Not all art is straightforward. Sometimes, we have to look at a painting and interpret the meaning for ourselves. This is the mantra that Berlin-based, Syrian-Danish artist Zhivago Duncan had in mind when he created his unique body of work Never But Always, which is on display at Meem Gallery until Tuesday
“Viewers are invited to make their own musings of what is happening,” Duncan says.
The multimedia artist silkscreens ink and gold foil onto linen to create a truly original series of works. The combination of different textures is reflected in the subject matter, which references a range of cultural icons – Spider-Man, Dracula and Godzilla, as well as Islamic geometry.
“All of these characters are a representation of an emotion. The stories are from fables and they all represent a notion of ethics and morality.”
Here, he talks us through four of his works…
Over stimulated stimuli
“Birds are a reacurring theme in my works. They are a very personal reference to myself and also to art history. Since I was a kid, I’ve loved painting birds and I’ve had some strange encounters with giant eagles. I’ve always had a funny connection with them.”
Slipping over the line
“My main focus is that the works look beautiful. But the pieces are really about the deconstruction of the mind and getting rid of evil, and in this case, it’s Godzilla – Godzilla is driving a Hot Rod toy car. A lot of my work is about extending my childhood.”
One pays, both suffer
“This is based on the concept of the bad guys being made by the good guys. It shows Spider-Man and his evil counterpart, Venom. So it presents this idea that everybody is now the enemy; where the guys that were trained to be good have then turned against power.”
“I grew up with a lot of ornaments in my house and with a lot of Middle Eastern and geometric forms. It’s something I’ve painted a lot. The gold is a reference to photoscientific beginnings, alchemy and the purification of metal.”