Sinisha S. KASHAWELSKI
Born in 1969 in Kumanovo, Macedonia.
Finished a College of Applied Arts in Skopje, Macedonia, where he also graduated at the Faculty of Fine Arts
A member of DLUM (National Artists Association of Macedonia)
A member of ,, Societe des Artistes Francais"
A member of ,, SOCIÉTÉ DU SALON D’AUTOMNE -Paris "
A member of Académie des Arts-Sciences-Lettres de PARIS
A member of "MONDIAL ART ACADEMIA"
An author of many individual projects and exhibitions in Macedonia and abroad
1998 - "Konstantin Mazev‚‚ painting small format КИЦ Скопје
2012 - "Medaille de bronze ‚‚ Salon des Artistes Francais /Grand Palais /Paris
2013 - "Medaille d`argent,, Salon des Artistes Francais /Grand Palais /Paris
2014 - "Medaille d`or,, Salon des Artistes Francais /Grand Palais /Paris
2015 - "Medaille d`or,, Salon National des Beaux Arts / Louvre / Paris
2015 - "Dimitar Kondovski" DLUM (National Artist Association of Macedonia)
2016 - ''Prix ADAGP '' Le Salon des Beaux Arts / Louvre/ Paris
2016 - 1st PRIZE WINNER of PALM ART AWARD / Germany
2017 - 1st Absolute Prize in the Paintings section / Marchionni Prize / Italy
2017 - Kitz Award 2017 / Austria
2018 - TOP 10 Artist of the Year Award from Circle Foundation /France
2018 - Winner of Art Expo Venice / Italy
2018 - Golden Medal of Merit and Contribution to Art in 2018 by French 'Société Académique' Arts-Sciences-Lettres/ France
2019 - Golden Medal in category "surrealism and symbolism" awarded by the Mondial Art Academia
2019 - Golden Medal in "all categories" awarded by the Mondial Art Academia
2019 - "ISMAIL LULANI' International Award , Second Prize winner VIZart International Biennial "Self -Portrait " Tirana/Albania
2020 - Winner in Oil Medium (Artist Category) , Jumbish World Art Competition 5.0 - Portrait theme / India
2020 - Grand Winner (Artist Category), Jumbish World Art Competition 5.0 - Portrait theme / India
2020 - 2ND PLACE-TIE AMERICAN ART AWARDS 2020 /CATEGORY- POLITICAL COMMENTARY / USA
2020 - Catalogue Prize - Malamegi Lab16 - art prize / Italy
2023 - Grand Prix du Conseil Departamental des Vosges. du 37e Salon de Peinture et sculpture de Vittel / France
2023 - Prix Taylor /Le Salon des Beaux Arts /Réfectoire des Cordeliers / PARIS / septembre 2023
2024 - Golden Medal in category "CONTEMPORARY FIGURATION CATEGORY" awarded by the Mondial Art Academia
2024 - 2nd Place Award / The CFA Artist of the Year Award 2023-2024
2024 - GRAND PRIZE / BEST PAINTER OF THE YEAR at the Best Art Awards 2023 competition
Commissioned to do a number of paintings for Museum of the Macedonian Struggle-Skopje , Macedonia
Commissioned to paint the ceiling of the National Theatre in Skopje Macedonia
- Lives and works as an independent artist in Saint-Paul-de-Vence - France and Kumanovo - Macedonia
-My art is predominantly based around surrealism, finely knitted with
motives which come out from the reach Macedonian tradition. My works unite
elements structured of realism of the old masters coupled with surrealistic elements
structured around our past, present and future. Most of my works are done in
oil on canvas, however I do endeavour to use my skills in producing icons on
wood done in the very best traditional Byzantine style; something that is
still present and well preserved in my country. I also do mix media works
staging both traditionalism and surrealism.
Socialist realism, that developed in the third decade of the 20th century, embodied the official art of the Soviet Union and the socialist countries of Eastern Europe until the collapse of communism. This literary and artistic stream reflected the ideals of interdependence between practical and theoretical activity elaborated by Marx and Engels, who postulated an art faithful to social reality, developed from tangible values and not from abstract ideals and capable, in turn, of creating concrete values. The main function of art was to celebrate socialist progress through recurring themes such as the class struggle, the alliance between peasants and workers, the history of the labor movement, the daily life of workers. Although Marx and Engels did not intend to reduce art to a pure tool of propaganda and controversy, these objectives have in fact oriented teaching in the Academies of Fine Arts for decades towards rigorous technical training and very rigid figurative and ideological standards. The consequences are still burning in the poetry of many contemporary artists originating in the geographical areas historically affected by the Communist Revolution, just think of the monographic project Subversion to Red of the Macedonian artist Nada Prlja presented at the 2019 Venice Art Biennale, a subversive return to the “forgotten” notions of idealism and ideology through the critical rereading of the postulates of Marxist theory and leftist thought.
This introduction frames the cultural background of the Macedonian Sinisha Kashawelski (1969, lives and works in Kumanovo), whose paintings combine Macedonian pictorial tradition and cultured quotes from the history of art with a perturbing surrealist style. In his paintings, made in oil on canvas (but occasionally on wooden boards such as the ancient icons of his native country), different styles and suggestions blend in intriguing dreamlike visions that look at art consecrated by history with extreme freedom. His recurring subjects are solitary human figures, most of which females, placed almost like mannequins in the midst of other elements that are part of the painter’s studio furnishings and which are recomposed in essential object theaters. The compositional structure of the paintings, characterized by tall and narrow formats and from a slightly lowered point of view, recalls the great religious paintings of the late Renaissance, when the niches of the polyptychs placed on the altars were inhabited by three-dimensional saints and blessed realistically, despite the overall symbolic idealization of the image. Even the characters of Sinisha Kashawelski stand in a hieratic frontal position like enigmatic idols stuck inside space of geometric sharpness, made incongruent by the recurring “vanishing” of the figures at the base as if the color melted or became fog, revealing illusory nature of the image.
The figures are characterized by the solemn gestures of sacred or regime painting and by peculiar object-attributes that once again recall the escamotages of figurative hagiography, in which the lives of the saints were synthesized by the objects that functioned as vehicles of their miracles and by martyrdom tools. In this case, the attributes are weapons (or things that are harmless as such), communist symbols (represented as objects or mimicked by the characters’ gestures), books and propaganda slogans, but also absurd elements taken from reality according to refined Magritian nonsense. This is a Picturesque cultural operation, in which these granite symbols of ideological power and strength crumble before our eyes becoming mere empty presences, almost toys that stage the story in the form of a puzzle, with the intent to unlock its true meaning.
The bright and crystalline light that plastically defines the characters and their objects in clear atmospheric tonalism triggers a suggestion of airiness. Still, there is nothing naturalistic about it, and everything lives in a purely mental dimension. The complex game of interrelations between symbolic elements, hyper-realistic punctiliousness, and lucid hallucinations, combined with the refined aesthetic irony, suggests that painting for Sinisha Kashawelski is also a staging of the very problem of the integrity of the plastic values of painting, conducted with an approach always in the balance between hedonistic and propagandistic vision. This research, which becomes a disturbing metaphor for the deceptive manifestations of history, leads him to create his pictorial idols with maniacal attention to detail, charged with symbolic intentions, whose reliability is, however, immediately contradicted by the aporias of the combinations between the various elements. The strange contamination between idealism, rationalism, and surrealism that results from it, arises in him as a reaction to a historical legacy he distrusts, but which he painfully feels like an indispensable part of himself.
In these enigmatic atmospheres, which arouse in the observer a feeling of waiting for who knows what development or an always denied ideological revelation, the artist’s fascination for the monodic theme of the idealized female portrait engages, an iconography that marks his style making it unmistakable. The maliciously angelic faces of his heroines express an intriguing sensuality in brazen contrast with the poses and attitudes that wink to those of the Madonnas and saints in the art history reinterpreted through the filter of socialist realism as ordinary people and workers. The exhausting beauty of these women, who Salvador Dali would have liked for their “dazzled and hallucinated by wax” quality, has fallen into a pseudo-mystical reverie capable of reinventing an entire formal tradition in terms of a hollow mystery, but at the same time to demystify the ideological significance of this cultural critique operation to a triumph of eroticism and desecrating irony.
Art Critic Filippo Monelli
JULIET ART MAGAZINE
At the center of Sinisha Kashawelski's visual analysis, we find man and woman.
Men and women, who have always been "investigated" in art. They are trans- formed
into the representation of precise states of mind. In those I want to define his
"whisperings of the soul", the artist bears witness to his most tacit emotions. The goal of
art is to get excited and excited. The figures of Sinisha are living creatures. People who
know the gardens of Eden, but at the same time sink into those infernal depths from
which sooner or later we must go up. At the same time, the artist paints enig- matic
figures that travel through new labyrinths of knowledge. Real visual enigmas d here by
the artist. Enigmas whose solution lies in the genius of his mind. An artist able to
delineate a path that has in the complexity of the sign its start ing point. A visual
pentagram to be read with great care in order to catch the right shades. A new visual
alphabet whose symbolism conceptually refers to the complex ity of the human intellect.
Ideally the artist takes us back to the labyrinth of Knossos in which Theseus aims to
unveil the enigma of the Minotaur. Kashawelski's painting is a painting that strongly
screams its truths. A painting able to fascinate the distracted eyes of the spectator. His
figures go to occupy the canvas with great sign and lin- guistic harmony. They are
figures projected in silent settings, in a suspended time that come out with great force
Art critic / Italy
Painters Who Just Painted While The Art World Burned
“Art doesn’t give rise to anything in us that isn’t already there. It simply stirs our
curious consciousness and sparks a fire that illuminates who we have always wanted to be.
” Kamand Kojouri
“I do not understand why, when I ask for grilled lobster in a restaurant, I'm never served a cooked
telephone.” Salvador Dali
"One can show one's contempt for the cruelty and stupidity of the world by making of one's life a
poem of incoherence and absurdity.” Alfred Jarry
Dali once said that it was because people love a good mystery that they like his paintings. It is
also true that literal reality is just a meaningless bore without interpretation that creates a personal
visual language unique to the artist, dreaming his own reality. For some, like Dali and other
Surrealist painters, visual content should be an incoherent game , where the viewer connects
symbolic dots, like a rebus, and finds meaning through a greater visual whole assembled with
various incongruent parts. The narrative becomes a pure sound emanating from what can seem,
on the surface ,as nonsensical cacophony. This is the painters realm of intuitive lateral thinking
that offers an answer to the questions that literal reality asks.
For Macedonian painter Sinisha Kashawelski, the act of painting is a magical journey
where , when in tune with core human essence , powerful visual imagery can connect the viewer
to things not easily readable through surface vision. Kashawelski uses the game of surrealism to
paint iconic imagery relating to social and political issues. He creates a mystery to be uncovered ,
using intuitive perceptions based in factual inspirations. His paintings are almost always single
figure portraits of subjects carrying a larger message than just themselves.
Kashawelski defines his process.... "My themes are always different, and in the majority of the
cases, they are in the function of my inner world. Every day brings a new theme, would it be in a
form of a thought or a ray of light that penetrates through my soul. These components form the
nucleus of what later develops as an idea that goes onto the canvas. This process has a strange
and unpredictable flow. The individual pieces of the mosaic are all into their place
forming a harmony that can be visualized by the eye of the audience. Everything starts with some
kind of provocation which develops a desire to entertain it. While working on the mental sketch I
get engaged into some mystical world, which sometimes is hard to explain. The idea born drags
you slowly in and it opens the ways that lead to the end of the journey. By the time that this magic
is happening, if you feel your true emotions and you manage to connect with the unknown cosmic
vibrations, you are on the path to get a good piece of painting "
Sinisha Kashawelski is a sensitive , insightful painter who is committed to bringing attention to
human problems, by challenging the viewer to see or recognize the solutions. As a painter he
follows creative instinct , knowing that transformation is the goal.
Poetic Symbolic Realism of Kashawelski
The exhibition of Sinisha Kashawelski is a result of the artistic practice of a time period fulfilled with hard work and dedication to his own concept. The rational act is a part of his temperament, while the knowledge of his artistic technique couldn't be acquired at the Faculty of Art in Skopje because it comes out from his affinity and dedication to ‘serious’ art.
The central theme in his paintings is the human body, in particular the woman’s figure or act, whose visual meaning is complimented with a choice of elements from the author’s intimate world or they've universal symbolic register of presentation. Kashawelski paints applying a precise descriptive drawing. He insists onto the perfectionism of the detail and the serene harmony of the whole. These presentations of the human body with their plastic expression are a tool that gets the final result in a wider thematic contest. The body may get symbols of some worshiped subject and to manifest its ideal of beauty, always followed with some coded attributes of the material folkloric world and tradition. The invention is not only seen in the positions of the figures, but it is a base to the direction of the artist towards the interpretation of the human body and its sporadic elements which provide some other contest for different suggestions.
Kashawelski doesn't deform to become more expressive. He achieves the inner expression with a precise retelling and description which doesn't get away from the objective ‘ugly’ or ‘beautiful’ into reality. What happens to the space on the painting? Taking in consideration the central meaning of the motive, spread in the middle of the painting, however decentralized with a ‘play’ of some other elements, the space is determined with the plainness of the background which is not empty because it is clearly determining all the relevant meaningful elements. The figures are frontal. The plastic presentation of the figure is sometimes combined with the flat forms of the clothing which differs from the presentation of the material objects. The figure is a center of the crystallization of his/her aesthetics and energy of expression, all followed with some ‘light’ esoteric suggestions. The figures are usually taken from the author’s close intimate world, and their preciseness ‘competes’ with the photography, however seen through the prism of a lyric experience. These aren't connected to the photo-realism, which by the way is a variance of the hyper-realism, nor to the stiff, lifeless academism. We’re not trying to cite anything, but in these paintings a curious eye can see elements of the realism (Grant Wood, Wyeth and Odd Nerdrum), surrealism (not as much Dali as Margite), symbolism (Neo-classicism to Art Nuvo) and element of naturalism (a more serene variance compared to the one of Lucian Freud).
Kashawelski uses pretty known examples such are the iconoclastic presentations, however he is trying in these icon-o-graphic solutions to enter some new elements and meanings, giving it some unusual contest to his artistic presentations.
In his artistic allegories and symbolic presentations a particular place is given to the material requisites as well as the motives such’re apples, pomegranates, gold fish, sequel and hammer which are not carrying ideological or political message but are trying to catch a feeling of ironic interpretation of the well known themes or the sarcastic tone of the ‘comics allegory’. The text of ‘Vita Nuova’ of Virgil or ‘Leave the hope here...’ of Dante’s Inferno is actually an annunciation of the new cycle of paintings that will follow.
And for the end. Kashawelski makes some works against ‘the desert of the soul’, against ‘the death of the nature’, answering the eventual question is there any sense to paint in this fashion. In Kashawelski’s paintings all is real and this is why he achieves an effect of i-reality, getting away from the ‘ugly preciseness’ of hyper-realism towards some art that even today is not anachronistic or surpassed. He is sharply, clearly and very openly composing his paintings and ‘gives’ and ‘takes’ from the nature what she lacks, confessing a particular kind of Mediterranean symbolic realism.
L’arte di Sinisha Kashawelski è complessa ed estremamente seria. La tecnica pittorica dell’artista necessità di mente e mano ferma. Se da un lato la maniera e lo stile possono essere descritti con metodo empirico e tecnico, tutt’altra cosa come vedremo, sarà il viaggio filosofico che dovremo percorrere per comprendere al meglio le sue opere ed in generale la sua ricerca artistica.
Mi sono da subito accorto però, che queste due letture sono in realtà interdipendenti e legate probabilmente da una stessa nascita. Potremmo definirli come due gemelli cresciuti in simbiosi e mai separati. Trovo particolarmente interessante il fatto
che la musa/modella fonte di ispirazione, faccia parte della stessa famiglia di Kashawelski (la figlia a/n). Apparirà illuminante scoprire che la ricerca artistica e concettuale dell’artista, arrivi dall’esame, forse inconsciamente eseguito, dell’uomo Kashaweslki, dalle sue domande e dalle sue visioni. Sapere che lo stesso materiale genetico, riecheggia non solo nell’autore delle opere, ma anche nelle opere stesse, potrebbe aver rassicurato l’artista, o quantomeno chiarito la direzione da seguire.
Kashawelski deve la sua fine tecnica ad una profonda conoscenza e pratica della pittura. Una tecnica risultato del realismo, o meglio del surrealismo pittorico, storicamente vicino alla tradizione macedone, che l’artista interpreta alla perfezione, grazie anche alla pratica produttiva di icone in stile bizantino, al quale si appassiona, e dove l’attenzione per i dettagli deve essere certosino e paziente. Una pratica minuziosa, che l’artista arricchisce di un’impronta rinascimentale, dove la consapevolezza delle sue capacità pittoriche, esplode nei dettagli di collocazione del soggetto delle sue opere. Paesaggi rurali, ampi cieli, o semplici muri impregnati dal tempo, rendono i dipinti profondi e solenni. Gli sfondi, attentamente dipinti, sfumano in chiaro-scuri, spesso fumosi e mai brillanti. La sensazione è quella di assistere a scene che si svolgono all’imbrunire, o comunque in giornate autunnali. La luce è delicata, mai accecante, e si posa sul soggetto quasi accarezzandolo. Anche dove la scena si svolge all’interno, la penombra non è mai esagerata, creando un’atmosfera avvolgente, che risalta vesti, postura e tratti della protagonista.
Gli oggetti-icona, che l’artista inserisce sulla scena, vengono definiti con cura maniacale. Dai pesci rossi, che fluttuano liberi nello spazio, fino agli oggetti d’uso comune, siano essi contemporanei come una lattina di Coca-Cola, siano attrezzi che rimandano all’epoca socialista, risultano perfettamente dipinti. L’impressione finale, probabilmente dovuta alla compostezza della giovane protagonista, dona ai dipinti una forte aurea di solennità. Proprio qui si comincia a percepire come le opere di Kashawelski siano profonde e serie. Portatrici di messaggi importanti, anche se spesso nascosti dietro metafore e rebus, le opere contengono sempre le informazioni che l’artista vuole divulgare. Il recente passato e il confuso presente si intrecciano in un realismo mistico davvero affascinante. Le domande che l’artista ci riporta, fanno parte dell’alta considerazione, che l’artista stesso ha nei confronti della vita spirituale, sacra ma anche profana. La sua arte deriva dalle esperienze che la vita, quotidiana e storica, ci fa vivere. Gli errori che in passato sono stati fatti dal genere umano, vengono decodificati e riportati ad una natura molto più intima. Un tempo di miseria e scelte discutibili sull’organizzazione della società, sono lo specchio non solo delle nostre paure, ma anche della nostra consapevolezza personale, sugli errori che ogni singolo uomo, nella sua individualità, ha commesso.
Le tentazioni dell’era tecnologica, spingono verso una sorta di carcerazione dei sentimenti umani. Lo stesso artista è alla ricerca della soluzione dei rebus che lui stesso inserisce nelle proprie opere. Come in “Maniere mysterieuse”, dove una porzione di puzzle viene lasciato intenzionalmente incompleto. Un invito allo spettatore all’agire, al ricercare le soluzioni più personali, anche se differenti da quelle che troverà l’artista, ma pur sempre un atto di fede per decifrare il mondo e la società moderna. Spunti di riflessione e moniti che Kashawelski inserisce sapientemente nei suoi dipinti. Le domande che l’artista ci sottopone sono importanti, toccano ogni coscienza e si dirigono ad un’analisi retrospettiva sul nostro status quo. I sogni di pace ed armonia, cui l’evoluzione umana dovrebbe essere indirizzata, possono e devono essere raggiunti grazie all’attenta lettura del nostro passato storico. Gli errori e i passi falsi che potremmo commettere durante la nostra vita, possono essere evitati solamente se impariamo a soffermarci e riconoscere gli errori simili, che in passato abbiamo commesso. La lezione dell’artista è forse una rivelazione di speranza, ed il suo compito riesce ad essere svolto grazie agli avvertimenti che Kashawelski rivela velatamente nei suoi dipinti. La sveglia in “Il futuro è rosso”, è lì per noi, un’avviso diretto nel prestare attenzione. Abbiamo tempo, ma le lancette continuano a correre. Ancora più esplicito in “Crunch time”, è quel cerino ancora integro, tenuto in mano come pronto ad essere acceso. Abbiamo tempo, ma non va sprecato. Dobbiamo assicurarsi che la nostra epoca non fallisca, e che non illuda come è già successo in passato. Questa pesante e gravosa opportunità, viene caricata dall’artista, forse conscio che la sua generazione ha ormai troppo poco tempo, sulle spalle della generazione più giovane. Appare interessante constatare che la protagonista delle opere di Kashawelski, rientra in quella generazione umana più giovane e forse più pura. Una generazione in cui, a ragione, l’artista ripone molte delle sue speranze. Inoltre, la femminilità, la donna, la bellezza, potrebbero essere percepite come accezione iconica di vita, fecondità e prosperità.
Il lavoro di Kashawelski è particolarmente interessante, in quanto la concretizzazione di idee, sentimenti, dubbi, passioni e speranze, viene riprodotta in due dimensioni. L’arte diventa messaggera di ideali ed avvertimenti. Le qualità dell’artista derivano quindi, non solo dalla sua maestria tecnica, ma ancora di più dalla creazione e dalla rivelazione visiva. Un’arte seria e molto profonda, quella che Sinisha Kashawelski ci mette a disposizione, al fine di godere di pensieri ed emozioni che saranno utili ed appaganti, non solo al nostro spirito, ma forse ad una intera generazione.
main curator of Malamegi Lab