Berlin-based Nigerian artist Emmanuel Eni (aka Blackman in European kitchen) is one of the world’s most outstanding contemporary artists. Recently, he was listed in Forbes as one of the most famous and popular artists in 2020. Eni, who is famous for his fearless, soul-searching, philosophical art is described as an iconoclast of uncommon proportion. He is writer and performer of Blackman in European kitchen, creator of Basic Metric Scale For Art Products (BMSFAP) as represented in his Death of the Curator drama. The inventor of Light Paintings art speaks about his works and how he is creatively utilising his time in the studio during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic lockdown. Assistant Editor (Arts) Ozolua Uhakheme reports.
Artist as a philosopher
An artist ability to predict the future is a function of an inbuilt system where art works evoke the thoughts and coherence of things to come. The harder part is the philosophical laydown depicting the essence of artistic clairvoyance without necessarily relating the characteristics of such, as time always varies. Nonetheless, the table turns like in relation to the account of time its self. As at now it is most challenging, almost irrelevant to create, as emotions and happenings need more than spontaneous outbursts, to carefully understand the machinery of crises.
Then there is a bank that has been built by the artist as a seer, for example through my works with titles like The burning Earth I saw, Hope-fully and The Queen of loneliness and the sun all sculptures and Black Lisa’s jubilation under light in African beauty, among my New Light Paintings Art in 2020.
You cannot talk about life without talking about war. Life is incomplete without conflicts, pains, sicknesses and death. As I talk to you now, my studio is full of a thousand sculptures and a million notes in drawings on paper starched in giant wooden boxes and a hundred paintings. As my works and installations adorn several cities and countries, it has taken almost 30 years for Forbes and IMDB to rate me amongst the best and most popular artists in the world.
That is why art survives when all things fail.
Creating art in these trying times like other occupation is with great constrains and strains. Also, the fact that when countries unite in ideology like in European Union, with only trade and tax as aim, failing during war or plague make things difficult and almost impossible to run.
In the case of Europe, most member countries at early stages of the pandemic forgot the European alliance while many forgot their own folks.
It is hard to make art with such a reality. There were talks by European and western governments that the lives of the old be sacrificed for that of the young as medical equipment like masks, ventilators as advised were meant to be forfeited by the old in preference for younger citizens. In other words, the old can die in place of the younger generation because of inadequacy of health materials.
So, it was much of a twisted concept, non-logic and reasoning as any can be. At lockdown, people are still expected to go to work here in Germany, not only essential services. They are expected to pay their rents, health insurances, essentials services, water, light and all the 1001 taxes at this time.
Effect of lockdown on your art
I have been working on the composition, drawings, technical analyses and model sculpture for my new 2000 kilogram multiple- figure bronze composition, of a daring universal title- theme, that I want to cast and present this year in major museums of the world. I am also delving into the compilations and finishing the signing of my approximately 1 million paper works done over twenty eight years, with poetry writing and new philosophical literature.
Also, the lock down has allowed me to reflect all night by searching for the hidden meanings of a troubled and changing world, helping me to spiritually regenerate to activate unknown facets of my creative ability, like to produce this meaningful 2000 kilo bronze- piece, which will be a major gift in all terms to the art world. And for the creative artist, a piece encompassing beauty with its importance, among all recorded existing art, from the beginning of time.
The lockdown, which affected arts community and made material sourcing very difficult, was done individually with every European country closing its boarders separately without unanimous consultation or a united reaction. I was so disappointed and heart broken and I kept pondering on the question: Of what use is the EU?
Alas at night and day, citizens pay for every drop of water, every grain of rice, piece of bread, every form of artificial light, every form of warmth, every form of pleasure and fire.
Western powers can connive, betray and scam not minding their citizens when they want to. For example, they can form amongst themselves another order to gain total control.
Creating of artworks now is under reservation to save my energy from creating negative art because I have experienced that under a state’s power that is based solely on profit, gain and taxes. But an opponent like COVID- 19 is indomitable as the true cures cannot be found.
In the studio today, I’m stretching canvases, scaling frames and amateurs for sculptures and installations. In the evenings and nights I am writing texts and poetry, accessing and compiling them. Yes, I am signing hundred thousands of paper works, propounding on the basic metric scale for art products that I developed.
As an artist, the lockdown has assured me of my old knowledge – that when everything fails, art succeeds. Re-learning from the public that ask at all times, about the kind of art I’m creating. The people ask because they search for healing and reassurance at this trying time.
New Light paintings
“Which painting can light the night and bring sight to the dark? Who can see outer image from inside?
New Light Paintings art is not stained glass and not lithography. LightPainting is light painting art discovered and patented with Universal Sole patent awarded to me for this technique encompassing all works rendered and described as LightPaintings and drawing technique.
The style described has another material and technique different from all other paintings both in colours, materials and the canvas. I described it as ‘making a perfect picture that allows the ultimate freedom to play in the discovery of hidden aspects of pictorial composition and its reflection of the outermost and innermost feeling.’
Light Paintings art reveals what the light says in pictures when they are in the dark. It shows the kindest and visually most favourable images behind vivid pictures and strong themes.
In my Light Paintings, the source is its drawing and form. It is art that arises from the neutrality of their surface colour and reveal vibrant life behind neutral pictorial reference frames. Since 12 years, I have experimented and discovered Light Paintings art, which prys into the innate nature of my paintings, playing down aggressiveness of primary and secondary colours within the evocative genre of every particular work. Thus showing the soul of the colour and painting as the inner light surpasses the light outside of it. In my development and assessment of material durability, Light Paintings has been able to remove the memory of matter. In combine use of colour pigment and canvas and types of materials in conventional paintings, it develops multiple memories during ageing, making paintings wear down rapidly over prolonged time.
The special canvas and colour pigments used in making Light Paintings are combined to seal the memory of materials and enhance the life of the painting. It enables a painting in New Light Paintings art method to be folded and rolled without damage to the materials. My Light Paintings expand and contract to climate, weather, time and light. Like a healer, it diagnoses through vision of sight of the inner and outer self.
The Light Paintings evoke very happy surprising feelings, reserving the satisfaction of full-breed life behind delicacy of colours and light for the viewer, in the transparency of its pictures. They welcome the Audience with a gentle and bright fascination
Source: The Nation