Saturday, 23 October 2021 | News today: 0



Aco Stankovski

Theater has always been a great inspiration for painting. Not only has painting often played a significant role in the organization of the stage settings and the atmosphere, let’s recall about Picasso, Miro and Marc Chagall, who were often integrated into the avant-garde performances on the Paris stage, but also the theater itself, as an artistic phenomenon was subject to interpretation and numerous artistic masterpieces like those of Antoine Watteau, Degas and Toulouse Lautrec.

The distorted reality and the energy that arises from the theater, leaves a big impression on the memory of the viewer, especially on the artist who, fascinated by all these wonders, gets the urge to eternalize, to summarize this geyser of fascinations in a single picture or in a series of artworks.

Thus, arts interact and create extremely complex network of cultural process of a nation or a region, whatever.

The history of theater is much older than art historians locate it in antiquity and it’s a big tradition, as if the art of theater as originates from prehistoric times as part of occult games, trance or some primitive rituals practiced in the spiritual life, as well as in the games of those ancient cultures of the Neolithic period, for example.

Every artist and every discerning anthropologist feels this.

But probably, besides such ancient tradition, theater has experienced its own periods of crisis, and these ordeals were so strong that led this cult art to the brink of extinction. The great moments of glory and splendor of the theater, as in Pericles’ Athens, changed into a brutal and bloody theater, in which gladiators and animals performed in the arenas, as the Colosseum in ancient Rome.

This extreme form of theater extracted the basic experience of life and death. Viewers, faced with these scenes, fell in wild trance and the excitement was ecstatic.

There is no counterpart in the history of theater, when the art of man and his physical and spiritual potentials was not placed in such cruel cultural setting, in such an inhuman and insensitive context of disillusioning art, resulting from illusions, though it refers to reality. In the Roman gladiatorial theater, actors died on stage in a literal sense. The dramatic context is strongly draconian, and the style of performance quite unpredictable. Blood was spilled on the sand without any visual effects or makeup.

Then in the Middle Ages, as if the theater has disappeared. But is that really so? As regards to the national theater, the theater of the polis, of the Athenian citizens or those of Rome, of the plebs and the patricians, the theater in the Middle Ages was gone. The entire system was already largely reduced to small traveling groups – skomrahi, who performed some short performances, about which modern science has almost no documentation and even fewer hypotheses.

But, let’s suppose that these folk entertainers, like troubadours in Western Europe, who were traveling groups of artists, musicians and acrobats and who held their performances before people in small towns and villages for a certain material fee.

Unlike them, their ancestors from the days of Rome or Athens, were real superstars with thousands of fans.

This strange and sometimes frightening process of expansion and decay or, if you prefer – an explosion of interest to fanaticism and total descend of the fixation of a certain cultural phenomenon, such as the theater, and this goes for all other arts, has been many times seen in some civilization eras.

In fact, the theater has never disappeared, but it has converted into religious liturgies. But it did not come here to unfamiliar terrain, but to the contrary, in the Middle Ages and the era of theocratic totalitarianism in Christian Europe the theater returned to its pristine spaces, in the ritual, in the spiritual, there, from where it began in the areas of human culture, in prehistoric times.

In the age of the Renaissance, whose awakened geniuses celebrated antiquity as a paradigm of civilization and took from the ancient sciences and arts, all that could be taken, so the theater started getting its own special place in society, slowly freeing itself from the religious fervor and ascetic isolation.

So, in fact, begins the modern theater, which in the Renaissance and the Baroque got a brand new course after almost two whole millennia, major dramatic artists of antiquity, as Aeschylus, Euripides, Sophocles and Aristophanes, received heirs with full capacity of genius in Shakespeare, Moliere, Racine and later Goethe, Chekhov and Brecht.

Thus, this resurrection of the theater, which today stands as cultural and civilizational symbol of any human society, is a major incentive for artistic interpretation, not only painting, but also for all other classical and modern forms of artistic expression.

Here, in Macedonia there is a strong emphasis on theater in the last decade. It only talks about the conscience of the Macedonian creative intelligence, positioned in and around the theater as an art institution and creative form.

Painting has always instinctively reacted to such creative momentum in its own specific way.