“I have a voice, too, and for good or evil mine is the speech that cannot be silenced.” 
― Joseph Conrad, ‘Heart of Darkness’

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(C) JD Malat Gallery, London, 2018, ‘Mirror Of Darkness’by Zumrutoglu

I am sure that that many of you have often asked yourself a question, when it comes to all the bad, alarming things that happen in the world –  is it better to know or to not know? If knowing and being aware makes us feel sad and worried and if not knowing seems to preserve us from anger and sadness … wouldn’t it be better and easier to become ‘a happy ignorant’?

Before jumping to any conclusions, let’s take a closer look at the random facts.

There are charities and non-profit organisations that collect money that will never reach, nor support the people in need. There are food and pharmaceuticals giants who, in white gloves,  promote and sell products that slowly but effectively cause severe damage to human health and life.

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(C) JD Malat Gallery, London, 2018, ‘Mirror Of Darkness’by Zumrutoglu

There are governments that have right to decide about future of nations while being corrupted and full of deceit.That happens according to the rule presented by  B.Habyarimana  in “Pearls of Eternity’  that “The universe runs on the principle that one who can exert the most evil on other creatures runs the show.”

There are millions of cats and dogs adored and loved dearly and living with people at home. There are other millions that are beaten up and thrown away on the street every day. There are also millions of pigs, cows and chickens tortured and massively killed in the so called ‘food factories’.

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(C) JD Malat Gallery, London, 2018, ‘Mirror Of Darkness’by Zumrutoglu

These are only few examples of injustice, cruelty and violence in the world that aspires to  remain ‘The Happy & Green Planet’ ‘, where according to Christmas carols, we should all live  “ together, in peace and harmony”.

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(C) JD Malat Gallery, London, 2018, ‘Mirror Of Darkness’by Zumrutoglu

But  it would be fair to say that the world is only bad?

There is no deny that there are many examples of good deeds such as actions taken towards others who are in most miserable and hopeless place. There are generous initiatives brought to life as a result of altruism an uncalculated desire to help others, out of a pure need of the heart .

In is no secret that  we live in the world that is  full of contrasts and full of confusion.

Fortunately, in all this, there are contemporary artists who from their remote studios, filled with air smelling of  fresh paint, immersed in deeply philosophical thoughts, watch this world carefully, keeping a sharp eye on it, drawing their own conclusions and translating them into art.

Creating  astonishing and meaningful paintings becomes the artists way to show their care for the world, so when the artwork is finished and reaches the gallery walls – the minds of the art admirers could become the minds enlightened.

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(c) Fellow Artist, Henrik Uldalen at the JD Malat Gallery, London, viewing Zumrutoglu’s artwork 

I have no doubt that the role of the most significant contemporary artists that I have discovered so far and whose art I’ve managed to share with you on this blog,  does not intent to deliver only aesthetic delight, but more importantly, to create work  that allows the viewers to decode a very important message about the state of the world we live in.

By ‘important’ I mean a powerful, universal message, just like the one from1899, when the legendary writer of Polish origin, Joseph Conrad has shared with the world the first edition of his sensational ‘Heart Of The Darkness’.

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(c) Josph Conrad, Portrait, Pivate Collection 

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A brilliant example of ‘darkness exposed’ are the paintings of Turkish Master Zümrütoğlu (1970) and his recent series ‘Mirror Of Darkness’ exhibited till November 13 by one of the most influential and prestigious,  London’s Art gallery called JD Malat Gallery.

After I have seen the disturbing artworks by Zümrütoğlu, it became clear to me that the more darkness we will get to see, the more light we will be able to unleash and produce in return – simply because the black implies white and ‘knowing is half the battle’.

Similar observation I made when, some time ago, I have discovered the piercing and heartbreaking artworks by another modern master, Conrad Jon Godly (*1962). The Swiss painter has recently announced on his Instagram account, that he is going to be represented by the same gallery owned by an internationally recognized curator and art expert Jean-David Malet.

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(c) Conrad Jon Godly, ‘False Heroes’, from the series: Silent Cry, 2016.

Freud believed that sadism, or the desire to cause pain to another living being, is the result of a mix of sexual desire and aggression, which have biological and psychological bases and are a natural part of human nature.  Godly’s thrilling and deeply moving art goes even further than this – it makes us pay attention to is people’s desire to ‘feel in control’ and torture animals, the vulnerable species’.

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(c) Conrad Jon Godly, ‘Battered To Death, from the series: Silent Cry, 2016.

Both in the works of Zümrütoğlu and of Godly,   at the first sight we can notice the artists interest in the human psychology and human condition, the search for the source of the origin of evil, the cruelty that is usually born out of a loss of control or an instrumental desire to get something one wants— sex, money, power etc.

Could we understand what is “good”, if we have not examined or seen what is “bad”?  Is it even possible to do good, without having to fight against the bad?

The mondern painters, just like the writer more than a hundred years ago, encourage us to observe the darkness, look it deep in the eye, without looking away and ask ourselves a fundamental question – if there could be anything more important and profound than facing the truth,even if it is going to meanthat we have to enter a difficult and possibly painful ‘territory’ such as Darkness within ourselves.

“The mind of man is capable of anything–because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future. What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, valor, rage–who can tell?–but
truth–truth stripped of its cloak of time.” 

― Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

 

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