Exciting Sculptures by Pilikian

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Edwina Charles on The Dramatic and Exciting Sculptures by Pilikian

Edwina Charles on

The Dramatic and Exciting Sculptures by Pilikian - {I}- 'Warrior Adam'

The fans of Professor Pilikian’s passionate writing on Politics and global affairs published on the Internet Weekly Magazine GIBRAHAYER.cyprusnewsletter.com edited by the innovative and dynamic young Armenian Simon Aynedjian, and then collected on the archival website http://pilikian.blogspot.com/ may be surprised to discover that their cherished author is also a sculptor of great dramatic power and ‘infinite’ multiple meanings.

I had the good fortune of interviewing him recently. Passionately learned and warm, Pilikian and his work are grounded in an overwhelming socialist humanitarianism. He is his work and vice versa, and unashamedly autobiographical – he is proud of it, and makes no attempt at pretending otherwise.

Perhaps it is a sign of his absolute self-confidence, the result of Professor Pilikian’s immense scholarly knowledge in many fields of human endeavour – from Philosophy, Greek Drama, to Art and political history to Psychology and the Social Sciences … to Shakespeare criticism! He has indeed three formal university Degrees, with Fellowships and Visiting Professorships held at some of the world’s best known institutions of learning – Princeton University (USA), University of Munich (Germany), London’s School of Oriental And African Studies, London School of Economics, Queen Mary College, The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Britain’s Open University... and some more – Pilikian has been through them all. Author of books on Classical Japanese Theatre and Armenian Cinema, Pilikian is a contributor to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Pilikian’s sculptures are awash with classical and modernist references, exuding multiple meanings of immense complexity. Some are so real as to seem like archaeological mummified finds. It is of course a well-established stereotype to speak of a sculptural piece making sense from different angles and looked at from different directions, at different times of the day in the changing of natural light – Pilikian’s sculptures present a primary, almost a primordial case in point. They are visually so powerful, thematically so archetypal, as to exude their ‘infinite’ energy beyond themselves into and through even the photographs of them.

Pilikian’s Warrior Adam may look like an ordinary male, but he is also undoubtedly the first man of the biblical Genesis, with his ample genitals, while being also an ancient warrior vibrating with the Greek Red-figure vases, and African antiquity – it is quite remarkable that Pilikian’s sculpture portrays archetypal male warmongering without the shields and the spears of Greco-Roman pieces – Pilikian’s warrior could be the powerful Agamemnon, or Achilles, who is moreover totally in the nude… but note the swellings on his face fresh from a hard-won bloody battle, the heavy, almost painful incisions on his back, the bullet-holes in his curved spine, as if bleeding before your very eyes, the knife-cuts on his belly around the navel, the testicle smashed into a vaginal form, to grasp the verisimilitude of Pilikian’s portrayal of the Greco-African tribal warriors or the bullet-ridden modern soldiery. The athletically textured surfaces of his skeletal musculature frequently references amazingly Rodin’s "The Thinker" (which in turn references Michelangelo’s heavies!) on many varied close-up angles without even Rodin’s famous posture of the fist under the chin – Pilikian’s thinking warrior even holds his head up! And yet, it still vibrates with Rodin’s – I think it is the overall and overwhelming ambience of Pilikian’s skilful sculpting of the twists and turns of the torso with the muscular power of the limbs that achieve incredibly the mysterious linkage with Rodin’s thinker.

And look at the deadly haunting, almost frightening Egyptian-style ‘mummification’ of the sculpture, come alive in the autumnal evening natural London light, captured by the camera…

And by night time, Pilikian’s Adam the Warrior, with unfinished feet like flappers, converts into the… Little Mermaid guarding the port of Copenhagen – Denmark’s national mascot.


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