Asphyxia – To The Last Breath is one of the big hyperrealistic artworks of Macedonian sculptor Žarko Bašeski, professor of Skopje University’s Faculty of Fine Arts. This artwork of a really big head of a man is displayed in a small Hungarian town, Szentendre, in Ferenczy Museum Center to 2th of September during the art festival, Art Capital 2018. The starscupltor Žarko Bašeski’s artwork was displayed in Ferenczy Museum Center last year too, during Art Capital 2017 in exhibition MIG21, which was about migration.
When I first saw the artwork Asphyxia – To The Last Breath, I found it very strange. The waxy, hyperrealistic sculpture of a distorted head of a 40-something bearded man that is wrapped in a plastic bag and is at least tenfold its normal size was quite repulsive to me. My description, of course, only serves representation (or not even that), however, in this case it is not the sight that is important, but the impression it leaves. Although the formation – the “integration” hair, beard, eyelashes, maintaining the proportions of the face – implies a mastery of material knowledge, it is only a means. The “big head” and the images projected on the skull (a mother with a baby in her arms, an evening basketball match with friends, watching sports at home, pens and pencils, a pencil case falling over, paper with drawings, images merging together) make it inevitable to face the last imagery of the imagined life of an imaginary man, in an imagined last moment. A head torn out of space of time, gasping for air in the suffocating plastic. The agony of a 21st century Pincher Martin1, who may not be saved, in fact, the sounds reflecting from the wall behind the sculpture make the situation even clearer. As I look at the statue, it runs through my mind, the statue can even refer to the spread of plastic bags stifling the planet since plastic in the oceans destroy life in the same way… The video “in his head” is starting over and over again. My attention shifts to the swallows above my and “his” head, making me reflect about myself. And the little bit about the swallows.
What do they see from this big head that moved into their summer home, on which they sometimes leave their droppings on while flying? Do they know that the same big question is packed into this big head that is the question of all living? I’m definitely going to take the swallows’ flight with me.
Author: Kata Bedi