Blesok no. 92, September-October, 2013
(On Filip Fidanovski’s exhibition “The Last Supper,” 21.10. 2013)
A round table, a table cloth, a set for a dozen guests. It is almost immaterial whether this scene reminds us of a diner tableau or that it staged as such in a gallery space, the artist’s concept – based on commonplace objects, in this case a set of decorative plates – does not change in its essence. Consciously playing with the otherwise thin line separating art from design, Filip Fidanovski acknowledges the dilemmas surrounding visual provocations when faced with the art of portraying people from his immediacy, or the motivation for placing the ceramic-creative processes in a kind of equilibrium with their other, more utilitarian function, while lastly attempting to beget something fresh, something different, though hidden behind a monochromatic aesthetics, as it reveals multiplied messages and ideas that can easily articulate a way to communicate, emotionally, with the audience.
At a first glance: a work quite intimate, seriously personal, taking into account the choice for depicted characters adorning the objects – friends and family, including also a self-portrait. This in turn is strengthened by the immediate association that comes to mind – the ritual of breaking bread, i.e., the symbolism of sitting side by side on a shared dining table, one that despite the guaranteed pleasure that comes for the body and the senses through the acts of food serving and consumption offers a kind of communion for the soul, in a special shared moment of intimacy. As in Plato’s Feast, each participant in this dinner-hour conversation enriches the staged festivities by offering his or her own speech on love, Eros and beauty, henceforth each of Fidanovski’s little dinner chats with his loved ones, remains preserved by these artistically spiced plates as certain mementos for the portrayed person, accompanied by the emotional bond stemming from the lived moment of intimacy.
This intimate story is at once omnipresent and pronouncedly universal, thus at the core of Fidanovski’s most recent addition to his opus, we discover numerous recurrent metaphors, adding onto some of his previous pieces. Namely, the black-and-white ceramic tiles from the Time For exhibit also playfully displayed the artist’s friends and loved ones, as well as the symbolism of the number 12, primarily linked to numbers on a clock. The myth-religious associations also go along the lines of the number of months in a year or the signs of the zodiac, however, this time around, they are mostly linked to Christian mysticism; even the exhibition’s title points to an evident connection to the apostles’ secret dinner, when they shared their last meal together, wine instead of blood and bread in place of body. Hence, Fidanovski’s plates signify closeness shared among friends who dine together, as their souls are transplanted through a heightened sense of mystic completion. The meals which the artist shares with each of his friends carry within them a fragmentary transplantation of each character, individually, but most of all a kind of self-transplanting, of one’s soul, energies, time, emotions, through the other; perhaps this is the reason why Fidanovski’s face is to be found amidst the exhibited pieces, surrounding by his close female friends. Which begs the question – why are all, sans the artist’s character, those of women? Though perhaps a mere accidental choice, it does open up the gendered prism through which Fidanovski juxtaposes himself vis-à-vis the women in his life, using the staged shared dinner as a mental framework for shared thoughts, feelings, ideas and sensations. It seems that we too can trace the joy behind the act of transplanting the secret of the artist’s soul onto/through the female principle, as one complementary to the male one when striving to achieve a sense of wholeness, thus manifesting itself in life and in art. If we take said symbolism a step further and add onto it, namely Celtic mythology’s King Arthur’s round table and his twelve nights, Fidanovski’s round table directly addresses the equality shared by all who sit around it, which in turn, represents a powerful symbolical expression on gender sensitivity and inclusivity.
In short: Filip Fidanovski’s concept advocates for a world whence the dining table will be off limits to the (un)friendly traitors, the odd 13s, Judases and jinxes, hence a world whence close familiar encounters will be nothing short of ceremonial events par excellence, a world where creativity breads through and across the artistry of living, and definitely a world whence industry is invited to share a meal alongside art.
Translated by Bela Gligorova