31 October - 24 November 2018

BAZIS contemporary

CENTRUL DE INTERES, Fabricii de Chibrituri 9, 4th floor, Cluj-Napoca




Zharko Basheski's work Asphyxia (200x180x160 cm), is a powerful symbol of human existential condition in the modern world.

What we see is a terror-stricken, suffocating face of a man, fighting for breath in a transparent plastic bag, while images of beautiful and pleasant memories of his life run inside his mind (video projection). The artist has created this sculpture simulating human flesh and skin by using silicon, artificial paint and hair to highlight the man's intrinsic carnality, his physical presence in the world, amidst the emptiness, the void, in which only images of memories float. The projection of this deluge of recollections at the moment of death emphasizes the presence of death.

The silent scream of the suffocating man accuses: the world we live in today is dirty, polluted, full of waste and garbage. It is a world of total destruction of nature, a world where humans have been degraded and replaced by machines; where one feels deficient and degenerate; a world that does not belong to this man anymore, a horrible world devastated by forces he no longer controls; a world of war conflicts, political manipulations, deceptions and lies. It is a world in which the man cannot exist and the only thing for him to do is to struggle for yet another gasp before the unstoppable machine of death.

The transparent plastic bag over the head of the man is also a recognizable symbol of modern times. The indestructible plastic bag is ubiquitous.
Basheski's work, this gigantic head in a plastic bag and the open mouth face in an existential vacuum is a terrifying evidence and fierce protest against the conditions of this world; a world transformed into a dumping ground with cities full of toxic fumes above it, flickering like ghostly apparitions.

This impressive work is at the same time a symbol of a world where Eros (the life instinct) is subordinated to Thanatos (the death instinct). It is a world where death rules. It is a symbol of a world where there is no protest because protest is impossible; there is no drive because heroism is futile; there is only physics and no metaphysics; apotheosis becomes impossible and only asphyxia remains.

At the end, there is only a cry, regardless of the fact whether we are calling death in the ecstasy of pleasure, committing suicide or as victims of violence. This is the reason why Basheski`s sculpture can be reduced to a single idea: human existence today defeats the idea of any meaning of human existence.

Emil Aleksiev

Exhibiton view