Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dimitar Kondovski(1927-1993)

This months cover featuring AHa Piponska,
Project coordinator for Loft in the
She was also PR and production manager
for AKTO Festival
Dimitar Kondovski, Self portrait
1975, 140 x 95 cm. Oil on canvas,
photo courtesy of the artist's family
and facebook page administrator

Natasa Jovkovska
He is considered one of the great Macedonian painters of the 20th century, and yet until recently I, along with most of us here in NYC, have never heard of him. This will soon change. Some would say it was the worst of times, for a fortunate amount it was the best of times. Dimitar Kondovski was born in Prilep("the city under Marko's tower"), Serbian-ruled Macedonia, which had been incorporated into the kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes(later the kingdom of Yugoslavia). Later on he lived and worked in Skopje(capital of The republic of Macedonia).Yugoslav Macedonia was subsequently subjected to an intense process of "Serbianization" during the 1920's and 1930's. Unto this time of shifting alliances, political rivalries, changing borders, and ethnic tensions, Kondovski was born. Outside of his country "Black Tuesday" was looming in West, and would bring America and Europe to its knees; the Nazi's would soon rise out of this dark time, giving way to another world war that would reduce much of Europe to ruble and ash. I very much think that all of this helped to imbue Kondovski's artwork with "...and endless sadness and melancholy,  an atmosphere of isolation and abandonment"; as well as a profound illustrative beauty, tinged with the grace of tragedy, that would make Shakespeare smile with tears in his eyes. A critic and professor at Pedagogical Academy in Skopje, he studied at The Academy of fine Art in Belgrade(capital of Serbia). He was a member of the groups "Today" & "Dawn", won in 1964 the October award(Oktomuriska prize)of the Federal republic of Macedonia for painting. Kondovski also won prizes at the 8th Mediterranean Biennale  in Alexandria, and the 3rd Belgrade Triennial.
Dimitar Kondovski, "white flower in the moonlight"
1955, oil on canvas 70 x 49 cm. Photo courtesy of
the artist's family and facebook page administrator

Natasa Jovkovska 
Kondovski's artwork consists of still life, portrait's, and a very curious series of abstract work dealing with geometric shapes, compartmentalization and order. In these abstract works one can see something Malevich's "Suprematisim", although not so much in technique, but in a love of geometry and shapes. When you look at "white flower in the moonlight", painted in his early days, there is a marked difference between that and his self portrait of 1975. However one can see the basics of his technique is the same, sharp elegant angles with somewhat hard lines reinforced, with marks possibly made with his putty knife. (I think him and Klimt produced slightly elongated figures for a beautiful effect).  And of course his brilliant use of color to suggest mood. The look of  the paint in"white flower in the moonlight" is thicker then some of the paintings in his later years. Works like "by stander" and his self portrait from 1975 have a much lighter look and feel. Also within Kondovski's technique one can see a little of the feel of Sakai Hoitsu's(1761-1828), "Autumn flowers and moon"; something of the application of his colors and the feel the work registers very strongly. A similar connection could be made through Gustav Klimt's, whose style is different, yet bares similarities depending on which paintings your looking at. When you look at the back-drop of their paintings, the look of the clothing(sort of a loose, clean, fluid bush technique), with a very strong focus on the face of the subject, the similarities come to light. Both artist works exudes a powerful sense of realism but with an illustrative style, thats often imbued with subtle symbolism. The moon as a metaphor, a richly designed colorful robe, a flower in hand, the act of the subject(s) within the painting. Both artist's used color and tones to express their emotions,  that of the subject or the moment, real or imagined. A marked difference is their line work. Kondovski's is often more square looking with sharper angles, while Klimt's lines are often more rounded, with softer angles and curves. This of course is not a given with Kondovski so much as a choice, depending on realities of the moment before he begins to paint, of which we may never know.     
Portrait of Hermine Gallia,
Gustav klimt. Oil on canvas. 

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Dimitar Kondovski, "The bystanders" 1990
oil on canvas, 138 x 200 cm. 

Photo courtesy of the
artist's family and 

facebook page administrator 
Nastasa Jovkovska
Dimitar Kondovski, Nikola Jonkov Vapcarov
1977, oil on canvas, 110 x 90 cm. Photo courtesy
of the artist's family and facebook page
administrator Natasa Jovkovska
Kondovski's work has a very post-modern alluring feel. Something altogether familar, surprising and graphic. His is a style that could easily be amongst the paintings of previous greats(Henri de Toulouse Lautrec)or modern, fine art illustrators working with the likes of Neil Gaiman(Sandman, Vertigo comics)and Mike Carey(Lucifer, Vertigo comics). To explore his work is to begin to understand him, the time an place he lived, and the nation it has become. If you would like to see more of Dimitar Kondovski's artwork, check-out his facebook page or: www.nationalgallery.mk/postojana.php 
Studio-Phoenix Blog-Spot would like to thank Meglena Visinska, Natasa Jovkovska, and AHa Piponska for there help. "Art is the reason, art is the way". Article by
K.K.W, Cheers!

1 comment:

Meg said...

Remarkable text! Wonderful review and analytic description of the art work.