ISSN 1409-6900 | UDK 82+7 Blesok no. 71-73 | volume XIII | March-August, 2010
Blesok no. 71-73,
Growing of the Light
The "White Phase" of Petar Mazev: From Experiment to Paradigm
In Skopje, despite the often questionable, yet loudly announced and uncritically presented foreign art collections and artworks of dubious quality by renown artists, we forget our authentic treasures. One of them is the painting of the “white phase” of Petar Mazev. I am sure that the works from this period can be proudly and doubtlessly successfully exhibited in the most developed countries of the world, under the assumption that the colonially inclined professionals would push their discriminatory consciousness to the margins in order to make room for other authentic values. The latter have been unknown to them so far due to the lack of curiosity for those who were a priory underestimated or at the very beginning evaluated with a negative axiological mark.
As time goes by, some artists, artworks or phases either fall into oblivion or their significance grows in an axiological sense. The paintings of the “white phase”, which is the title of part of the creative opus of the artist Petar Mazev (the artworks made from 1960 to 1966), belong to the latter, the ones whose value constantly grows.
On the 21st of October 1968 the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) in Skopje opened the exhibition of the “white paintings” by Mazev. This date marked the recapitulation, the synthesization and the closure of his engagement in the field of the Informal Art, with this final event – a brilliant crowning of this discourse which will only later, following the opening of the new facilities of the MCA with the display of the Faculty of Fine Arts with Mazev as a professor and dean, emerge as the charisma, the magic and the influence of maestro Mazev on the young generations. Some of them are today one of the best Macedonian artists: Jovan Šumkovski, Blagoja Manevski, Slavčo Sokolovski… 
1. The exhibition includes works with a different geometric order which announce the Informal phase (Landscape, 1959, from NGM, Composition, 1960, owned by Živko Icev) when the division of the canvas into two zones occurs, with a clearly distinguished dark and light parts (for Mazev this is the line of the horizon that divides the earth/sea from the sky), which anticipate the white phase. This contrast, further on, gave rise to the non-figurative works with a different attitude towards the light and the dark. The paintings taken into consideration were mainly made in the first half of the 1960s with a dominant white color. The presentation is concluded / ended with a few artworks whose seemingly non-referential structure includes fragments of figures, but what remains unchanged is the attitude towards the structure / facture of the matter (rough / rustically treated) and the affinity for the white: Old Man, 1967. Macedonian Woman, 1968, Bride. 1971.
2. The exhibition was held in the Salon on 34 Gjuro Salaj street. The entire street was blocked. “For the first time in Skopje it was not only that the large exhibiting room was packed, but people were waiting in lines to see the exhibits…” A. P. in: Waiting lines for the attendance of an art exhibition, Večer, Skopje, 28.10.1966. Since then, there has never been enough room for all the interested, wherever his exhibition was opened. The retrospective exhibition in 1990 filled all of the exhibiting rooms in the Museum of Contemporary Art.
3. My colleague Liljana Nedelkovska in her text on the Informal Art in Macedonia points two artworks by the most influential Macedonian painter Mazev, made in that period: Landscape from 1962 and Burned Landscape from 1963. Nedelkovska, Liljana, in: Informal Art: 1959-1966 A short history of the Informal Art in Macedonia, Museum of Contemporary Art, Skopje, 10.04.2009.
"Blesok" editions 01-88 are also available at CEEOL web site.
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