SAD: It has occurred to me that it was in this monument that you inserted big, unusually big pieces of stone.
PM: I thought a great deal in front of that huge white space. Had I done it only with small pieces, it would have suggested some kind of tapestry. This horrified me and I began inserting bigger and bigger pieces of stone. I thought of my mosaic in Stopanska banka in Skopje. I am satisfied with that work. I used river stones in it, too, and arranged them on a relief background. That is why it looks explosive. But, basically, I do not like the mosaic technique. It seems to me that works done in this technique do not breathe as they should.
SAD: But you artists insist a lot on monumental works and most often prefer them to everything else. Are the connotations ‘eternity’, ‘tradition’… decisive and is Mazev less Mazev in his mosaics than in easel painting?
PM: The value of monumental works is permanent. The artist remains with them more deeply and more permanently on the ground. But nowadays I would not work on such things. I like to paint on canvas, to enter it, to encompass my excitement in one breath.
SAD: You are a temperamental, unpredictable and intuitive painter on the one hand, and yet you were a teacher at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Skopje, on the other. How did you link these opposite sides? A number of important artists were your students.
PM: I had a method of my own. I chose students who suited me by their temperament. We were always together. I gave them freedom to work with whatever means they wanted to and they left the school as good artists.
SAD: It is a very important thing that a teacher is a strong person, a real creato1 The very fact that students believed in you, estimated you highly, considered you a paradigm, must have been their principal motive for working.
PM: I approached them in a creative way, I appreciated their individuality. I instructed them how to observe, I did not teach them how to illustrate, I led them towards anti-painting. I once heard Lubarda lecturing – he expressed himself with difficulty, but I remembered all that he said. He searched long for words, but he found the real ones. The artist is not an orator.
SAD: Which modem painters do you value most?
PM: I am attracted to everything that is lyrical and expressive – Pollock, de Kooning, Dubuffet, A .R. Penck, and especially Picasso. I also love German expressionists very much – they best reflect their time and internal conflicts. I feel most of them close to me. Of the Yugoslav artists I single out Petar Lubarda. His treatment of matter and structure is a big challenge to me.
SAD: It is difficult nowadays to find an artist who does not have a parallel in somebody else. Most often it is not a result of influence, but a consequence of the same temperature and sensitivity, sometimes even a coincidence.
PM: There is something like an internal weaving. There are coincidences, too. You don’t have to know an artist, to see his works, in order to have something common with him – there is some purely internal weaving.