- Prof. Dr. Ferid Muhic
They say god created the world out of nothing. The tragic feeling of life, obsessive inspiration of the art works and philosophy which enables the nothing to be seen, peaks through everything.
Very few art works succeed to lift the faith in life and vital energy to the highest rank. This is an impressive exhibition which I can compare with an alchemical process. It fulfilles the dream of the achemist of getting gold from the dark metal, transform cold to hot, build life in the lifeless and shape it in a form of joy. The lifeless, inorganic, impressed as a fossil in the ancient layers, is brought to light to show to the world that it is full of life, just as life is full of death. Almost like drawings in the steel, are the sketches of the universality of life, which brake through the shadow of death like a himn of life, full of sentiment, cheerfulness and liveliness.
What is fascinating is Meri's way to show how inside the emptiness, fullness is visible through creative conception.
Meri's sculptural world
- Ljubiša M. Kocic
Since I first time saw Meri’s sculptures, it seemed to me that 3D space is too tight for her versatile palette of plastic forms. Then I considered the analogy: if a painter or graphic artist visually “thinks” in 3D space, a sculptor has to do this in a space with at least one more dimension. At that time, I came to the rash conclusion that “Meri thinks in four dimensional spaces”. But, temporarily I understood that I am not right. Since, if somebody skillfully “navigates” along an extra-coordinate of historic symbolism, then this number rises to five. However, it is not all. Meri uses one more dimension. This is the typical female, sixth sense used by her as an unusual sculptor’s knife to make slices through History of Art, jumping from one style to another, as light as a bird. That is how I came to 6D space, the space that her creative thoughts seemed to move through. But now, I am not so sure...
Because, how to explain all these archaic Goddesses that look so modern and human at the same time, all these gynaecomorphic dishes that radiate with strong maternal messages, all these archetype motifs and ornaments. How to explain lightness of wavy concrete or noble surface of polished brass which harmonically estimated volume hides the embryo of mother’s womb, and, simultaneously marks the Cosmic egg explosion that created the Universe once the word had been spoken. And this word is present through all dialects of Babylonian language that Meri’s sculptures speak up partly in Sumerian clay, partly in Chaldean stone, partly in Achaean metal.
In those ancient pre-Hellenic times, “when heavens had had no names” warm and fertile Mediterranean passed through “the most poetic part of humankind history” as Bachoffen used to say. It was matriarchate times when mother’s homicide was a crime that could not be atoned. It was times of worshiping of Supreme Goddess, Great Mother, Trinity Goddess, different names for the same idea. Later varieties include Isis, Ishtar, Inanna, Ashtart, Demeter, Aphrodite, Hera, Teana. But, iron armed Achaeans had come and swept away old temples and forced male Deity. There had been riots. One of the first was Pythagorean. The brotherhood claimed that expelling female principle out of the human souls might bring chaos in the world. The brotherhood claimed that their wisdom is not based on Greece but on the older wisdom of pre-Hellenic times. Of course, they were claimed to be heretics doing black magic and orgies, else why they accept female members in brotherhood?
In her intention to get Goddess back to our world, Meri may be understood as follower of the holy Pythagorean tradition. Her sculptures testify about this, as we will see.
I was free to group her works into four main groups: A) Constructive-geometric manner; B) Archetypal & ornamental and C) Isomorphals (a term coined from mathematical term isomorphic); There also a smaller group of pieces being characterized by synthesis of A and B (let’s call them AB group).
Group A) Constructive-geometric manner (Cosmic love, Eternal fertilization, White goddess, Prayer, Geometry of woman, Bride) contains sculptures having firm, geometric form and predominantly tetrahedral structures. Tetrahedron gives stability and stiffness to Meri’s Goddesses with a clear idea behind: physical strength of Goddess is metaphor for her moral strength. She protects fruit of her womb by gesture that does not allow any objections.
In Cosmic love the Goddess has triangular face of Cycladic idols. It rhythmically replay the triangular hole in the middle triangle of the body. In Eternal fertilization the Goddess has fluttered hair, and through the crevice headed towards Heavens, get fertilized by cosmic energy with hands making a protection gesture. The wire grating represents stable position of legs (again a tetrahedral motif) with DNA spiral of life code. The piece entitled White goddess is recollection on early Neolithic times, when there had been White Goddess temple down at Balearic Islands being so poetically described by Robert Graves. Prayer is one more tetrahedral construction of great emotional strength and interesting surface modulation. Here came brilliantly stylized sculptures Geometry of woman and Bride.
Group B) Archetypal & ornamental (Spirals, Mother of the sun, Windows, Three Maries) those are mainly Goddesses-dishes that keep and protect life inside, tastefully decorated from the outside by ornaments borrowed from the rich ethnic treasure of Macedonian tradition. One can find also some universal symbols (like Sun, sea waves) modeled and articulated following Macedonian traditional manner. Sometimes, like in Three Maries, dishes are transformed into flat boards where ornamentation is thou richer. Motifs are taken from folk embroidery, from traditional architecture. Bat there are double spirals (meanders) the ancient Mediterranean motif deduced from eddies in Sea that gives and supports life. Meander-like ornaments had been found far beyond Mediterranean area like in African, Asian even Australian primitive art.
Group AB) Synthesis (She, Energy of life, Provocation) Piece She as well as Chinese works Energy of life and Provocation are kind of synthetic treatment of Constructive-geometry, Archetypes and Ornaments. What is common is crystalline clarity and reduced constructive geometry in presence of symbols and ethno details.
She is almost a minimalist concept ennobled with mysterious appearance of letter “omega” which author was not aware of until it was brought to her attention by the art director of the Florentine Biennale. But, in the light of the newest theory of quantum mechanics about anthropic character of the Universe, Creator was involved as a necessary theoretical subject needed to be present at the End of the Time. This final observer physicists call “Omega point”. It may be that Meri unconsciously predicts that “Omega point” will be Goddess?
Also, maybe unconsciously, Meri introduces male elements in her constructions, like in the sculptures Energy of life and Provocation that adorn Park of sculptures in Chinese town Chang chun. It can be seen as Meri’s contribution to the process of getting back the equilibrium of male and female principle in the World.
Group C) Isomorphals (Still movement, With hands in her hair, Dancer, Rising Goddess, Behind the shawl, I have lost and forgotten my shawl�, She is here, Eternal game) Yet another group of works distinguishes themselves sharply. First three, Still movement, Dancer and Rising Goddess are answers to the challenge being posed by problem of dimension transformations. All of them “rise” from the plane in 3D space. Meri gave her answer originally, effective, sincere and witty. In With hands in her hair she even found place to stress hair detail, hear that symbolized essence of life (Horus, Samson, Visigoth kings). Pieces Behind the shawl and I have lost and forgotten my shawl on a trip, but, it still remembers all the hugs, and HIS arm over my shoulder may look a bit like Dadaist ready-made objects, but they are far from this. These witty conceptual works are fine intellectual mixture of emotive charge and subtle, unspoken story. Experiments with parallel layers in the wire cage (She is here) and tube construction (Eternal game) also fall in this class. In both cases, there is interplay of dimensions surface-volume, line-surface, line-volume. Of course, She is in the middle of attention.
This exhibition shows real horizons of Meri's visual world. It ranges from Paleolithic primitive forms to Cubism, Pop art and Post-modernism. Her volumes are rational but still fantastic, modest but still rich, ethnographic but still abstract. There is a hint of surrealism here and touch of cubism there. Some pieces are dynamic as Carpeaux’s sculptures some are mysterious as Lipchitz’s ones. Obviously, Meri, like a real Big Mother has tendency to embrace all sculptural styles and movements. She plays with child's ease with her sun-colored clay as well as with iron and concrete. And she does it with elegance an erotic charge of a real lady.