Always happy, active and good-looking, as if coming from a cosmetics catalogue – this is how movies and television, yellow pages and advertisements, picture us humans. With his hyper-realistic plastic artworks, the Macedonian sculptor Žarko Bašeski allows us to see that this ideal presentation of our free consumer society is no less manipulative than the ever ambitious, proud and physically fit worker of the socialist realism. The Bunsen Goetz Gallery together with the Department for International Cooperation of the City of Nurnberg managed to bring Žarko Bašeski’s artworks that had been exhibited at the 54th Biennale in Venice to the Franks’ metropolis.
Žarko Bašeski’s series of hyper realistic figures of people he calls “Leap” attracted great attention in Venice in 2011 and brought him international breakthrough. These sculptures can not be subsumed within the current terminology; they require different interpretation and additional reading of realism. In Žarko Bašeski’s sculptures most of the elements are new to the Macedonian statuary – the hyper realistic treatment, technique, use of new materials, the dimensions and the concept of these works of art, combined together, offer variety of readings.
For Žarko Bašeski, professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Department of Sculpture, in Skopje, the title of his works is the essence of man, his existence, mistakes and ambitions. Bašeski’s plastics present the strife of man for something more than he is able to sustain intellectually and psychically, the strife to go further – making longer leaps than he is capable of doing. Their concept of bravely unrefined esthetics can be understood as transcending personal boundaries. These are stories about men in which human body is not idealized and they reflect intensive accumulation of life and power of creation. Bašeski’s latest sculptures present the man confronted with his own emotional states and moments of personal battles in life, creation, expectations and uncertainty. They are his undeniably alternate plan to the Hollywood based heroes and you-can-do-everything cliché of the consumer society.
Hence Žarko Bašeski’s need to present the man the way he is, the way he can not see himself, exposed to the daylight, unplugged from the system, logged out from the network, as a prototype of the real look in the designing department of a huge plant, discarded and thrown away in the dirty water – in the mud of the true reality. It is their hyper reality, the cold solemnity of the exhibition, the over-emphasized details and their accuracy that makes these sculptures terribly serious. Exaggeration means creation and destruction: creation breaks the rules, destroys boundaries and ruins the individual.
Sculptures present the man caught at a moment of an impossible act: trying to leap over himself while facing himself. If these sculptures express the whole reality and the truth about this reality, then we, the observers, have to ask ourselves: Whatever happened to the people?
The sculptor manages to create the provocative contents of his program by contrasting his figures and the history they narrate. He is a philosopher: his work is preceded by an extremely deep analysis of the European developments. He is friendly to the people and extremely skillful in his craft.
“The Leap” exhibition at the Bunsen Goetz Gallery is premiere from two aspects: it marks the beginning of a collaboration with the Department for International Cooperation of the City of Nurnberg and it is the first exhibition in the new facilities where, in future, the Gallery will be presenting a series of the latest achievements in modern art.
Therefore, I wish you double pleasure here, in your Bunsen Goetz Gallery.