Kiro Urdin’s art is an invitation to enter a wave of life, of raw energy, of ancestors, and of all art forms in one point. His fifty shades of blue draw us into his universe, into his ocean so we may find an inner peace to connect with the rest of humanity. Such is the mission of the founder of the Planetarism movement. To quote the Macedonian master: “Although time and space are without beginning nor end, man is trying to limit them, define them… Man is doing the same with art, dividing it into painting sculpture, music, cinema, literature, design or theatre, as if they were hermetically locked in themselves. Planetarism is conceived as a result or common denominator of multiple arts, with each one retaining its own specificity.”
Kiro embodies this idea we all have of Parisian painters during the Années Folles (1920s). He knows no limits and he breathes art in and out. But the young 74-year-old is also a global contemporary artist spending his creative time between Belgium, the USA and his home city of Skopje (N. Macedonia). Although I met Kiro when I was only 10 and was bewitched by his super-expressionist figurative paintings of the early 90s, I followed his career closely and saw his compositions evolve towards more cosmic abstractions built upon layers of super-impressions and patterns that give his work a distinctive feel, almost divine. For Kiro worships pigments above all else. Blue is the universal color of expansion for the artist who favors Blockx Belgian blue oils and Russian red cadmium tubes to express love and passion on his massive triple thread linen canvases.
In 1996, Kiro Urdin decided to make a global painting that would be symbolically painted all over the world. So he gathered a team and took a two year trip to create what would become his largest work by far and be called Planetarium. The eponymous film follows his legendary journey from the Macedonian church where he baptized his daughter Donna, to the heights of Machu Picchu, Kiro painting every step of the way, with goat milk or sand depending on what he would find along the ride. Watch it on : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x34igmwQL9U&t=414s
After having shown his work all over Europe, from the East Coast to the West Coast of the USA, in Central and South America and extensively in Asia, most regularly in Japan, Urdin is currently working in China. His recent solo show at the architecturally daring Ningbo Museum opened the doors to this giant country and its passionate art collectors. As he often says, he is only warming up for his most accomplished work which is still to come.
Considered a master of oil on canvas, Kiro likes to think that his true mastery lies in his vibrant watercolors on paper, often made of dozens of layers of paint. His pencil and ink drawings open a whole new realm, like his sculpture and film works, yet all are connected and part of a same Planetarism, “a free electron of the human spirit that can be reincarnated from one kind of art into another, or into all of its individual parts together”. Kiro’s artistic journey illuminates the universal formula of the cosmic cure for the human soul, started thousands of years ago by our forefathers.
From the Parisian place du Tertre, surrounded by fast-food painters into the land of the Dogon people in Mali, Kiro has left a mark wherever he was, certainly because of his overwhelming kindness mixed with his rock and roll attitude, but most of all because none who have seen his work can ever forget it. I wish this new solo show which looks back at some twenty years of creation, including some freshly painted works, will introduce Kiro’s work to new crowds all over the world so they too may enter his wave.
Klaus Pas, March 2019