MACEDONIA / FRANCE
A lawyer turned journalist, Kiro Urdin studied art and cinema in Paris in the seventies and has been painting since 1985. He is known for his energetic paintings which have been exhibited worldwide since 1986 in cities like Paris, Yokohama, Los Angeles, London, Stockholm and Bratislava. During the same period, in 1988, Kiro went to New York and Hollywood to pursue his film ambitions. There he directed four films, and he keeps on directing documentaries and experimental films today.
In 1996 Kiro embarked on an epic journey around the world to create the first painting to be worked on all over the world. His idea was to incorporate a piece from every place he visited, thus symbolically bringing the world together in one undivided unity. It took him two years and over thirty locations, from big urban cities to ancient world sites: the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem and the Tomb of Jesus Christ, New York, The Berlin Wall, Ohrid, Brussels, Knokke-Zoute, Bruges, Paris, Rome, Pompeii, Pisa, the Suez Canal, London, Stonehenge, Athens, the Nile, the Great Pyramids in Giza, Kenya, Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Bangkok, the Forbidden City and the Great Wall of China, Tokyo, Kamakura, Mont Saint-Michel, and Eindhoven.
The result of Kiro’s two-year journey is a 48 square meter oil painting entitled Planetarium.
A Macedonian film crew was hired to document the effort. Planetarium. the documentary film was subsequently released. Directed by Ivan Mitevski, it won Best Documentary at the New York International Independent Film and Documentary Festival in 2005. A monograph with photos taken during the two-year trip by Marin Dimevski was released simultaneously to the movie. Today the painting is exhibited at the Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum in Bratislava.
Planetarium Dance is collaboration project between Kiro Urdin and Toronto-based choreographer Debbie Wilson. On seeing the film, Debbie approached Kiro and proposed to expand the Planetarium experience through a new medium - dance. Macedonian composer Venko Serafimov was called onboard to compose the music for the dance. The ballet features eight dancers from Wilson’s own troupe, a local Toronto contemporary dance company, and seven from the classically trained Macedonian National Theatre. Planetarium Dance premiered at the Toronto Dance Theater (Canada), and since has been performed in Ohrid, Heraclea, Skopje, Chicago, Ankara, and during the commemoration of the United Nations 60th Anniversary in Geneva (Switzerland).
Urdin’s work has evolved beyond traditional media like film and paintings to include dance, sculpture, literature, photography, philosophy and design. He has published over 15 books, some with his thousands of aphorisms, and one book of poetry entitled Novel, from which his poem Light was selected for the Pushkin Festival in Moscow.
Working from Belgium, Macedonia and the U.S.A., Kiro Urdin is vibrantly driven in his efforts by one unifying philosophy: to bridge different cultures together, and to bring all art forms into one. Or as he defines the slogan of the Planetarism movement which he founded:
“One Point everywhere, everything in one point.
One Art everywhere, everything in one Art.”
ENTER THE WAVE
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 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 now.
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