NUDES

Nude and landscape painting truly are two themes that seduce me the most in painting. The reason might be the fact body is some kind of reduced scale landscape, but what interest me primarily is the graphic expression in the shape of a human body once reduced to surface. Volumes never were something that excite me in terms of their ‘overwhelming’ tendencies upon the smooth and flat and I have always had the same position regarding light I use only to translate an idea of an volume rather than spacious dimension of an object itself. That is the reason I admire the chromatic construction of ‘flat’ paintings rather than those recreating the true and natural profoundness within a canvas. This is why Duccio or Botticelli are closer to me than for example Mantegna and Giorgione.
I’ve started to work with nudes quiet early, getting my first drawings done after pictures of famous works of art reproduced in books. After that I’ve started naturally to work with my own body. But the first real idea to get deeper into the discovery of possibilities to translate body within a picture came with my first real series of  canvases entitled: White paintings. The idea was to set a body into a white space to better explore the colour relations in this genre, old and noble, of  picturing human beings as their body was art. My research were based on separation of surfaces I’ve worked since 2005.

Michal Korman: First sailing, oil on canvas 50x40 cm, 2007 Bratislava
Michal Korman: First sailing, oil on canvas 50x40cm, 2007 Bratislava

 

Michal Korman: Flemish self-portrait, oil on canvas 81x65 cm, 2008 Brussels
Michal Korman: Flemish self-portrait, oil on canvas 81x65cm, 2008 Brussels, in private collection

 

Michal Korman: Le Nu, oil on canvas, 50x60cm, Paris
Michal Korman: Le Nu, oil on canvas, 50x60cm, 2009 Paris

 

 Michal Korman: Story of an ear-ring, oil on canvas 82x54cm each, 2009 Brussels, in private collections
Michal Korman: Story of an ear-ring, oil on canvas 82x54cm each, 2009 Brussels, in private collections

In 2010 there still was this interest in what body is but the graphics changed and split to two different direction as whole my work did. First has preserved the smoothness of prior painting and the second one has became more casual and less radical in treatment of neighbouring colour surfaces.

Michal Korman: Ceci n'est pas une pipe, oil on canvas, 81x100 cm, Paris 2010
Michal Korman: Ceci n’est pas une pipe, oil on canvas, 81x100cm, Paris 2010

While people nowadays feel rather comfortable about female nude, depiction of a naked male still disturbs in some way. I think it may be because of the ‘apparent’ sex parts. And I think balls disturb event more than penis itself. The idea of how to ‘introduce’ male nude into contemporary art without turning to a rather ‘ashamed’ academic was what preoccupied me mostly. There of course is the work of gay artists like Tom of Finland  e.g.but this seems to have some satirical and mainly ‘focused’ undertone. Mapplethorpe’s work on the other hand is far to documentary and I don’t see any way how painting could be involved in such work without being ‘picturing reality’ based. Even Warhol’s  ‘Torsos’ or Sylvia Sleigh’s naked males don’t come with an idea of proud masculinity. Funny that I’ve found most of the inspiration sourcing from Titian, Manet and Matisse – all working almost exclusively with female nudes.

 

Michal Korman: Viva l'Italia, watercolour and ink on paper, 56,5x76,5 cm, 2012 Paris
Michal Korman: Viva l’Italia, watercolour and ink on paper, 56,5×76,5cm, 2012 Paris

 

Michal Korman: Viva l'Italia (Venus of Urbino) oil on canvas, Paris 2012
Michal Korman: Viva l’Italia (Venus of Urbino) oil on canvas, Paris 2012