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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decoration works

June 2015 and 2016. I got to Weligama on the southern coast of Sri Lanka, with a delivery of paintings the owner Anna Egorkina asked me for. Some of my paintings and prints were previously acquired by owner of Eraeliya Villas and Gardens and I was delighted when she asked me for more painting to be done for one of the superior rooms in the main villa: Samaya. The orderer’s idea was to have a three round paintings hung up under the roof, so they’d overlook the space of the chamber. I’ve decided to work with animal species endemitic to the island. Six weeks after the primary sketches, the paintings were drying all over my livingroom, and waiting to be wrapped and shipped to Eraeliya Villas and Gardens – a little piece of paradise on Earth. They joined my other decorative panels: “Peafowl paintings” in the lobby and “Foo dog paintings” in Nelum villa.

Michal Korman: Erealiya Villas & Gardens

 

Eraeliya Villas and Garden, Lobby in main Villa
Eraeliya Villas and Garden, Lobby in main Villa

 

Michal Korman: Peafowl paintings, 2x oil on canvas 140x70 cm, Paris 2014
Michal Korman: Peafowl paintings, 2x oil on canvas 140×70 cm, Paris 2014

 

Michal Korman: Villa Nelum
Michal Korman: Villa Nelum where my two small “chinoiserie” paintings are places at the entrance of a building.

 

Michal Korman: Shishi (female), oil and golden powder on canvas 72x60 cm, 2013 Paris
Michal Korman: Shishi (female), oil and golden powder on canvas 72×60 cm, 2013 Paris

 

Michal Korman: Shishi (male), oil and golden powder on canvas 72x60 cm, 2013 Paris
Michal Korman: Shishi (male), oil and golden powder on canvas 72×60 cm, 2013 Paris

 

Villa Bawana, dispositions of my works, photo: Eraeliya Villas
Villa Bawana, dispositions of my works, photo: Eraeliya Villas

 

Michal Korman: working on tondo
Michal Korman: working on tondo

 

Michal Korman: Sigiriya (A Blue Magpie of Ceylon), oil on canvas, 100 cm diam., 2016 Paris, Eraeilya Villas and Gardens
Michal Korman: Sigiriya (A Blue Magpie of Ceylon), oil on canvas, 100 cm, 2016 Paris, Eraeilya Villas and Gardens

 

Michal Korman: Anuradhapura (detail of work in progress), oil on canvas, 100 cm, 2016 Paris, Eraeilya Villas and Gardens
Michal Korman: Anuradhapura (detail of work in progress), oil on canvas, 100 cm, 2016 Paris, Eraeilya Villas and Gardens

 

Michal Korman: Anuradhapura (A Golden palm civet), oil on canvas, 100 cm, 2016 Paris, Eraeilya Villas and Gardens
Michal Korman: Anuradhapura (A Golden palm civet), oil on canvas, 100 cm, 2016 Paris, Eraeilya Villas and Gardens

 

Michal Korman: Kandy (A Sri-lankan grey hornbill), oil on canvas, 100 cm, 2016 Paris, Eraeilya Villas and Gardens
Michal Korman: Kandy (A Sri-lankan grey hornbill), oil on canvas, 100 cm, 2016 Paris, Eraeilya Villas and Gardens

 

Michal Korman: Sigiriya, oil on canvas, 100 cm, 2016 Paris, Eraeilya Villas and Gardens
Michal Korman: Sigiriya, oil on canvas, 100 cm, 2016 Paris, Eraeilya Villas and Gardens

 

Michal Korman: Kandy, oil on canvas, 100 cm, 2016 Paris, Eraeilya Villas and Gardens
Michal Korman: Kandy, oil on canvas, 100 cm, 2016 Paris, Eraeilya Villas and Gardens
Michal Korman: Anuradhapura, oil on canvas, 100 cm, 2016 Paris, Eraeilya Villas and Gardens
Michal Korman: Anuradhapura, oil on canvas, 100 cm, 2016 Paris, Eraeilya Villas and Gardens

 

Samaya Room, Eraeilya Villas and Gardens, photo: Andrew Torn
Samaya Room, Eraeilya Villas and Gardens, photo: Andrew Torn

 

The other room on the same floor: Ramaya, also has a painting that I’ve made in 2015, it serves as a cover of the TV board. The subject is young Rama during an evening puja in a pond surrounded by tropical flora:

 

Michal Korman: Young Rama at the pond, oil on canvas, 2 compositions of 75x90 cm each, Weligama 2015, Eraeliya Villas and Gardens
Michal Korman: Young Rama at the pond, oil on canvas, 2 compositions of 75×90 cm each, Weligama 2015, Eraeliya Villas and Gardens
Michal Korman: Young Rama at the pond, oil on canvas, 2 compositions of 75x90 cm each, Weligama 2015, Eraeliya Villas and Gardens
Michal Korman: Young Rama at the pond, oil on canvas, 2 compositions of 75×90 cm each, Weligama 2015, Eraeliya Villas and Gardens

 

Mirror, mirror… – art of portrait

Once again working on portraits. I think that artistic represention of a person is one of most challenging disciplines in art no matter if it does represent preson portrayed in hyperrealistic way or in Picasso style.
Personally, I do enjoy working on portraits very much.  There is always something exciting in waiting how person will react and understand the vision of someone else on his/her face or personality, if you want. Two Exemples of the same model I portrayed in 2008 and 2010. Look at this narrative composition consisting of three oils:

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

And same person portrayed two years later, the narrativeness is still to be found here, but it’s expressed in completely different way:

Michal Korman: Andrea, oil on canvas 73x90cm, Paris 2010, in private collection
Michal Korman: Andrea, oil on canvas 73x90cm, Paris 2010, in private collection

In 2008 I used sequel to get the story inside my painting, in 2010 it was a close up on a look out of frame which gives to my work that cinema-like feel Cindy Sherman use in her work too the one that makes the observer question about what the secret of the girl might be.

 

石獅

Shíshī in China or  komainu in Japan, chinese guardian lions ( often called Fu-dogs in Occident) as a element of far-eastern culture always fascinated me by on one hand  the meaning of this imporant symbol and on the other by this exoctic interpretation of the prinicpal of believes in far-eastern countries as an equivalent of religious folklore just as the virgin or a crucifix in christianity, star of David or mezuzah in judaism or a hand of Fathma in islam.
In Shanghai I have found a very beautiful example of the picturing the pair of these guardian lions – inspiring:

Michal Korman: Fu-dog Variation, oil on canvas 116x89 cm, Paris
Michal Korman: Fu-dog Variation, oil on canvas 116×89 cm, Paris

 

Michal Korman: You play with star in heaven while we..., oil on canvas two parts, 46x37,5 cm each, 2014 Paris
Michal Korman: You play with stars in heaven while we…, oil on canvas two parts, 46×37,5 cm each, 2014 Paris

 

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

 

 

Et in Arcadia ego

“For we brought nothing into this world: and certainly we can carry nothing out.” I – Tim 6:7

Popular as no other spiritual originated theme in painting (but may be charity) appears Vanity and contemporary society loves this ‘cutest of sins’ more than any other one to reflex it’s feeling about existence. I love vanity in it’s purest appearence washed out of pride and egoism, and jelousy and arogance, I prefer to look on it not as one of sins but rather as one of passions. All art besides being artificial is vain and all honest and intelligent artist must asume the fact that art and creation itself is an act led by nothing than vanity and the desire to give an ego or at least a part of it the possibility of existence outside one’s proper being. Nothing but a search for being admired outside of creator’s person in creation – hence a wish of being admired not once as a being but twice as a being and as a creator through own creation is what makes all artist an perfect vanity adept and nothing but him. If all is vain and all is but vainty, art is a most beautiful example of this neverending incorrigible vanity of humanity.  Think of death and enjoy the present day!

Vanity
Michal Korman: Death’s head ( fruits and flowers) oilon canvas, 81×100 cm, 2013 Paris
Michal Korman: Death's head ( Toledo Cross) oil on canvas, 61x50 cm, 2013 Paris
Michal Korman: Death’s head ( Toledo Cross) oil on canvas, 61×50 cm, 2013 Paris
Michal Korman: Death's head with parakeet, oil on canvas, 61x50 cm, 2013 Paris
Michal Korman: Death’s head with parakeet, oil on canvas, 61×50 cm, 2013 Paris

 

Michal Korman: New World Monkey death, oil on canvas 81x65 cm 2013 Paris
Michal Korman: New World Monkey death, oil on canvas 81×65 cm 2013 Paris

 

Michal Korman: Skull (after Bonnard) oil on canvas, 81x65 cm 2013 Paris
Michal Korman: Skull ( Bonnard est mort) oil on canvas, 65×81 cm 2013 Paris
Michal Korman: Skull (after Bonnard) oil on canvas, 65x81 cm 2013 Paris
Michal Korman: Skull (Denis est mort) oil on canvas, 65×81 cm 2013 Paris

 

 

Plants

Kingdom of Flora, so fascinating, inspiring artists since millennia is a welcoming theme to explore in contemporary creations even if floral motives may seem quiet old fashioned today. Not only Takashi Murakami’s psychadelic flower explosions or Don Sultan’s minimalistic compositions witness how the painters interprete their curiosity about plants.

Flowers:

Michal Korman: Les Fleurs, oil on canvas, 50x75 cm, 2012 - private collection Paris
Michal Korman: Les Fleurs, oil on canvas, 50×75 cm, 2012 – private collection Paris

If it’s by interest in flowers in bloom or in fruits, the message interpreted by floral compositions in art can be divers: a ‘memento mori’ in vanity paintings such as  marterfully composed arrangements of Dutch painters from Velvet Breughel to Van Gogh or ‘joie de vivre’ themed works of Monet and Georgia O’Keeffe. Painters all have one thing in common: curiousity about quiet life of of leaves and petals, richness of forms and colours one is ready to admire better on painting that in nature – but this is a story about human unsatisfaction with natural and fascination by artificial.

Ernestine Panckoucke - Bouquet de fleurs & Andy Warhol Kiku flowers
Ernestine Panckoucke – Bouquet de fleurs & Andy Warhol Kiku flowers
Orchids, ink on paper, 2008 Bruxelles - private collection Belgium
Michal Korman: Orchids, ink on paper, 2008 Bruxelles – private collection Belgium

Vegetal compositions in art can also be the source of narrative tendencies and may become a story teller or at least to help the artist in developping a story or to creat a mystery within his painting. You may wanter about summer vacations memories (who’s and from where?) in Peter Doig’s painting or about who put the Watering can in here in my work >>les Plantes<< and try to figure out how it is that we see all elements from above but there is no sign of observer’s (our) feet captured here:

Michal Korman: Les Plantes, oil on canvas 89x116,5 cm - Paris 2009
Michal Korman: Les Plantes, oil on canvas 89×116,5 cm – Paris 2009
Peter Doig: Flowers of Summer (Image - Michael Werner Gallery, New York)
Peter Doig: Flowers of Summer (Image – Michael Werner Gallery, New York)

Of course flowers can be only, as mainly used, a simple ornament decorating ancient egyptian tomb, pompeian villa or contemporary loft. In >Lotus Flowers< I worked on five cavases of the same size, the life of a flower from it’s bloom to past blossom just to show what different states if blooming of sacred lotus look like.

Michal Korman: Lotus flowers, oil on canvas 5 compositions 50x20 each, 2014 Paris
Michal Korman: Lotus flowers, oil and golden powder on canvas 5 compositions 50×20 each, 2014 Paris
Michal Korman: Lotus flowers, oil on canvas 5 compositions 50x20 each, 2014 Paris
Michal Korman: Lotus flowers, oil and golden powder on canvas 5 compositions 50×20 each, 2014 Paris

 

 

 

 

 

 

Korman au Maroc

>>Morocco was to me a revelation.<<  Winston Churchill states in one of his articles. It was just the same to me when I first discovered this magnificent country.  I dare say that Morocco is to Orient what Italy is to Europe, even if it were worth to add that the country is the very occidental one of all those we love to sum under the term of Orient. A revelation?! Yes, a very lovely one indeed.
I have visited Morocco several times. It has been haunting me for several years prior to my first trip there that took place in March 2008.  The travellers gate to Morocco is undoubtedly it’s legendary city – the one that has been charming adventurers long time before Sam was playin’ it again  in Casablanca – the Red city  or the Ochre city or City of Roses if you want – Marrakesh. I am happy that this mythical and once an imperial town has opened to me the way to discover the way to the Arab “West”. I think that who once tasted to Morocco and liked the sensation never can but to come back again.  I returned there three times more since my first enchantment with the parfumes and sounds and strange colours and atmospere and hot breeze in the South of the country in Sahara and cold mornings on the Atlas mountains foothill. For the second time in 2010 back to Marrakesh to remind me of this vivid city and in 2011 to enterprise a North African “Grand-Tour”  starting in Red city and couting new discoveries in Fez and Meknes, both very unique jewels of Morocco.
I have not been painting much after my second and following visits, but the first trip – the revealing one brought to me lot of inspiration.
There was a whole collection of various compositions themed Morocco (especially Marrakesh) with nine canvases. The core of this collection has been to my great pleasure sold together to private collectors from Belgium. The Chilly Morning in Marrakesh, The Grand View of Marrakesh and In the Gardens of the Koutoubia mosque – three principal compositions (now in p.c. Dubai, U.A.E) were only the top of number of compossitions I started to work on in Brussels, Belgium soon after this first trip, that followed the first painting executed in March shortly after my return: Roofs of royal palace in Marrakesh. The Old town Gate (in p.c. Haifa, Israel),  Noon in Medina (in p.c. Brussels, Belgium), The Minaret of Koutoubia (in p.c. Lyon, France)  and the Gate to the Olive Garden (in p.c. Prague, Czech republic) were exhibited in May of that year during BAAF exhibition in Brussles and the Southern View once again during the TLVAAF in Tel Aviv in 2010.
The Garden followed in 2011 – picturing Majorelle garden in Marrakech and two views of Marrakech and Fez in 2011 (both destroyed). Today I am about to paint another view of Marrakesh, the city so dear to me.

Chilly Morning in Marrakesh 40×40
Michal Korman: Chilly Morning in Marrakesh – oil on canvas, 40×40 cm, Brussels 2008 (Private collection, Dubai,U.A.E)
Michal Korman: Old Town Gate – oil on canvas, 38×45cm, Brussels 2008 (Private collection, Haifa, Israel)
Southern view
Michal Korman: Southern View – oil on canvas, 65×46cm, Brussels 2008 (Private collection, Slovakia)
Michal Korman: Minaret de la Koutoubiya, ink on paper
Michal Korman: Minaret de la Koutoubiya, ink on paper
Michal Korman: Medina of Fes, ink on paper
Michal Korman: Medina of Fes, ink on paper
Michal Korman: Marrakech, ink on paper
Michal Korman: Marrakech, ink on paper 56×73 cm

 

 

 

 

Les antiquités I (pairs and series)

The complete collection of my antiquity inspired paitings dating back to 2010 when started the Imago series with portrait of ‘Antinoos de Richelieu’ (Musée du Louvre). Using different techniques I have produced a series which counts several ‘portraits’ of famous marbles from biggest collections. Once again working with a principle of notoriety just like Andy Warhol used to do I dove into the kind of a greek/roman revival very own to the XVIII-XIX century accademicians.

Caracalla (2011)

Historians describe him as a man who stands behind death of his father, as a murderer of his brother and a lover of his mother, Gibbon calls him “the common enemy of mankind”. Nevertheless his beautiful viril face express perfectly aesthetic of roman stone portrait and the military character of artistic inspiration in ancient Rome.

Michal Korman: Pastiche Caracalla I, oil on canvas 80×100 cm, 2011 Paris
Michal Korman: Pastiche Caracalla II, oil on canvas 80×100 cm, 2011, Private collection – Paris

Herakles (2011)

Herakles Farnese bust from Metropolitan museum, New York reflects the idea of red and black-figured pottery of ancient Greece.

Michal Korman: Herakles, oil on canvas 73×60 cm, 2011, Private collection – Paris

 

Michal Korman: Herakles, oil on canvas 73×60 cm, 2011, Private collection – Paris

Antinoos (2011-2012)

Emperor Hadrian’s favourite and lover – a boy who became god: Antinoos.

Michal Korman: Small Imago (Antinoos), 65×50 cm, 2011 private collection, Paris

 

Michal Korman: Small Imago (Antinoos), oil on canvas 65×50 cm, 2012, Private collection – Paris

 

Michal Korman: Small Imago (Antinoos), oil on canvas 61×50 cm, 2012, Private collection – Paris

 

Michal Korman: Small Imago (Antinoos),  oil on canvas 65×54 cm, 2012, Private collection – Paris

Aphrodite (2012)

A masterwork of antiquity, this time so called Kaufmann Head – a copy of Praxiteles’ Aphrodite of Cnidus in the Musée du Louvre. According to some scupltor’s muse – a courtesan named Phryne stood as a model to this statue of the goddess of love, beauty and pleasure, patroness of lesbian/sapphic love – Aphrodite – the one who recevied from Paris a golden apple with inscrption: kallistēi (meaning to most beautiful one). This ancient deity present in various cultures does inspire poets, artists and musicians even today.

Michal Korman: Aphrodite, oil on canvas 46,5 x 38 cm, 2012 Paris

 

Michal Korman: Aphrodite, oil on canvas 46,5 x 38 cm, 2012 Paris

 

 

Francesco

In 1652 Bernini finished his work on bust of Francesco I d’Este, Duke of Modena – an artloving ruler of Modena and Reggio nell’Emilia. This portrait in marble which stands for what is considered (with the bust of French Sun King Louis XIV by the above mentioned sculptor) as an example and standard for monarchical portraiture in Europe for nearly two centuries to come.
Portrayed in rose and light blue on dark background, my painting hasn’t got much to do with magnificent but sobber portrait of the Duke by Diego Velasquez – let’s say that this is rather an Made-in-Japan-like representation of this grandious baroque piece of art not focusing on the personality of the ruler: something that represent the un-importance of being Franceso.

Michal Korman: Francesco, oil on canvas 80x100 cm, Paris 2012
Michal Korman: Francesco, oil on canvas 80×100 cm, Paris 2012

 

 

 

 

 

Das Schloß

126 years have passed since the opening of the famous Neuschwanstein castle to the public and since the death of Ludwig II of Bavaria that year; 90 years ago precisely Franz Kafka started to work on his last and longest novel The Castle, published in 1926. Two years ago, just after having finished reading of this Kafka’s novel I decided to re-work and put on canvas the image I have been working with several times before once agian. The beauty of Neuschwanstein castle I visited in 2007  was in such contrast with the heavy atmosphere of the novel that I get myself to work immediately trying to put these two inspirations together. Well, I know that Warhol and Richter did already a very good job on theme of this caslte but still this has showed itself as a quiet challenging issue to handle with. What I focused on mainly was a “Deceptions are more frequent than changes” quote from the Kafka’s unfinished opus. The result was rather late-19th-century-like bourgeois painting I’m very proud of.

Michal Korman: Das Schloß, oil on canvas 2010, 100×100 cm , Paris – Private collection, Slovakia

In contrast to this, some 3 years later, I got back to the theme of Neuschwanstein, this time approaching it in very different manner:

Michal Korman: Tannhäuser, ink on paper, app. 54x65 cm, 2015 Paris
Michal Korman: Tannhäuser, ink on paper, app. 54×65 cm, 2015 Paris

 

Michal Korman: Tannhäuser (detail), ink on paper, app. 54x65 cm, 2015 Paris
Michal Korman: Tannhäuser (detail), ink on paper, app. 54×65 cm, 2015 Paris

 

Michal Korman: Tannhäuser (detail), ink on paper, app. 54x65 cm, 2015 Paris
Michal Korman: Tannhäuser (detail), ink on paper, app. 54×65 cm, 2015 Paris

 

Ceci n’est pas une pipe

René Magritte: Ceci n'est pas une pipe, oil on canvas 1929, County Museum of Art, Los Angeles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’ (2010) is both a critique and hommage to modern and postmodern conception of view on art in which I have been inspired by an anonymous photograph found in a book giving to my work an dimension of a ready-made approach but at the same time I wanted to re-tell the object (the anal penetration/sex between two men) as a painting on canvas giving to the observer a possibility to assist to this sexual act in a very voyeuristic and anonymous way. I immediately associated this work to Magritte and his famous ‘Ceci n’est pas une pipe’ (1929) transfering meaning of the title of his canvas (‘This is not a pipe’) to :’This is not a blow-job’ because the French word ‘pipe’ could be translated as pipe and blow-job at the same time. What and for which reason do we decide to observe an art work, the scene it represents, and which sense are we ready to give it, and why ? – these were the questions that preoccupied me in my artistic research concerning this work of art.

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

Art of portrait 2

Once again inspired by my favourite maestro after having visited his exhibition in Centre Georges Pompidou: Matisse: Pairs et Series to focus on art of portrait. I took my favourite model’s beautiful face to start with a variation on famous Portrait de Lydia Delectorskaya (Hermitage museum, Saint Petersburg) and sketch her portrait split by an invisible line  dividing the colour composition of the picture into two parts not of the same size but of the same pictural value.  I represended  colour fields with help of cut coloured-paper and simply drew the portrait on this collage with black ink. It is quiet funny how this adventure based on Matisse went on very quickly to a rather familiar pop-art-like representation and turned (not so suprisingly) into warholesque painting.
Result? A very elegant portrait. I think that my graceful friend’s face dominating all the space within the composition has indeed got something of a Grace Kelly chic and charmant charisma.

Michal Korman: Karin, ink on diverse papers- collage, 38×32 cm, Paris
Portrait of Lydia Delectorskaya, 1947 64.1 x 49.7 cm / Hermitage, Saint Petersburg source:www.henri-matisse.net © Succession H. Matisse 2009
Andy Warhol: Reigning Queens: Queen Elizabeth II, 1985

 

A Garden

In the same way as in the beginning of discovering countries in search of inspiration during my first stay Italy hit me with immense beauty and I fell in love with it’s landscapes and light Morocco, and more precisely Marrakech, has got me charmed and mesmerised me by her strange and vivid colours.
As every city around the world Marrakech as well has got her jewels hidden among red walls and dusty streets – and the most beautiful of these jewels is undoubtedly Jardin Majorelle – a landscape garden of French artist Jacques Majorelle designed in early 20th century.
Seduced by it’s colours and painting-like composition I have found lot of inspiration there. “Immediately one thinks of Henri Matisse, for we are indeed at very centre of a Matisse, soaked in colour-chilly greens, acid yellows, and hot blues,” says Pierre Bergé.
During my second stay in Marrakech I re-discovered garden in strange, hot, dusty, and very pale atmosphere that has inspired me to a large canvas ‘A Garden’ – one that pictures the painter’s villa in heavy morning light under desert white sky.

Michal Korman signing A Garden, Paris 2011

 

Michal Korman: A Garden, oil on canvas 190x220cm, Private collection Slovakia

 

Venice-Florence-Rome, welcome back home

The Nocera Inferiore exhibits: Venice, Florence and Rome have arrived safetly back home!
The exhibition and learning program was realy enjoyable. There was also a very nice article that went on in IL MATINO (30.3.2012) interviewing the director of the San prisco museum, Don Natale Gentile.

Malou Verlomme’s photograph of Bishop in front of Venice
Michal Korman: Le Grand Tour d’après Corot (Venice) 2010, oil on canvas, 89×116 cm – private collection, Slovakia
Michal Korman: Le Grand Tour d’après Corot (Florence) 2010, oil on canvas, 89×116 cm – private collection, Slovakia
Michal Korman: Le Grand Tour d’après Corot (Rome) 2010, oil on canvas, 89×116 cm – private collection, Slovakia

The Mesmeriser

Here is the one – blast from the past. It finds itself in New York and I was particularly happy to offer him an American adventure. Considering it as one of my best paintings ever done I miss this strange fearless but full of doubts sight very much of course. The absence of colours underline quiet oppressive but very seductive atmosphere of the work. Ladies and gentlemen: the Mesmeriser.

Michal Korman: The Mesmeriser, oil on canvas 72,5 x 100 cm

ART FESTIVAL CHATEAU LAVAUX SAINTE ANNE

The Chateau Lavaux-Sainte-Anne show terminated on 29.7. There are still following painting available in Brussels based Cobalt International Gallery, you can contact me or the gallery @ http://www.cobaltinternationalgallery.com/ if you wish to consult the pricelist (prices start at 300€).

Michal Korman: Le Nu, oil on canvas, 50x40cm, Paris
Boy with dogs Michal Korman
Michal Korman: Boy with two chinese blue fu dog statues, oil on canvas 73x100cm, 2008 Brussels
Michal Korman: Pose with hidden breasts, oil on canvas 60×73 cm, 2009 Brussels
Michal Korman: An Island, oil on canvas 87×64 cm, 2009 Brussels