Zharko Basheski, born 1957 in Prilep, is a Macedonian sculptor and professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Skopje. His point of view in his work is turned towards the human, hence the interest in hyper realistic approach in shaping the concept of the work, which in the theoretical projection exceeds hyper realism, talks about life and the world in which we live. In his work there are several elements which are new to the world of sculpture and that makes his latest work different: the concept, contemporary views of human condition through self- observation, technical production and use of new materials (resin polyester, poly marble, silicone, natural hair), the hyper- realistic treatment, size of the work, the philosophical approach – all of which, when combined in one, offer a multi-layered reading of the artwork. Currently he is a member of National Board for Accreditation and Evaluation, Senate of UKIM and Inter-University conference. From 1999 to 2009 he was head of the Department of Sculpture at the Faculty of Fine Arts. His work has been presented at several international exhibitions. He has been the recipient of numerous awards. Much of his work is part of private collections all around the world.
Asphyxia (silicon, nylon, natural hair; 200 x 180 x 160 cm), is a powerful symbol of man’s existential condition in the modern world.
‘ASPHYXIA’ is an artistic reaction to the modern society – the everyday attacks and pressures on the individual. We are all suffocated with the impossibility of living in some sense – not literally narrative, but metaphorically, of the overall social situation as the reason behind. In a way, the artwork is a critique of society, especially the pressures of the “stronger” and “bigger” to the “weaker” and “smaller”, in every way – social, political, economic. The sculpture embodies the moment between life and death, and it can be understood as a desperate cry of the mankind, dying in a suicidal agony.
What the observers see is a terror-stricken, suffocating face of a man’s head, fighting for breath in a transparent plastic bag, while images of beautiful and pleasant memories of his life run inside his mind (by way of a video projection, adding a multimedia element in the artwork). The sculpture is created in a way that is simulating human flesh and skin – by using silicon, artificial paints and hairs, so as to highlight man’s intrinsic carnal character, his physical presence in the world, amidst the emptiness, the void, in which only images of memories float. The projection of this deluge of recollections at the moment of death emphasizes the presence of death in this work even more. This work is at the same time a symbol of a world where Eros (the life instinct) is subordinated to Thanatos (the death instinct).
Ordinary man (polyester resin, fiberglass, silicone, hair; 220x180x85 cm) is the epitome of the desire and the effort of the ordinary man as an individual to rise above himself and thus overcome himself. It is an embodiment of the everyday strive towards self-surpassing.
The story told by each individual figure starts with the resilience of man emerging from the ground (defined as mother-earth or environment) which, through/with the collective subconscious (a metaphor contained in the historic imaginary figure), come together in the tension and uncertainty reflected in the “small” character (the author, the creator). In all of them together, as in every individual portrait, in different ways there is a strong reflection (even poetic) of dramatic tension which suggests anticipation, and the psychological moment is underlined in relation to the usual hyper-realistic process of strict photographic, unemotional depiction and interpretation.