Portraits

Since ever I do work on portrait of people close to me: mostly family and friends. This occasional distraction within my own “program-work” becomes more and more regular now. Therefore I paint those I love, admire and feel related to or those I miss, like my grandparents recently passed away. Self portraits are being part of this as well – it’ might have something to do with self therapy.

My Pots

I’ve came to a decision of painting the intimate garden spaces. The moste intimate ones are flower-pots and vases – isn’t it? Therefore I paint those I possess. The first attempt dates back to 2010 when I painted a big canvas which as for object plants growing in the bathroom of my Parisian apartment.

Gardens and Vegetal Landscapes

I do focus on vegetal world for couple of months already. This is nothing new for me as I’ve been finding inspiration in plants for years. For this time things seem to bring me hapiness since I’ve returned to what I’ve done before exploring the possibilities of liquid paint technique. These days the flat surfaces of oil paint get a new addings: some sort of ornement to sublime and destroy their presence within an composition at the same time. It took me some time to understand how important the excitement of an eye is to appreciation and comprehension of a work of art. Gardens, parks, flowers in vase or plants growing in pots seem to satisfy me and my curiosity more than any other ‘object of interest’ ever did before. For my thirtieth anniversary which is to come in august I turned myself somehow naturally to these ‘subjetc and spaces’ that I was not able to explore in my early childhood due to a heavy allergies. Nowadays they bring me joy and pleasure just as does the fact of transposing them into art. ‘Aux cyprès de Villa d’Este’ was the first of this attempts to interpret a feeling of the garden and was based on the previous experience I’ve got while working on moroccan paintings such as ‘A Garden’ picturing Majorelle garden in Marrakech and ‘Secrets of Marrakech’- a view on a minaret of great mosque in Marrakesh throught the gardens that surround it in 2012 and 2015 respectivly. But quickly I’ve shifted the attention to coulours and relations between them.

India

I had a chance (or if you want to speak about privilege let’s say so) to visit India – motherland to our spirituality, land where all world major religions come from. In March 2014, my long-dreamed wish to discover this subcontinent came true. This tour, indeed not very long, as I have stayed in the country for 21 days only, lead me from dusty Rajasthan to tropical West Bengal, crossing Hindustan from west to east at it’s northern part through Gangetic Plains. The discovery of all those jewels you find in books on splendour of Hindustani past both Muslim and Hindu was my principal aim. Honestly, I was more looking to experience the great oriental dream and had no idea of getting deeply in Indian present I thought to prefer to today India it’s glorious colonial passé.
Just imagine for a second that the first thing I saw, after about four hours drive through waking-up country, was the Taj Mahal. You’d expect it to be a beginning of a great journey to this past I came to look for, a revival of this great oriental dream I’ve got so obsessed with, because this is what the promises about travelling to India are.
I must admit not feeling very comfortable about this Taj-Mahal-let’s-have-a-coctail-dear India experience at all. I found this bright white marble thing at the back of the mogul garden quite bad taste first comparing it to some kind of a huge wedding cake, the air was thick and sky not clear, my smiling-shiny-happy-oriental-dream Indians seemed to me just all too aggressive and ugly, no flowers in gardens, no lovely tiger cub to come and pet with. Where has the hell my rainbow India disappeared?
Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Amer and Jaipur were all the same: a symbol of my disappointment with this Hindustan where no elephant was waiting for me at the hotel entrance and no twenty Euro peacock feather dress adorn with diamonds possible to find. Despite my state of mind, I enjoyed the beauty of architecture we could admire everywhere we got. Dusk at Mehtab Bagh with all the Taj Mahal complex spreading in front of your eyes over the Yamuna river – breathtaking! Red Fort of Agra – splendid! Getting lost within Fatehpur Sikri abandoned city complex – an unique experience! Amer and Jaipur palaces – wonderful! I started to accept the reality of this land when we arrived to Jodhpur – The Sun City. The one I was looking forward to see the most of all, woke me suddenly up to this touching and unique contemporary India, where perfume of spices mix together with smell of excrements, and where bird singing appears within hysterical horn blowing of cars and rickshaws: this two faced India you expect but still you only want to see the beautiful side of it only. Awaken, I could now experience again all what country has offered me until now, to understand it’s value, and digest it once memory-filtered .
I always considered the memory work to be the most important part of experiencing and understanding things that happen. The reason why I never sketch in open-air is that when attired by something I just feel too impressed and can’t work immediately. Taking pictures is so useful for people easily disturbed by beauty of things. Getting back home with more than 3000 shots, each bearing a short story, I started this memory work and little by little the most important visual stimulations just appeared up over the other ones and begun to paint this interior added-value >carnet de voyage< compositions.
The big Taj Mahal image – on the river as seen from Red Fort ( this story touched me with it’s cruelty ) was one of the first paintings I worked on. Funny. I nevertheless think that this irony is quiet a nice satisfaction to the Taj and to myself as well.
Some time later – oil painings were what I worked on, still being Taj-themed, one in french manner, picturing view from my hotel room where the white silhouette of the building appears upon a wet garden entitled: l’Hôtel and the second one, influenced by Constable showing the view on banks of Yamuna river with Taj Mahal reflecting in the water – composition that re-interpretes my first taj art effort in ink.
I arrived to Rajasthani capital Jaipur in the evening after stopping shortly in Bharatpur for a lunch in one of local Maharajah’s white palaces, decorated heavily with flower ornament murals and sumptuous furniture. With thali meal served on a huge silver plate in front of me, this almost ridiculously opulent immersion into the lifestyle of Rajputana aristocracy surprised me so much, that the only way to deal with was to play the game and immerse into the role I was expected to take in such a situation. I did right because with every new stage of the voyage within the fairy  ‘Land of Kings’ this repeated regularly for almost a week spent in this dusty and dry state, the largest in India.
Amer seemed to be very promising when seen from the platform which serves to comfortably get on the back of a elephant so one does not have to climb on huge animal. The ascension of the hill up which the amber-coloured fort stands on, is traditionally done on the back of elephant, and it is thank to this big and slow mammal the ride is far from being comfortable. Well, you wanted to play maharajah, you got it; and all this comes with. Still this is quiet dreamy India, protected by huge yellowish walls.
Jaipur is another story. There is this City palace, nice but not even a shade of what Amer fort is, fascinating observatory, so ingenious and beautiful, and of course streets: straight and long, looking all the same: orange-pinkish walls with orange-pinkish gates, behind each gate there is another gate or another straight long street; original because from time to time a spectacular folly-building comes to amuse one’s sight. Here we’ve experienced crowd for a first time. It is surely not the crowd of Chandni Chowk in Delhi or Chowringhee in Kolkata, but still… I’ve got lot of lecture just before going to India; both Pierre Loti and Henri Michaux I’ve read shortly before leaving for tropics were impressed by this phenomenon. Michaux stays: ‘A Hindi crowd is always astonishing. It’s everyone for himself. Just like in Varanasi, in the Ganges, everyone for himself, focused on his own salvation.’ Streets of the walled city are crowded from early morning to dusk. It’s even worst in the new city where traffic jams are constant all day, except for Holi festival; in the morning the city seems to be a desert. Streets are empty, from time to time there are some  youngsters on motorbike passing around or group of boys and young man giving the portion of colourful fun expected by tourists certainly disappointed by this calm which got nothing to do with raw celebrations around bonfires from yesterday evening.
Then Jodhpur, five hours from Jaipur by train, just at the limits of Thar desert is incredible! It’s magnificent fort looking like big hard rock from outside hides splendid palace all made of Brussels-lice-like sculpted stone. From here, silent desert is only few kilometres far. Passing through this poor land for six hours by car is like climbing the stairways to heaven. So exceptional, so touching! Indian desert is full of life. Black-buck antelopes, woman walking beside the road bearing jars on their heads in the middle of nowhere just like shepherds with their animals. We are heading to visit some villages of  past glory with houses painted in exterior and interior. People are nice, some first of rare smiles one can get in India cheered me up. White Pushkar, one of holy places of Hinduism, build around a sacred pool not far from vibrant city of Ajmer, ( home to a shrine of muslim saint Mo-inuddin Chishti)  seems not to escape to mass tourism, not to the domestic only. Hebrew inscriptions more numerous than those English and French ones cover main street of Pushkar, in Ajmer white Muslim crowd in the street leading to the mosque makes of walking quiet a hectic experience. It’s completely full in here! But what a pleasure to enter to the Sufi shrine filled with perfume of roses and jasmine!
After one week spent by touring Rajasthan, on second day of Holi festival we reached Delhi by express train from Jaipur at around 10 am. The fact there are many birds in India everywhere was clear to me despite I haven’t seen any vulture I desired to spot so desperately yet but rich avifauna of Delhi truly surprised me. The sky of this huge vibrant capital is never clear not only because of smog and pollution but there always is a bird or rather few flying about your head. Numerous kites and pigeons overflying monuments are a nice metaphor to the people of this double-faced capital. Those kites made me think of sage Jungle book character Cheel. People say there is nothing to see in Delhi, but such statements are not true at all. There is plenty to be seen, to wonder and to learn in Delhi. Of course not every place of tourist interest really is interesting, but wonders of ancient capitals dropped here and there within the city are amazing. You feel like an early XIX century explorer when taking a walk in masterfully composed Lodi Gardens or getting lost in a bush of Mehrauli archaeological park and bazaars of Delhi surely are a true vanity fair.
Yes, the oriental dream is still alive, to my big surprise. Places like Haridwar, Srinagar or Lucknow, this tourist forgotten city, has revealed it to me in all it’s splendour. Stuffed by Shia Islam monuments and gardens, the old city of opulent nawabs  has so much to offer. And it has offered me since the first moment I stepped out of the train. Three days of pure pleasure before leaving to Varanasi. The mythical holy city of Hindus. And what a surprise there.
I was warned by someone who’s told me: >Varanasi is a strange place, as soon as you’re there your only thought is to get out of it, but as soon as you’re off it your only wish is to come back.< An absolute true! There is nothing more peaceful than morning or evening boat ride on Ganges when ghats are veiled in this grey-blueish and grey-purple mist; nothing more seducing than evening aarti accompanied by music, lights and flowers floating down the river stream; well, in Varanasi stairways to heaven lead down to the river, because as soon as one climb them up back to the Shiva city he sudenly found himself in hell on earth. I barely could have ever find more hysterical place than this. Only wish is to get back to ghats, to observe river and people bathing. There is this western obsession to make of live on ghats a performance, and tourists are so intrusive to hygiene they consider to be very intimate in Europe, Japan or America. I admit I did the same. You can’t not to do so. Watching people wash themselves becomes the show one gets here as it is almost impossible to get into the temples within the city. Westerners become rude and immoral, they might be hypnotised or under spell of such intimate behaviour of Indian people, everything is done openly from teeth-washing to waiting for death on stairs in some corner or under some tree; even cremation act – and this is the point tourist are most disrespectful- is done on eyes of everyone who passes by. Privacy of hygiene and dying sacredly intimate in our culture is what excites tourists from western world. They can not imagine the violation of their privacy by someone who’d introduce himself to their bathroom to take picture or to make a whole show about  a member or their family being buried – but everyone does the same. It is an excitement about death that push some of them to climb to the terraces upon burning ghats to observe death bodies being consumed by fire. I did not – it was impossible to me to even pass the burning ghat closely. I saw some poor man body being half burned by fire because of insufficiency of wood, so his members only were flushed into the river where I could spot a Sadhu corps (certainly not well attached to the stone that should keep it under water) floating by the boat. Well not all of us tourist have left our moral at home and not all of us act disrespectfully when abroad. At the end leaving Varanasi was releasing, but after couple of days missing Varanasi phase started.
Discovering colonial, so westernised, Kolkata – diving into the Indian dream again in all those Bengali villages of vivid green charm, adorned with palm trees and banana plants, rice and wheat fields the sky reflects lime green palette of, small lakes mirroring all this particular little world and it’s lyrical sunsets particularly touching and beautiful – I loved it all – even this immense marble Victoria monument, massive and sovereign just as the first empress of India used to be. Intellectual capital of India has it’s own charm. Welcoming atmosphere is palpable at every  of her many neighbourhoods so divers but all equally populous. Spiritual centre of the city is Kalighat, quiet a nice quarter with this original temple dedicated to terrible female deity of time, and death. It’s almost impossible to see the three eyed idol with golden tongue so numerous are both her devotees and her guardians in the interior of temple covered with hundreds of bells. Rush about the blessing from goddess is almost as intense as rush about transporting stuff (you always wonder what’ inside of numerous boxes and parcels) at Armenian street – one of crowdiest streets ever can experience. Leading from University on Mahatma Ghandi Road to the Hooghly river and it’s ghats where is nice to sit and observe men in the sunset, huge Howrah bridge connecting Kolkata to the railway station (of the same name as the engineer work of art) at the opposite river bank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Seven deadly sins

My first ever published illustrations for a story book by Milan Kališ, an young Slovak author, handle with both fascination and critique of urban life, just like the knotty, heavy jungle-like texts of the edition are. Milan gave me free hand to come with some drawings for the collection of short (and long) analysis of contemporary city life. This was rather challenging, as his writings are as complex and as detailed as could be and there was, to my eyes, no need to ‘illustrate’ these story or transfer part of them into drawing. But the idea came to me not to ‘base’ my illustration on text, but to create an independent art work to ‘add’ value to the artistic aspect of literature, better than to just describe with images what Milan brilliantly says. The trash tattoo-like or graph-like urban drawings in black and white appeared a clear option then to me, and as despair and efforts to get rid of it seemed to be the central point of his story-telling genius, I immediately thought the theme of a ‘sin’ would give the effect I looked for – not actually depicting the story on ‘other media’ level, but this could create a new story within the book based on the same kind of ‘research’ as Milan’s stories are. The choice has been made. Under the influence of my recent trips to the very medieval Avignon and Florence, I decided not to ‘picture’ the sin as an act, but I’ve turned to the medieval iconography of ‘sin-in-itself-pictured’. Giotto, Bosch, Dûrer etc. constituted for me the starting point of my research. The old playing-cards forms were another source of inspiration. The ‘seven deadly sins’ series was born and Milan accepted to integrate this to his book ‘ Rozdrásané duše ‘ ( – this would be translated as something as: Disjont souls).

Michal Korman: book cover
Michal Korman: book cover

 

Michal Kucerka: SDS ( Luxuria ), black ink on paper, 2015
Michal Kucerka: SDS ( Luxuria ), black ink on paper, 2015

Michal Kucerka: SDS ( Ira ), black ink on paper, 2015
Michal Kucerka: SDS ( Ira ), black ink on paper, 2015

Michal Kucerka: SDS ( Gula ), black ink on paper, 2015
Michal Kucerka: SDS ( Gula ), black ink on paper, 2015

Michal Kucerka: SDS ( Superbia ), black ink on paper, 2015
Michal Kucerka: SDS ( Superbia ), black ink on paper, 2015

Michal Kucerka: SDS ( Acedia ), black ink on paper, 2015
Michal Kucerka: SDS ( Acedia ), black ink on paper, 2015

Michal Kucerka: SDS ( Avaritia ), black ink on paper, 2015
Michal Kucerka: SDS ( Avaritia ), black ink on paper, 2015

Michal Kucerka: SDS ( Invidia ), black ink on paper, 2015
Michal Kucerka: SDS ( Invidia ), black ink on paper, 2015

The book can be purchased it any bookshop in Slovakia, or on-line here: http://www.martinus.sk/?uItem=218945

Signed and numbered giclée prints on fine art paper of these illustrations 30×20 cm can be purchased by contacting me by e-mail for 350 € (7 prints in total + international shipping included).



 

French statuary

After being focused on ancient greek and roman art for couple of years, I’ve decided to turn myself to French statues during the 2015 summer. Two couples of paintings are the result of long studies in the Louvre musuem: first are mid-sized marvelous alabaster neo-calssic figures depicting young men, based on work by Pierre Julien and Louis Petitot, the other two interprete magnificent bucolique pair of marbles by Coustou, one of my favourite sculptors of baroque era. Every of these two pairs are concieved as a decorative elements to adorn an interior, following a principle of XVIth and XVIIIth cenuty ‘pendants’.

Michal Korman: GM -1779, oil on canvas, 40x50cm, Paris 2015
Michal Korman: GM -1779, oil on canvas, 40x50cm, Paris 2015

 

Michal Korman: CB -1826, oil on canvas, 40x50cm, Paris 2015
Michal Korman: CB -1826, oil on canvas, 40x50cm, Paris 2015

 

 

Michal Korman: Nymphe, oil on canvas 100x80cm, Paris 2015
Michal Korman: Nymphe, oil on canvas 100x80cm, Paris 2015

 

Michal Korman: Chasseur, oil on canvas 100x80cm, Paris 2015
Michal Korman: Chasseur, oil on canvas 100x80cm, Paris 2015

 

Paris – Ville Lumière

Paris -here it is! The Light city is beeing my home since 4 years already and I still remember the day of 13th March 2009 when once descended of the coach arriving from Brussels to settle down in Paris I got ready to survive within this man-eater-like city rather than conquer it.
I hated Paris the first time I discovered it in autumn of the 2008 and not even six months later here I was, another of her numerous pretenders – and it has not taken look her to get me completely.
Josephine Baker sang of ‘two loves she has’ – one for the home savanna ( hehe) and the second one for Paris – I must do say I could only be able to say that there is and never could be any competition between the place I was born to and Paris with her lights when night falls on tin roofs.
The painting here was made to show ( in whatever kind of manner you would call it impressionist or not) the moment in which evening blue hour turns into twilight and lights go on more vividly on Rue Tronchet and Madeleine, Les Invalides, and Tour Eiffel enlight in their very spectacular way. The first picture represents the paining when light is diffused by paint ( blue and brown pigments in white oil paint basis) the second one when light falls on golden parts and is being reflected ( golden pigments).

Michal Korman: Paris,oil on canvas 80x100 cm, 2013 Paris
Michal Korman: Paris, oil on canvas 80×100 cm, 2013 Paris

 

Michal Korman: Paris,oil on canvas 80x100 cm, 2013 Paris
Michal Korman: Paris, oil on canvas 80×100 cm, 2013 Paris