On Tome Serafimovski’s sculpture
#2 Vain is the attempt to probe deeper into the disorder of the sculptor’s studio, just as it is vain to clarify the chaos before the creation of the world. How is that feeling engendered anyway? Entering such a studio as this, how is it that one is led to believe that one enters into the secrets of creation? Is it not some ancient cry of our subconsciousness, unwilling to be reconciled to us as we are? The meeting with the sculptor in his studio turns into a great test of man’s fear of meeting himself, of the illusion that he is present in the act of his own re-creation!
An art that eternally
wrests from chaos…
#1 The chaos in this studio, as well as in all others, is an abridged transcript of the chaos and the disorder of antiquity. Then, in ancient times, God himself created the world out of nothing: a nihilo! Yet how can it be that he created it out of nothing, when something already existed: chaos and shapelessness existed? Disorder and darkness existed? How can it be: out of nothing? Were not chaos and shapelessness, disorder and darkness God’s starting-point?
The clay in this studio is the magma in which all possible, in which as yet invisible and non-existent forms are imprisoned. Out of this disorder, some real shape is still to come to light.
Unintentionally, we enter some abridged transcript of times immemorial and can already hear the echo of Saint-John Perse’s dove:
… They, the birds alone,
spare for us something from the song of creation…
#3 None of these birds will reverberate in this studio; instead, some atavistic fear of something we ourselves cannot explain will keep on devastating us: maybe this is at least a very distant similarity between the legends of the chaos before the creation and the chaos of our re-creation in this studio? His Holiness the Creator imbued the Word with meaning as his pre-annunciation of the creation. From these two hypostases, the Creator and the Word, the dove flew in the shape of a spirit. The bird flew across the chaos and hemmed infinity and darkness about with light.
That is how the act of creation began, an act which will never ever cease! Endlessly wise, creating Adam, and Eve – out of him, illuminating darkness and all around with his fantasy and imagination, the Creator yearned for the song of creation to be sung by all Adam’s descendants throughout all times. Creating the world, he left to Adam’s descendants matter with its immanent energy that was infinitely to be re-created from one shape into another, and ennobled man with a creative talent so that he continued God’s work – through re-creation, because eternity is a priori non-existent and conservative: “ all of art is a game with chaos; it approaches chaos ever more dangerously and wrests from it ever broader spheres of the soul. If there is any advancement in the history of art, it consists in the continual increase of those things, wrested from chaos …” Arnold Hauser said.
Saxifrage is my flower that splits
#4 Tome Serafimovski sets out from intuitive cognition as an implicit component of both the metaphysics of the creative act and the latent characteristics of matter. That is his basic aesthetic standpoint through which the ontology of creation is anticipated in an ontology of re-creation as a lasting creative act that constantly arouses the matter and restores the fluid so that it assumes ever different shapes.
In the atmosphere of Tome Serafimovski’s self-realization man is his creative archetype. Not the man as” shadow of shadows”, but the one inspired and predestined to surrender to spiritual drives, through whose destiny light flows differently through time. Such a man is both a prisoner and a collocutor in the creative impulse of Tome Serafimovski, full of dignity and irreconcilability, helplessness, worries and fear, but also with great hopes in re-creation! Such a continuity of constant restoration anticipates an approach to something new and, at the same time, something different. This is a kind of historical memory, imprisoned in the plastic layers of his bronze or marble. For Serafimovski, the human body and soul are a metaphor above all metaphors. This confirms William Carlos Williams’s approach:
– through metaphor to reconcile
the people and the stones.
Compose. (No ideas
but in things) Invent!
Saxifrage is my flower that splits
The metaphor – a banner of intuitive cognition: the saxifrage splits the rock!
A landscape of dignified and strict,
hopeless and melancholic people…
#6 Two circumstances are of crucial importance to the formation of Tome Serafimovski as a sculptor: his visual arts education and the visual arts tradition in Macedonia. He started his visual arts education in Split and continued it at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, an authoritative centre of classical European sculptural art, and at the same time a remarkable center of the monumental style. Ivan Mestrovic and, later, Antun Augustinchic have their own outstanding place in the history of plastic art. Even in his formative period, Serafimovski was acquainted with the aesthetic leitmotif of his professor Augustinchic: “The sculptor’s work has its only clarification in the architectonics of the sculptural mass from which it was created; there is no higher principle for the art of sculpture!”
In that precise and strict aesthetic standpoint there is no room for sentimental simulations, for metaphysical and mystical vacillation. This is a principle equidistant from both symbolical and archaic stylizations. Almost a catechism!
#7 In Zagreb, Serafimovski could touch, with his own hand, the face and the hands of the biblical prophets and evangelists, touch the Lamentation and the Annunciation and Christ’s Crucifixion by Ivan Mestrovic. The contact with this biblical cycle modeled with equally lyrical and dramatic expressiveness could not be without its logical mimesis in which Plato’s “shadow of shadows” is immanently present, as well as the potential possibility of a more modern instrumentation and a more up-to-date message. That is later to be clearly perceived in Serafimovski’s creative work. The biblical cycle of Mestrovic, at least as a subject motivation, cannot be disregarded in the development of Tome Serafimovski.