Solo Exhibition: Žarko Bašeski, Activating Receptors
Žarko Bašeski (Macedonia)
First hyperrealistic sculpture exhibition in Slovenia
KIBLA PORTAL, Valvasorjeva 40, Maribor
17 March – 31 May 2017
Opening: Friday, 17 March 2017, 7 p. m.
A consistent creative path has brought Žarko Bašeski to a top position in the world of art. When after years of abstract sculpting and installations his sculptures became more and more figural in form, at a certain point he found himself closer to purely realist depictions, which, however, were charged with an additional quality. His figures and their faces oozed character; they extended the domain of reality, and the poses and grimaces crossed over the realistic sphere. Quite naturally, it seems, this was followed by a transformation in terms of materials, as he moved from wood, metal, and stone to polyester, and decided to continue with hyperrealistic sculpting. Since then, his path has been constantly rising, and one of the stops on this way was his representation of Macedonia at the Venice Biennial in 2011.
After that, it was hard for him to keep up with all the exhibition invitations he received from galleries around the world. He has been exhibiting across America and Europe; in Mexico, New York, Paris, Bilbao, Prague, Riga, Berlin, Nurnberg, Malta and Italy, while his first appearance in Slovenia was part of the group exhibition MIG 2 – the international interdisciplinary movement, in 2016.
There are several elements in his works which are new to the world of sculpting, and this makes his latest works stand out: the concept, the contemporary views on the human condition through self-observation, the technical production and the use of new materials (polyester resins, polymarble, silicone, natural hair), the hyperrealistic treatment, the dimensions of his works, the philosophical approach – all of that which provides, when fused into one, a multifaceted reading of an artwork.
Apart from this, the process of building a hyperrealistic sculpture starting from the idea through the preparation phase and up to the final result, is very time-consuming: Žarko Bašeski can produce one, or maximum two works per year. In his works he focuses on the human being, this is why he employs a hyperrealistic approach already in shaping the concept for his statues, which, in a theoretical projection, surpasses hyperrealism and comments on life and the world in which we live. The topics he uses for his artworks are derived from various sources, from history and mythology, which he relates to contemporary issues and the society in general, and merges them through experiences of proper affection and introspection into himself and the intimacy of family.
Hyperrealism, which is said to be rooted in the philosophy of Jean Baudrillard, “the simulation of something which never really existed,” complexly presents an art work as a living, tangible object. The term is primarily applied to an independent art movement and art style in the United States and Europe that has developed since the early 1970s. Hyperrealistic sculptures, usually made from polyesters, are meticulously detailed and require a high level of technical virtuosity to simulate a false reality. The illusion is a convincing depiction of (simulated) reality. Textures, surfaces, lighting effects, and shadows appear clearer and more distinct than the actual subject itself.
Hyperrealistic sculptures are not strict interpretations of photographs, nor are they literal illustrations of a particular scene or subject. Instead, they utilize additional, often subtle, pictorial elements to create the illusion of a reality which in fact either does not exist or cannot be seen by the human eye. Furthermore, they may incorporate emotional, social, cultural and political thematic elements as an extension of the visual illusion.
Hyperrealistic sculptures further create a tangible solidity and physical presence through subtle lighting and shading effects. Details have more clarity than in nature. Hyperrealistic images are typically 10 to 20 times the size of the original reference source, yet retain an extremely high resolution in color, precision and detail. Sculptures are scaled much larger or smaller than life and finished in incredibly convincing detail through the meticulous use of polyester resins and multiple molds.
All the available Žarko Bašeski’s hyperrealistic sculptures are showcased, while one of them has been travelling for over a year around the world as part of the exhibition titled Reshaped Reality, 50 Years of Hyperrealistic Sculpture, in the company of contemporaries like Ron Mueck, Patricia Piccinini, Maurizio Cattelan, Marc Sijan, Berlinde de Bruyckere, Paul McCarthy, and alongside legends and pioneers like Duane Hanson, George Segal, Juan Muñoz, Robert Graham, and others.
The list can be read as a who-is-who in the world of art, and Žarko Bašeski is definitely on that list. The first hyperrealistic sculpture exhibition in Slovenia will undoubtedly attract a great deal of interest from the audience, but more than that, it will prompt expert discussions among artists, art historians, theorists and other interested parties – anyone with activated receptors.
Žarko Bašeski, born 1957 in Prilep, is a Macedonian sculptor and professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Skopje (Department of Sculpture). Bašeski is a sculptor whose monumental bronze sculptures stand on several city squares in his country, such as the statue of Alexander the Great (Prilep) and the horseman sculptures of the Macedonian national heroes Goce Delčev and Dame Gruev, in the city center of the capital Skopje. Sculptures of men as the highest expression of the power of a civilization have always represented gods and heroes, but Bašeski’s sculptures portray a common everyday man who takes on the role of a superhuman in his efforts to surpass himself. Bašeski is currently a member of the Macedonian Artists Association (DLUM). His work has been presented at several international exhibitions, winning numerous awards. Much of his work is in private collections in Macedonia and abroad.
The exhibition Activating Receptors by Žarko Bašeski is a solo art presentation in a series of international events of the four-year project Risk Change (2016–2020), co-financed by the Creative Europe program of the European Union.
The event is held under the honorary patronage of the president of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor.
The exhibition is supported by: EU Program Creative Europe – Culture, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Municipality of Maribor, Ministry of Labor, Family, Social Affairs and Equal Opportunities of the Republic of Slovenia.