Oriental Rhythms in the Canvases of Muzaffar Abdullaev

Issue #4 • 640

Visual arts he learned to appreciate in adolescence, parables told by old-timers, stories and tales about holy Bukhara and its magical appeal and mystery have forever fascinated Muzaffar Abdullaev, a talented artist from Bukhara, now known not only in Uzbekistan, but also beyond. Since 1978, Abdullaev has actively participated in national and international exhibitions; in 1988 he joined the Artists Union of Uzbekistan, and was awarded the Gold Medal of the Academy of Arts (2007).
The art of Muzaffar Abdullaev is known for his specific technique: the artist’s temperament is raging in his canvases; paints seem to be flowing from his fingers, creating a turbulent action on the canvas. Sharp brushstrokes speak of his emotional nature. Looking at the picture, the viewer can sense its emotional power field, pulsating and healing. Sometimes its bright, warm shades are contrasted with cold, dark tones, and only the silhouettes of shapes – like “talking” characters – cry out for the artist, exposing the master’s anxious heart that bleeds for the world going round, not always just. One such painting is the “The Going Aral”, where the artist feels deeply for natural disasters disrupting the environmental balance.
Love for his native land, the atmosphere of tranquillity, and the joy of living in one’s native land are reflected in a painting called “Life” (1990). Seemingly simple paintings contain the artist’s rich imagination and his deep philosophy. Characteristic oriental details are employed by Abdullaev to expose a whole universe that sounds through the master palette in a quiet and gentle voice of the soul. Depicting his vision of the world with the language of colours, he invites the viewer to reflect on life and its joys, past and present, while maintaining the national style of his visual language – a peculiar one, akin to music. The master uses the palette of traditional crafts, such as embroidery designs and motifs, while employing features of contemporary Western art, namely abstraction and expression. One good example is his “Three Musicians” (2012), showing three young men in traditional dress playing doira, rubab and flute. Soft greyish-ochre colours of their clothing symbolize the warmth of the earth, the natural landscape of Bukhara. Red outlines lend liveliness and dynamism to the images, red standing as a symbol of love, celebration, and the energy of youth.
The artist’s subjects are quire diverse: “Family” (2000), “Women” (1995), “Dervish” (1993), “The Going Aral” (1990), “Model and Artist” (1981). Human soul, the man’s refined philosophical character and his feeling of loneliness are reflected in the painting “Dervish”. Canvases “Family” and “Women” tell about the importance of keeping the family, of the woman’s role as guardian of the hearth, and of the sanctity of motherhood.
Exploring Modern Art and Symbolism, Abdullaev turns to the ever relevant theme of studying the model. Characters in his paintings are diverse and often philosophical. Thus, “The Balance” shows a conventionally depicted man playing flute and holding a jug of wine in one hand, and a rosary in the other. The background of bright-green with a deep-blue tint highlights his robe in juicy dark-blue and red colours. The flute and the wine symbolically render the music of the soul: wine for the beauty of life, and rosary for the soul’s spiritual beauty. Man’s mind is like a balance: succumbing to worldly temptations he falls to rise again, aspiring to purify his spirit.
In Abdullaev’s compositions there are no ordinary things, but there is something hidden: the universe of relationships, influences, lines and colours. His works acquire a universal abstract language comparable to the language of music. Such is a series called “Composition” (2011-2013). One painting shows dancing men and women. Rhythms of the Orient, and varying blue, red and green colours convey the dynamics of the drawing’s composition and its flexibly intertwines images painted in different aspects.
Abdullaev often turns to self-portraits. Thus, in “Self-Portrait” (1982) his anxious wide-open eyes seem to be watching over the world’s events with great sadness and love. Abdullaev appears to expose to the viewer his inner world, his experiences and emotions. The master says: “Working on an image, a character, or an epoch, I lived in them with passion and affection, seeking to communicate the flavour, traditions, and rich history of my people, my city and my land …”
By looking at the art career of Muzaffar Abdullaev, one notices how long it took him to pave the way for his artistic persuasion of a new type that mixes Modern Art and Abstractionism that is filled with traditionalism, absorbing old forms and developing a more complex eclectic structure. The artist’s works have the magnetism of unfinished details and unrealized ideas… Nowadays, interest in this kind of art is great. Motivation and means of expression in visual art have changed. In the art of Muzaffar Abdullaev the different shapes and colours carry information, deepening individual themes and issues and taking contemporary art of Uzbekistan to a new level.

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