On the study of love and erotic elements in Macedonian contemporary art
#1 Many artists have dealt with presenting erotic motives in their works. The crucial elements in their creativity were the pure subjective criteria, personal preferences and vitality, and most certainly, the social conventions. The twentieth century has offered various approaches to eroticism, and a multitude of varieties, which directly depend upon and coincide with the artist’s sensibility, knowledge and stylistic definitions. The intimate nature of these works has determined their scaled down or modest format, as well as the wish to remain in private collections. The experts have discovered a broad range of artistic presentations: from the manic obsessions by H. B. and the floral sublimities by Georgia O., to A’s surreal paintings or H.N. works of orgies.
#2 The erotic themes in Macedonian modern and contemporary art are a part of its development and they follow the processes of creative liberation and conformity with world trends. The specific nature of the themes has created additional limitations, in the context of the general development in of Macedonian contemporary art, including the social and psychological motives, and the processes of individualization. Hence, the manifestation of love and erotic motives has taken a variety of forms and certain peculiarities of the art expression.
The manner of creating the form is supported by the manner of perceiving of the works, and the artist’s expressions cause different associations and sensations in the spectators; each and every one of them has their own sensibility and level of cultural background, but they all belong to the same setting at the same time. Our body has a mechanism of its own, and the body of the artistic work also has its own rules and elements that constitute its structure. Leonardo will remind us that” art is a matter of spirit”, and other authors will say that the art of painting is a reality parallel to the reality of nature.
Following the traces of artistic eroticism and its perception in our surrounding, we can use the exhibition “Eroticism in Macedonian contemporary art” in 1986, in Skopje as a starting point.
From the file: Eroticism in the Macedonian contemporary art
#4 The concise saying that “eroticism is approval of life even in death” points to certain thoughts, according to which, only people have the ability to turn their sexual activities into erotic ones. Actually, eroticism as a way of individual feeling and psychological seeking differs and separates from the sexual activity. Eroticism means revolt against the transience and the natural determination and pre-destination, while the Eros is a “general natural condition” susceptible to influences and changes. The area of the erotic, often interpreted as a privilege in life, or as a means of teasing and forbidding, of sins and links with the devil, has been studied closely by several psychoanalysts and scientists. Thus, there are views in which “something in the nature of the sexual organ defies the attainment of absolute pleasure”, and that there is a link between the Eros and the drive of death. This very link involves the element of oppressing all libidinal activities, and this being a primary frustration, becomes the source of further frustrating. Society, with its mechanisms of enforcement, law and order is the first one to follow after this resignation. Otherwise, “ in more liberal circumstances, sexuality aims to spread into the Eros– in other words it tends to a self-sublimation into secret and broader relations, including labor, which serves as an enhancement and an increase to the satisfaction of the human drives.
The Eros aims to immortalize itself into a permanent ORDER. If we suppose that the drive does not depend #3upon trends, or upon culture or nature, at least not directly so, then it becomes clear that this isn’t about sex and the sensual, but about the erotic and its public recognition. Eroticism deals with unveiling intellectual and moral taboos, where different kinds of interests are hidden, such as the institutions of the order etc. The development of eroticism, as our most intimate part with its mythological and anthropological roots, has been placed in the context of the “cultural development of every nation” depending upon the attitudes and the way people treat erotic problems, upon the change of beliefs and understanding and upon the changes in the institution of marriage. Actually, in traditional and folklore works of all, and especially of the Macedonian people from the days of yore till the present, the central part belongs to the works with erotic contents ( erotic short stories, anecdotes, jokes, songs, proverbs, riddles, rhymes). They are widespread and are freely communicated all up to the moment where, in accordance to the taste, sensibility and the understanding of the times, and especially of the imposed taboos and societal norms, there come the “overall retouches” and “corrections” of the “obscenities”. Mythological and archaic symbolic images reflecting real life develop from a level of esoteric and magic in the primitive peoples. Eroticism, which has specific forms of expression, created its own idioms, which make it distinctive. Parallel to the new concepts, both mythical elements and former symbols are used today, as general moments in pagan and Christian messages.
The phenomenon of tradition, taken as a relation with the closer and farther history, reveals a range of special elements relevant to our culture and art. The Slavic tribes come to Macedonia as pagans, but by accepting the Christian religion, under the influence of Byzantium, they also take its ideas and norms. Medieval art in Macedonia was created under the aegis of Byzantium, and they were against idolatry, “they lived and died for icons”, inclined to “spiritualism and abstraction”, to “ethereal, unreal shapes”, promoting, above all, the spiritual, and not the sensual. Byzantium itself created on the foundation stones of the Greek culture, then created an unordinary view of the world.