Mitar Matić / Portraits
One of the things which define humans as sentient beings the most is their view (look) – this projection of consciousness/ego onto the environment. A look that is pointed at us means that the person watching us is conscious and that we participate in their world and vice versa. As Oswald Spengler put it, animal predators – those with the gift of three-dimensional vision – see the whole world as prey. Humans are the most predating of all beasts, not only because of their capability to overcome nature using technology, but also because of their mind which enables them to classify and systematize all that is around them.
Taking all this into account, Mitar Matić creates an interesting experiment. He re-paints the portraits of the most predatory among human predators: nation leaders, revolutionaries, philosophers. He then closes their eyelids, removing their ability to see. These important statesmen and wise men have shaped the world with their thoughts and actions, but now they seem to be asleep. Furthermore, these portraits seem to witness their inevitable deaths. Using thick layers of paint, Mitar Matić emphasizes the personality of his achievement: he has ‘buried’ these dictators through painting – art which allows displaying the imaginable, not necessarily the reality. Hence, the world really becomes the prey for the human hand, helped by technology and the human spirit. Artist often tend to share their prey with the audience, in order to enable realizing certain truths about humanity.
The faces we see in Matić’s paintings are rather distant from us. We have learned to recognize them, worship them or despise them, feel sympathy or repellence; yet, they are but symbols of some (recent or past) ideas. Shutting their eyes in these portraits, the artist reminds us that they are all but paintings. They are not in fact personalities, but our mental assumptions of these personalities – images moderated by the media or various professional or art pieces. All of the paintings have one thing in common – they are harmless. They possess only the meaning given by us. The fictitious glare of a thinker or a perpetrator in a photograph (watching us sharply or softly) is now shut. The world is no longer for them to shape or place in their political or thought systems which force us to become a part of them. This painter releases us from their glare and any sort of responsibility forced by it. Let’s, then place Charon’s obols over their eyes and send them to hell!
Mitar Matić was born in Rijeka in 1981. He got his MA in painting at the Arts Academy in Split, in the class of Professor Gorki Žuvela (2005). Since then, he has been working and exhibiting continuously. He was awarded the Grand Prix (32nd Youth Salon, 2014) and the 2nd Award (Slavonian biennale, 2018). In 2015, he spent some time residing at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. He is a member of HDLU (Croatian Association of Artists). He lives in Rijeka, working as an assistant at the drawing department of the Academy of Applied Arts.