by Svetlomira Minkova
“Do not forget that before becoming war horse, a nude woman, or some event, a picture is essentially a flat surface covered with colors in a certain order,” said Maurice Denis.
But also remember that painting is not simply the application of paint on canvas, and it is subject to the principle of imitation and requires the application of knowledge, trained thought and complience with rules.
Platon encouraged expurgation of the greatest works in classical Greek culture, prohibiting the depiction of battle scenes, crime and mostly unrestrained carnal pleasures of the gods. No doubt many scenes had to be altered. But we know also that art has a value exelling all moral and political claims which may be directed to it.
“Painting is nothing but an imitation of human activities,” said Nicolas Poussin. And there’s nothing shameful and cynical in it. Because painting is “immitation through lines and colours of everything visible under the sun. Its purpose is enjoyment.”
Obscene is not in theobjects, but in the way of their presentation. Sex, money and death are “indecent” when shown in a harsh and cynical way. Obscene is that which goes beyond the framework of our notions and prevents establishing the aesthetic framework through which to assimilate them. If we present “obscene” things as natural and within the norm, their assmilation is more available and possible.
In the “Flesh” project I presented obscene in an aesthetic framework that shows flesh as something sublime and beautiful, bathed in divine splendour created by beauty and grace.
Andre Felibien said “beauty comes from the proportions and symmetry of the body parts and material” and grace – “from uniformity of the experiences caused by mental emotions and feelings.” So he separates the three possible types of beauty, which I represent in “Flesh“.
The first canvas shows the graceful beauty. The other two works contrast material and spiritual, internal and external. The second canvas shows beauty without grace, and the third – grace, combined with a modest beauty.
The three works present a smooth grace, lightness and color range. And with that show the “charm” which affects one person to another. As recalled Fredrich Schiller, girdle of Aphrodite represents exactly the power of this attractiveness, and of these “beauties“. It grounds also the rules of favor, trust and appreciation observed in both the Roman and in feudal society. As we know it was her magic weapon – anyone who has worn this girdle has became irresistibly attractive and all were falling in love with her. And so we believe in the statement of one of the representatives of classical German idealism – Friedrich Schelling – “The absolute reality of gods is result of their absolute perfection”.
The importance of the “Flesh” Project lies in the fact that it is a set of conventions adopted in a community.
We live in a world full of unlimited possibilities. We have forgotten what the word “sublime” means, what “is not just convincing, but fascinates and admires“, it is something that in front of it we are loosing our usual reference points.
In the “Flesh” Project I am creating a picturesque feature, a painting porn, a dynamic and coloured eminence. I direct spirit to a over-sensory dimension of beauty. I show the features of a depiction, allowing the viewer to quickly and easily identify what is the image.
In the “Flesh” Project I show image which has internal expression. Using deformity my desire is not to distort reality but to present my view on the things.
By this exaggeration I show the deeper truth and not the mere external resemblance to the model.
In the “Flesh” Project I interlace the issue of morality and non-morality, trying to develop the viewer moral sensitivity and imagination. My wish is not to repel but to attract because it is not the work that may cause harm to human nature but the inability to see it as a work and to perceive its aesthetic. I mix aesthetics with ethics. I show a cynicism represented aesthetically and insert detail in each work, because it shapes the expression of artistic perception.
The idea of the project is to be given meaning before being morally criticized because “some works not only make us receptive to new values, beliefs and ideologies, not only predispose us to confess them, but lull the inconvenience that often accompanies them“. The idea of this project is to educate and my desire is not to meet the moral resistance of the imagination, but to unlock its full commitment and understanding sparing the sensitivity of viewers.
Through it I want to show flesh, giving the viewer a way to see it not as an obstacle but as means of communication. Because for man to have breath, life and thought, the boundary should be set free in a loose critical space where cynicism is possible.