From the first steps in art of Uzbekistan, Gairat Baimatov showed that his artistic dominant is searching for own individual style, creative credo, themes and own spectators. The personal exhibition – retrospective devoted to the 60″‘-anniversary of the artist at Center of Modern Art of the Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan represented painting and graphic works giving material to study his artistic activity occupying a worthy place in history of fine arts of Uzbekistan.
Works by G. Baimatov reflect organic synthesis of the East and the West, original evolution and symbiosis of typological features of academic art school and modernism that allow to relate the artist to universal transnational culture, which language and content are understood all over the world.
The time when G. Baimatov started his way has become history and much changed. First of all, that concerns art, paradigms of its development, its spiritual orientations, character of artistic and scientific interpretation, properties of spectators, artist! historical realities, etc. Being inside this dynamic stream, tht artist had to “crystallize” own creative individuality, to create own picture and model of the world, which would contain the past and present, objective and subjective as well as relation of the artist to art and life. History of arts and history of human society gave not only motifs and plots, but acquainted the artisll with the eternal true concerning knowledge of a person, laws of the world and nature.
We believe this artist, because of his high professionalism and wide semantic and artistic spectrum in his works, making a spectator to percept them creatively. Figurative features obtain original aura of rich associative and metaphorical space in his works. Content makes a core of his works in spite of conditional and flexible artistic language the artist uses. G. Baimatov told: “A good artist for me is a person having new ideas which he can express in graphic form easily”.
Beginning from the early works, except for portraits and landscapes done decoratively, Gairat Baimatov chose associative and metaphorical approach to the world. He bent to analytic perception of the world and it was quite logic that he turned to history, medieval and ancient – pre-Biblical and pre-Islamic, On the other hand, addressing to history is some kind of general “code” of the art of the 20th century, which reveals a character of its evolution. G. Baimatov does not illustrate, but interprets history, adding features of improvisation. In fact, “interpretation having turned into improvisation and playing”, became a specific phenomenon of art of the 20th century”.
The 20th century moved apart usual borders of interpreted traditions, involving cultures of different peoples and different historical epochs. G. Baimatov also has some kind of “global consciousness” where categories of “my” and “another’s” are loosing usual outlines. The artist created a cycle of works where he played upon motifs and plots as well as own ideas and associations on events from history of different nations.
Why does the antiquity attract him more, than the Middle Ages? The artist thinks that ancient history, in comparison with Middle Ages with dominating orthodox ideology, bears a strong spirit of heathendom, freedom, human passions and sincere impulses that gives a fertile field to creative searches.
History of arts has a motif that always drew attention of artists living in different epochs. This is a motif of the Fall of Adam and Eva. Each artist interprets it in own way. G. Baimatov also gave own vision. He accents not the plot itself but unusual decorative solution, free of dramatics and dedication, but with some kind of biblical believability.
Ancient Egypt is among the major thematic leanings of the artist. The picture of “Farewell” shows how Egyptians out their wives, confessing their religion – Judaism. Real historic fact is given by means of impulsive color and plastics, which obtains own value independent from the plot. For example, the work “Quarrel” shows rather conflict situation, probably, between pharaoh and his wife.
It is not so important who is in the picture. Interesting is how the artist gives rhythm of conflict scene by means of color and composition,. The picture of “Musicians in Babylon” as if reproduces ancient music. Iconography of personages goes back to ancient sculptures, and wall paintings of this unique ancient culture. Dominant yellow color creates atmosphere of the desert with hot sand raised by the wind, shining sun and heat haze of the summer. “Deity of water” relates to the same cycle. In oriental countries, deities of water occupy a high position in pantheon. The artist interpreted the deity as polymorphic creature – seahorse or jumart, personifying water, ground and life.
The picture of “Dance with fans” reflects the culture of another region – Far East. Recognized graphic characters, attributes of traditional Chinese costume and fans, which combine functions of decoration and weapon, create surprising atmosphere, close and clear to the contemporary. Playing with history and dominant author’s position in interpretation and transformation of the plot into graphic experiment characterize his works “Dream of caravan men”, “The golden calf”, “Arabian fairy tale”, “Tauromachy” and others.
In such works as “Musicians”, “Quarrel”, “Deity of water” and others, the artist, keeping ties with the tangible world, creates his own. This is not the world of feelings, but the world which keeps “genetic code” of the past. That is due to artistic and technical skills of the artist. His answer to the traditional question who is his favorite artist is quite logic: “I like the Flemish for depth, Vrubel – for seeming lightness at great complexity of drawing and unbelievable feeling of color and composition, Filonov – for inimitable devotion. I like them for a new sight at the world which seems entirely known”. In fact, Vrubel and Filonov are two significant figures in art culture of the 20th century. G. Baimatov, following their artistic tradition, makes “surface of a canvas and texture, mysterious and spelling life of color crystals” active (2, p. 69). His turn to their artistic tradition and approach to painting space is reflected in the content of his works, very deep and philosophic.
Compositionally the artist is laconic enough. However, his approach to texture of canvas, his natural feeling of color and rhythmic organization of a picture – all that creates complex space of spirit, human feelings, play of the conscious and subconscious in complex inward of a person.
Playing as important feature of the artist’s credo caused his interest to theatre. The pictures of “Harlequin”, “Masks”, “Costumiers”, “At theatre” and “Acrobats” show firework of passions, colors, masks and acting. Probably, these works are the most decorative and colorful at the exposition. Like furious stream, theatre series catches the spectator by its dynamics. It seems just a moment and suddenly it becomes different. For example, thematically close “Clown” and “Harlequin”. However, they are interpreted differently. While “Harlequin” shows a sad and passive character, probably, of some real person, in “Clown” the mask becomes a metaphor, a symbol of ambiguity of the world and relation of the person to it.
Portrait in creativity of the artist… There are just few portraits at the exhibition. These are water-colors sketchers devoted to relatives and friends: “Alexander”, “Ivan”, “Lyudmila”, “Alena” and others. First of all, it should be noted the picture of “Expectation of holiday” where the artist represented his wife. Rather theatricalized composition shows inward life of surprisingly noble, kind, intelligent and spiritual woman, who is an icon for the artist.
G. Baimatov takes voyages not only in ideas and imagination, he has visited many countries. The trips resulted in such works, as “Ochryd Madonna”, “Old England”, “Red lamp”, “City of Hastings”, “Belgian landscape”, “Darwin Street”, “Sea village” and many others. Each of them sounds originally. It may be a subject scene or landscape, the artist always experiments at form, painting plastics and technique. That results in surprisingly picturesque and sincere works, full of relax, majesty or poetry depending on a theme. Real outlines of some place are guessed in G. Baimatov’s landscapes in spite of associative and metaphorical thinking of the artist and his decorative painting plastics. Yanghiabad and Tashkent landscapes with their recognized beauty show love of the artist to these places. It should be noted that native landscapes and national culture of Uzbek people take an important place in his works. “Urgut wedding”, “Urgut patterns” and “Roosters” revive recognized motifs and plots of traditional life, customs and ceremonies, which enable the artist to create own very beautiful, picturesque and spiritualized world.
Despite of dominant innovative searches for new plots and original plastic style, i.e. “poly stylistics”, creativity of the artist shows integrity. Gairat Baimatov remains faithful to academic art system. He draws from nature and takes inspiration from nature. At the same time, modernism, otherwise avant-garde, makes a core of his creativity. It is traced in very active experiments, typical of this direction, and in creation of associatively metaphorical space oriented to inward life of a person.
Gairat Baimatov is the artist thinking, searching and creating. He cannot be imitated, as his unique figurative world dynamically lives behind advanced technique requiring high professional skills. This world as if is built from grains; it varies, disappears and again occurs. It bears a spirit of different epochs, different life collisions and different inwards. At the same time, all pictures show inward of the artist where is felt the reality with its problems, searches for harmony and the eternal true which the mankind learned long ago, and each generation experience again and again.
1. From conversation of the author and artist.
2. Герман М. Модернизм. Искусство первой половины XX века. СПб., 2003.