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MIKEL TEMO AND THE HYPOSTASES OF PAIN
The cycle of self-portraits he offers in this exhibition is part of that world art movement, aiming at revolutionizing contemporary portraits, avoiding any false prejudices and puritanism. (Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, etc.). The portraits of Mikel Temo are part of that division of the aesthetic reformation.
At first sight, the series of works "Silent Screams" shock you, but if we overcome such first instinctive psychological shock, caused by first contact, we will discover the deep art. Through his disarming honesty, we soon realize that the beauty of a painting does not necessarily coincide with its pleasant side.
We are dealing with an art that deliberately changes the appearance of things, not ironically or sarcastically, but based on a completely different feeling - admiration, love, anxiety, nightmare, fear, panic.
It is simple truth that feelings affect the way we see things, the world, and people. The works aim at expressing the transformation of all our sensations, under the influence of a sudden emotion.
Unlike Edvard Münch (1863-1944), one of the icons of modern art, who, in his masterpiece "The Scream", does not paint the man, but the scream, in a reduction of the details of the person who emits it, Mikel Temo does not shy away from anatomy and details, from plastic and materialized form. His scream is an inability to articulate, not only the sound, but more than that. We feel its deafness, the impossibility of hearing it, the drama of its inexpressibility. The screem remains an attempt.
The paintings prove strength. The human being reaches the peak of accumulation and has to burst, like an overflowing vessel under pressure. Temo entrusts all this to the portrait of the bewildered in suffering, through striking anatomical and psychological elements.
The self-portraits of Mikel Temo are realized in one of the most unusual periods, that of the pandemic, of the crisis, of all the cracks experienced by humanity. They can be read as a hint, as a metaphor of running away from the isolation, loneliness, nightmare, from all the crises modern man experiences.
Munch's iconic paintings, in addition to its unique plastic values, created the most vocal painting of despair, sadness, anxiety and melancholy in the world art. He stylistically influenced the German Expressionists, as well as the two great Austrian painters, Oskar Kokoschka and Egon Schiele.
The message of sadness, despair, existential anxiety unites the painting of Edvard Münch with the self-portraits' cycle of Mikel Temo. They are separated by style, but united by a common message. The deepest penetration into the loneliness and fear zone, the melancholy that is given with the voice, is the expression of human anxiety. The immense scream is a reflex of a deep crisis, of a repressive, oppressive feeling. Mikel Temo's self-portraits tense to the maximum; with extreme gesticulations, they want to let out a scream. His distorted portraits address themselves more as an act of self-liberation, than a transmission of pain. They unleash an indescribable horror. His gestures disgust.
All the anatomical elements of extreme and confused mimicry give concrete forms to anxiety, crisis, pain, despair and existential loneliness.
In his self-portraits, Mikel Temo does not cover the pain with make-up. He distorts reality to highlight the situation. It would be disingenuous for artists to see only the bright side of life. Mikel Temo does what the expressionists did, making the human sufferings directly as subject of depression, melancholy, revolt, poverty, violence, anger; he tends to see reality honestly. He himself becomes the mirror of this range of forms, putting the self-portrait at the center of this cycle.
It is, undoubtedly, a sudden and successful flow in modern Albanian painting.
Mikel Temo (1962) painter, sculptor, graphic artist, painting teacher and Director of the Monumental Painting Program at the University of Arts in Tirana, holds the title "Doctor of Science" in the field of Art Psychology. Since October 1998, he has divided his life among three countries: France, Canada and Albania. He remains one of the most contemporary artists, passionate of figurative and abstract research and discoveries, not only in terms of language, plastic tools, morphology, but also the syntax of the image and forms of art presentation.
RRuga Abdi Toptani, Toptani Center, Tirana, AL
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