The Opening of Goran Nikolić’s Exhibition – “All Faces of One Mask”

All Faces of One Mask

All Faces of One Mask or Portrait of a Mature Artist are attempts to decipher the fundamental processes to which Gordan subjects his painting substrates, as well as himself, in order to achieve the visual and plastic shaping of ideas.

A lifelong career, a multitude of works, remaining faithful to one’s first love, returning to one source of inspiration with the same passion. Persevering without hesitation, not losing focus. Dedicating oneself to one painting and one woman, one format. Always approaching one’s work with renewed inspiration, as a creative being, justifying one’s youthful expectations, despite various unsettling external and inevitable factors. Not becoming discouraged or pessimistic because colors are the reward, never comforting but primal, like the need for the survival of passion. In the world of anti-aging, one artist has preserved his youth with the vitality of passion. One Japanese mask was once a cup of green tea to an artist, a daily dose that erased the artist’s wrinkles and maintained positive thought. It has iconically remained hanging on the wall, overseeing and accompanying the process of each emerging painting, approving or correcting the artist when he himself has doubts about whether it is the end or if there is more to play with.

In the beginning, it’s just paper that demands someone’s necessities, surrender, commentary, and empathy. Between the paper and the artist, a whirlwind of sudden instincts that the artist manages to articulate and gradually build into a complex work. Time becomes a very stretchy concept because it records completely different time sequences in which the artist feeds his work. Colors continuously juxtaposed, colors as a medium for conveying inner potentials. All layers have survived, each having its moment of finality as it is succeeded by the next in a surge of roughness, tenderness, remorse, and redemption. All these artistic impulses have been absorbed by color, recorded like archival material. Over the painted layers, surface or engraved drawings have imposed themselves, subtle or strong, indifferent or passionate.

“…It watches, it wanders. A solitary line, wishing to remain as such so that it can maintain its distance, a line that does not submit, blind to the material. Neither a ruler nor a follower, especially not subservient. Later, there emerge signs, certain signs. Signs tell me something. I would go my own way, but the sign is also a warning to stop. And at that time, I have another desire that stands above all others. I would like some continuum. Continuum as a whisper, with no end, similar to life, which keeps us pushing on, more important than any quality.”

Henri Michaux, Notebooks

Gordan is continuously dedicated to the process of building a painting, but all his actions are heterogeneous, often ambivalent in that overwhelming desire to give the best of everything to the painting. Sometimes the color is of strong intensity, sometimes pastel, the entire range of lines happens to that painting, swings and subtle submersion, excitement and calming. The alternation of cold and warm through the dominance of color or drawing has produced so many versions of that one painting, whose beauty lies in the diversity of all the stages it has gone through. Each painting could be a separate document of the moods and situations that a person or artist experiences on a daily basis.

Gordan’s creative outbursts have escaped into a space between abstraction and figuration. Sometimes he fragmented the mask with such enthusiasm, sometimes he abandoned it through partial abstraction. Nevertheless, it remained, like a mother, like the earth, origin, or talent. It symbolizes all the shadows that accompany us, or our own shadow the only one we can never escape from.

If in the beginning there was paper and before that, a mask, what is the end, and is the end possible, or is it just a limited human thought about the finality of the world? Or just one of his paintings? The portrait of an artist is impossible to finish, so Gordan continues to tease that immortality, sometimes playfully, sometimes cautiously, but always wisely and maturely. His gesture is enduring, like haiku poetry, orgasmic and lyrical; the artist perseveres in the process of creation, where he is both free and secure.

“Moving fast in the wrong direction is better than not moving at all.”

Haruki Murakami

Mira Vujović

Art Historian

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