SAD: The interweaving of black and red stresses and makes the conflict which is inherent in your painting more convincing.
PM: My expressiveness is itself full of conflicts – internal conflicts reflected on the canvas. If the palette is faint, soundless, the conflict, too, is weaker – as for instance in my painting Caryatid. I very rarely work according to a concept, as for example in my paintings Insect or Migrations – the latter was shown at the DLUM exhibition (1989).
SAD: But this remains your secret. When the observer compares these paintings with the others he could not notice the difference.
PM: Even when I paint with a concrete idea or goal, I cannot narrate. Even when I know the story in advance, the result is the same as in the paintings on which I work in a purely intuitive way. The important thing for me is to enter the canvas wholly, with nothing left out. Such is my nature. But, in a way, each painting is narration. Yet, some artists synthesize this in a few words, and everybody remembers it. Some artists narrate in volumes and they are boring to me.
SAD: Just like in haiku poetry – a feeling, a challenge rhymed in three verses – short, compact and effective. So the subject is of secondary importance to you. In your latest works you seem to have gone further with this view – there are dense, tense paintings charged with energy?
PM: I am the laboratory where all the decisions are made. This has come .spontaneously to me – unplanned. I carry that in me. In the evening I watch the density of the darkness, the sky and stars, I feel light. The question is not only in the colour, but also in the fluid, the light and the earth’s density. When I look at the sky, however cloudy it may be, it is soft compared to the firm material quality of 11th This is the conflict I am now interested in, but on the canvas it becomes my vision, a subjective reality.
SAD: Your paintings radiate an emphasized erotic charge which has a destructive quality in contrast to the classical erotic tradition in visual arts. Why such density of eroticism?
PM: Eroticism represents a large part of me; the more concentrated it is the clearer It I shown on the canvas. I consider it my fuel in the creative process. I do not run away from it; on the contrary, I stir it up even more. My act of painting, too, has erotic characteristics.
SAD: You give interesting names to your paintings. How do you give them to your works, a priori or a posteriori?
PM: I mainly give them after I have finished the painting. With the act of giving it a name I complete my painting. It all goes together. For instance Love in Hell – it is something entirely abstract, isn’t it?
SAD: Figurative painting yes, figurative painting no. Then, in 1968, you linked the yes and no into one. Ever since, for two decades, you have stood on the position yes – no. Did this reconciliation of the opposition mean that you had realized the absurdity of dividing the abstract and the concrete? Nowadays everybody sees the nonsense of that either – or standpoint.
P’M: It is all experience. At one time the trend was more important than the outcome. This was a sign of quest, of curiosity in me. The moment of maturity came when I became indifferent to the division ‘abstraction – figuration’, or their unification and blending.
SAD: How do you look at tradition?
PM: We have no tradition in modern painting. I am not referring to Byzantium, which was a long time ago. Leaning on it nowadays is like starting to re-work Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. And it is perfect, so pure and innocent. By way of selection through time, Byzantium came to the highest spiritual qualities. It seems untouchable to me.