departure, even when he wants to accomplish completely new artistic tasks, when he wants to come as close as possible to the abstract artistic expression by omitting recognisable shapes and forms, and when he works hard to conceal the stories he carries in him. It is, in fact, impossible to tear out of one’s heart thousand-year old patterns and legends. Nor is it easy to conceal the forms, no matter how miniscule they may be, which still maintain a bond with one’s rich ancient tradition. Namely, Karim’s decision that it is necessary for him to find a meaningful connection between both worlds, if he wants to find peace and establish a position within the environment he finds himself in, still firmly dominates his creativity. Therefore he still reads books on ancient Mesopotamian art heritage, and finds in them inspiration for his future work in its images.
It goes without saying that the question whether an artist’s strokes and decisions are careful and premeditated, or spontaneous and unplanned, could still be discussed. Namely, an artist’s world is always unpredictable or else it may become boring. It seems that after his studies at the fine art academy of Ljubljana, Azad Karim may have made a step onto a completely new artistic path, as he was overwhelmed by the new knowledge he was so intensively preoccupied with for a few years during his studies, when he was determined to find his alter ego. However, this was nothing but the consequence of his enthusiasm of learning about the world which was new to him, so different from the one he had been carrying inside him before. In his artistic language he simply had to play through everything that the new environment was offering to him. Only after he had worked all the impressions through, and only after he had set his own painting guidelines, could he return to himself, to his previous world, and accomplish the above mentioned synthesis. At the time, critics noticed his eastern-like palette and calligraphic elements in his art, which with time all gradually opened up new possibilities and variants for him to express. The painter used calligraphic elements to develop original signs and symbols, while his world of colours gradually became more cultivated and organised into a carefully planned order of painting fields. Perhaps one of the most interesting definitions of Karim’s art at the time points to a magical character of his artistic expression. This definition seems to be closest to reality, as he later decided to devote himself again to myths and legends. In this respect, magic is an additional element to what is known and unknown in his art. It is a connection between the past and the present, between the rational and the irrational.
During his growth as an artist, Azad Karim never restricted himself to the full circle that certain issues imposed. On the contrary! He would always leave open a way out of the circle, making use of his mostly new experiences in order to confirm his own decisions. For example, at one moment he began to deal with the exclusive problem of figure painting, although it generally seems that he has always been involved in landscape, which is mostly fictitious or bizarre. Especially, in his cycle On Women he seems to have dealt most radically with figure as a possibility of expression. Today, he still maintains a bond with this cycle, in which he remained slightly playful and unpredictable. In fact, he was not interested merely in the final image, but also in the whole process which brought about its creation. Again, Azad Karim gave vent to his colour range, without neglecting a series of symbols which he included into figural scenes. Of course, he also made place for a few inevitable decorative elements. Accentuating this or that element, he was even driven so far as to blur the limit between figure and its environment, between the woman and the surrounding world. Figure became similar to landscape and landscape to figure. Unusual metaphors even acquired a somehow surrealistic appearance. Now it was a child-like drawing, then again a complex metaphor which formed the nearly regular repertoire of Karim’s images of the mid-eighties. This period, and the one that followed, could be most certainly defined as periods when European modernism had the greatest influence on Karim’s painting in which we can suddenly recognise a Miro-like playfulness of abstract forms and boiling colour surfaces. The influence of a few concrete role-models can be sensed in the background, but Karim gradually manages to get through the narrow passage between Scylla and Charybdis and stand up on his own feet. He is namely in search of his own autonomy, knowing that it is impossible to find it as a completely isolated value. Again, he resorts to figure in space, which manages to meet his desire for a playful colour range, and for a free composition of pronounced colour fields. He is not burdened by the question of space, depths or foregrounds, as they are generated on their own accord within the painter’s spontaneous colour tale. Undoubtedly, this is where he moves away from ancient myths to find himself in a world of different archetypes. Man, family, child, become his basic thematic elements on which he builds up his own expression. Again, he is brought slightly closer to European modernism, yet this time without any fear of what to focus on in his painting. Azad Karim is an artist who finds his life purpose in art. This gives him the right to make independent decisions. He absorbs impressions, and gives them away in the form of painted images. He enjoys life, glorifying it with colours. He is becoming his own master, moving freely from theme to theme. Feelings dominate each step that he makes, and help him move on. He never doubts his decisions. And this is the right asset to take along his path.
If the painter gets tired of figure, he resorts to his old love, which is landscape. Although it may not be so colourful and playful, it is typical of him, as it includes elements of graphemes, symbols and signs without which his artistic world would be dull. He tends to typify the most frequent elements which he faces at every step he makes, but still, he prepares grounds which make it possible for him to discover more magic of the world. The painter knows how to enjoy himself both in nature and in his studio, yet he does not describe this world literally, but metaphorically. And this is yet another obvious value in his painting from the last years of the past decade. His images appear more serene and reserved, while his colour range is less intense, tuned to reserved, thus more cultivated tones. Azad Karim achieves inner harmony with what surrounds him. Now, it is of no importance whether this is intentional or not. What matters is that he confidently develops his painting, and feels the need for change at every step. If we disregard the insignificant, we realise that these changes refer to thematic or iconographic elements in his painting, and consist of the selection of his motif. The rhythms of landscape and figure alternate. One moment it is the former that dominates, the next moment figure takes the turn. It happens rarely that they meet as equally important components of the same image. When figure is in the foreground, the imperceptible space or landscape in the background plays a completely subordinate role. However, when landscape is the central theme, figure cannot develop exuberantly; it can only represent a detail in the landscape.
Azad Karim tends to maintain the same relation between the two in his latest project or cycle called “The Colours of the Tower of Babel”, where the paintings are joined by painted objects. With these he is again brought closer to the spiritual and cultural tradition of his native country, while at the same time he is able to bring to life his best experiences of the world in which he is currently living and working. The painter’s new images combine fragments from both his worlds, but he focuses his attention to remains of ancient cultures, as if he wanted to bring them back to life and restore their lost power and fame. This is an original search of lost times, lost cultures, and lost (also artistic) values. Again, the painter takes the rights to use them to form his own expressive world. He takes legendary figures of the past to depict them in a completely modern way, more abstract than recognisable and concrete. The viewer is found faced with metaphors of ancient divinities and their lost powers. Adding his own metaphor, Azad Karim reinstalls them on the pedestal of art. With them he becomes stronger than ever, as he has made a long and tiresome journey to the roots of his ancestors and their tradition. He exists in a time when he is made to reassess his artistic work to find its new purpose, because without a purpose his way to new universes would get even more difficult, instead of being easier. Since he reached maturity, he has been making more and more precise artistic decisions. Namely, he is well aware that his world of painting is in fact a clash with the present, as well as with past worlds. He is also aware that the line between them is thin, as thin as his thinnest brush.