About Juri Zurkans painting
As a rule painters do not lose many words about their works,
but they would presumably have otherwise become writers.
expression is the paint, the composition of space, the light,
the human body with its varied gestures, they all play features
of the face. Juri Zurkan is such a painter of this tranquillity
and he loves the early Renaissance: Fra Angelico, Piero della
Francesca, Sandro Botticelli and Andrea Mantegna. The Italian
painters of the 14th century escaped from the medieval load
of the pictures and discovered the freshness spilled with
carefree heritage of antiquity. Thereby they discharged their
works of substantive overloading. Now the meaning lay stronger
in the reproduction of life itself, as well as it being delivered
in the paintings with antique treatises. The imitation of
life was the first aim of the paintings, and the more deceiving
these succeeded, the more perfect was the piece of art. In
this connection stands the famous legend of both rival Greek
painters Zeuxis and Parrhasius: Zeuxis painted in the competition
with Parrhasius so lifelike grapes that birds flew by to peck
at them. As a result Parrhasius introduced a painting on which
a linen curtain was to be seen. When Zeuxis asked impatiently
to push this aside, to consider the picture located putatively
behind it, Parrhasius finally, had the certain victory, because
he had deceived Zeuxis. The curtain was painted. (Plinius,
Nat. Hist. XXXV, 64)
With the Mimesis as an imitation of nature it is a matter
of translating the world of the visible phenomena on the surface
of the picture namely so skilful that the picture becomes
a representation of life itself. Before half a millennium
the cataclysmic renewal existed in the waiver from symbolic
Meta levels. Now the phenomena of nature, is painted around
itself for the sake of it. The clouds in the sky, the birds,
the trees, all set pieces of everyday life and people together
with the objects which they love. Of course the painter is
still the contractor who has to comply to the wishes of the
principal, but it is first and foremost about his perception
of the world surrounding him.
By the art of mimetic imitation he takes care of empathy out
of the life of this world which he translates into his works.
In addition, Mimesis as an aesthetic foundation is related
strongly to the art form of the theatre, where in the role
play the human old conflicts are acted out. Indeed many of
Juri Zurkans figures are like figures on a stage. Town sceneries
appear like scenery from mythical prehistoric times. The light
shines in all variations from delicate pink, lemon, light
blue, orange to reddish. It lends a strong visionary character
to the pictures. The figures are predominantly passive. In
itself dormant, which in consideration of an object submerges
deeply or in the reading of a book they look relaxed and concentrated
at the same time. Every now and then they hold bowls with
fruits like offering balancing on the palms of their hands.
The play of features of the human faces is often pensive and
knowing. The fall of folds indicate the movements of the body
and betrays somewhat of the titillating dynamics of its character.
Fragile they move by old walls, listen to dialogues carefully,
- or look in the distance. Like tightrope walkers without
nets, they move with somnambulistic security through the rooms
which have nothing to do with our century at all.
Recurring details like a cocktail glass, flowers, potted ornamental
shrubs, single fruits, scattered pearls or sounds without
strings lend a still life-like basic mood to the sceneries.
The sounds without strings have in their muteness a melancholy
tonic. Though the resonance body is there, without strings
he can bring no sound of melody. Thus the instrument remains
lying pointlessly as a sort of antique clutter in the picture.
The lute is also the instrument which one finds on old posters
in connection with the presentation of sibyls. These were
visionaries in ancient Greece who, intoxicated by essential
oils and other means, fell into a trance-like state, puzzling
around oracles predicting the future. They were considered
as muses Apollos, the God of the prophecy and the arts, which
is why, among the rest, the book and the sounds became their
In these strange figures breathes knowledge of the dangers
of life which has got lost in the contemporaries from today.
Besides, it concerns not only the human beings who walk towards
us, as like from a distant epoch but also animals like cats
or birds of paradise, with a very wide pheasant plumage. Every
now and then angels appear in the scenery, probably to influence
the events favourable.
The figures are in the harmony with her actions, with the
rooms in which they move, and with the nature. And although
they are not freely from internal tensions and the look speaks
in the distance of longing and grief, nevertheless, a cosmic
security always flashes warmth through the events. No healthy
world, but at least one world, where healing is possible.
The feeling of Modern Art, determined by the rupture between
inner life and outside world, the estrangement walking along
with it and mental alienation, all this is not perceptible
in Juri Zurkans pictures. Aesthetics and composition, colour
and sign language of the figures remind us of a strength which
is also effective in the paintings of old masters. This quiet
and dedication, the restrained melancholy and the slow rhythm
which determines the atmosphere of the pictures has got lost
in our fast-moving and loud time. Therefore, maybe the painters
who can still open such rooms to us, are so rare.
© Sanna Böswirth