SAD: But it is Byzantium is unavoidable. You, Čemerski, Lazeski, Kondovski and others, of course, each one in his own way, could not remain indifferent to it?
PM: Byzantium is something I love, but I do not think about it. It comes to me spontaneously, naturally. I am also excited by Mexican painting, perhaps even more than Byzantine.
SAD: But it is Byzantium that can be read in your canvases; I am not talking only about art tradition, but about all our national characteristics in general, from everyday objects surrounding you in your studio, to ethnic customs. Ethnic tradition has infiltrated the artistic being of Macedonian art much more than it seems. You are in close contact with folklore, perhaps the closest, if we refer to it in general relations. The degree of artistic transformation, however, is on such a high level than only a careful examination of your paintings and the union of your artistic self with the ethnic being can reveal those relations. Let us take, for instance, a carpet or a rug from your studio. They do not exist as such in your works, but appear only as de-constructed , torn pieces of the existing.
PM: I do not receive that directly, but simply all those layers we call tradition enter and begin their life in me. I used to live in an old Macedonian house. At the time I liked the new houses more. But now I return to my childhood memories. Many things were inside me, I grew up with them, they fed me, and I was not aware of that. I love that time, but I also feel the present moment deeply. If you want to be a modern painter you must, first of all, depict your time, but through your ethnic being. The present time is wild compared to my people’s past. I am taming it, giving a warmth to it. At first glance my aesthetics is in the ugly, but I try to make the second layer matter with soul. On the other hand, I want to disperse, decompose, everything I look at or feel. And then to devise the architecture, balance, in order to give a backbone to the painting.My method is different: Ifirst tear down the old and then build a new structure out of it.
SAD: So you often recall the past, memories?
PM: When I was a child I loved to watch the clouds, how different patterns formed in them. My paintings contain something I absorbed when I was a child. The light, the sky, the landscape always appeal to Man. And they are all together .No matter what and whoever enters anything – everything is linked to everything. I often said to my students when they painted a dark painting: Look through the window, grab light and transfer it to the canvas! Understand how colour and how much of it is present in the world!
SAD: You became aware of these phenomena relatively early?
PM: It was not awareness. It smouldered inside me and gradually started burning. I watched the world a lot; the straight line was always repulsive to me.
SAD: You do not like peace, neither in memories nor in the present. You are not satisfied by the sea either, and when the sea is calm you look for movement, energy, the devil in it, don’t you.
PM: I do not like immobility, silence, I like areas where life goes on. I like what I see to excite me and challenge me immediately. I am not an analyst.
SAD: From the outside to the inside and from the inside to the outside. You carry your memories like a time closed inside you into each new painting. Some people identify the absence of memories with death.
PM: A man that deletes memory also deletes life. His roots, his childhood make man what he is. I am searching to create a freedom of my own – it does not come by itself. When I conquer it, I give nothing of it away, as it is practically a part of me— I do not allow even the smallest root to be cut out from me. I give nothing of that freedom away. The times that have passed through me have been concentrated in it.