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2018 †N11-12(164-165)
The works by Klychmurad Yarmamedov, an artist who played an important role in establishing and developing Turkmen sculpture, present a world that is energetic, spontaneous and wise in its own way. Yarmamedov is well known not only in his homeland but also abroad. His works are displayed at the Tretyakov Gallery (Russia), the Museum of Fine Arts of Turkmenistan, private collections in different countries.
Klychmurad Yarmamedov's artistic career is extremely diverse. He is the author of many decorative, monumental-memorial and easel sculptures. In his early monuments to Nedirbai Aitakov, in Ashgabat (1968); to Soldiers killed in 1941-1945, in Mary (1974); to the Discoverer of Oil, in Cheleken (1978), to the Classic Poet of Turkmen literature of the 19th century, Kemine, in Ashgabat (1980), Yarmamedov addresses the topic of a commoner and the events of his life. The figurative language of Yarmamedov's plastic art of those years is still relevant. His sculptures have no stiffness. They convey an acute perception of the form and motion of an object in space.
The laconic forms of his monuments, their marked monumentality, a clear-cut contrast of plain and beautiful surfaces, an expressive silhouette of the whole work - this modest set of means of artistic expression fill the space with dynamics and add dramatic notes. These characteristics can be clearly seen in his monumental works of the 1990s and 2000s, in particular in the shape of the Arch of Neutrality (1996), in the monuments to outstanding Oriental statesmen, thinkers and poets placed around the Monument of Independence (1998-2000) and in the Alley of Inspiration (2010).
The sculptor's monumental works convey motion and expression not through a sharp angle or facial expressiveness but through the internal stress of images. Yarmamedov is generously endowed with the gift of sculptor-historian. He perfectly knows the history of Turkmenistan, its culture, customs, myths and legends. He is lively, active, constantly sharing extraordinary stories with sequels. The events of the past, the images of historical personalities and heroes of folklore, the topics of love and suffering permeate all Yarmamedov's works.
This exciting great theme is increasingly reflected in easel sculpture. The artist's keen perception of tragic events of the past is revealed through the heightened expression of visual language - dramatization of plots, dynamics of gestures, angles and postures. In his easel works such as "Turanets" (1972-1973), "Rodoguna on a horse" (1978), "Seldzhukid on a horse" (1983) Yarmamedov deems it important to convey action and condition, to embody the pathos of struggle of freedom-loving people, presenting it through the enhanced expression of images full of impulse, anger, suffering, grief. This is the main goal of the artist. A sharp, energetic, tough interpretation of the size is similar to the motion that it conveys. All characters and situations are sharpened for an extremely concentrated expression.
Metaphors and allegories are another important aspect of Yarmamedov's works. Such means of artistic generalization reinforce the expressive character of Klychmurad Yarmamedov's art, but it never leads to the far-fetched symbolism. The allegorical language of his works always comes from life. The artist subtly applies it as a method of artistic vision and picturing of the world. He speaks the language of symbolic and allegorical images. Throughout his work, starting with the first easel works and finishing with his latest significant monumental works, we see how interestingly he solves this problem.
Images from folk art became an inexhaustible source of his creative search. Folklore is an encyclopedia of people's life. It provides the artist with an unlimited range of plots and most importantly with an opportunity to speak of what is important for a modern man. According to the artist, it was folklore that allowed him to fully discover his inner voice. "I try to comprehend the complex inner world of a person which is based on folklore motifs that evoke associations with the poetic nature of my people and its spiritual traditions."
Yarmamedov's genuine masterpiece "Mejnun" (1979) is one of his early works with which he deservedly attracted the public's attention owing to the perfect figurative embodiment of the image. The artist aimed to create a figure so that its posture was stable, the structure of the body was mighty and the condition of a person suffering from love was expressed in the language of sculpture. The hands serve to support the body and express a physical effort. The drooping head resting on the shoulders expresses thoughtfulness. The straight legs serve as a pedestal and make the figure complete.
The figure makes a closed, balanced whole. Seeing these works by Yarmamedov, one is amazed to discover how much a human body can express, and this is the moral nobility of the artist's work. Each part of it relates to the whole and, at the same time, enriches the characteristics. Mejnun's static posture is full of internal stress. Thoughtfulness entwines with strength and courage. The silhouette is born from the natural posture, from the state of deep thinking. It is already at this stage that the author reaches his highest expression.
His work "Vis and Ramin" (1996) on the Parthian love story of Queen Vis and Prince Ramin presents a symbol of attraction of lovers' hearts. The figures of lovers grow up as if from the bud of a tripped flower. The impression of motion in Yarmamedov's sculpture is enhanced by the interweaving bodies. The accurate reproduction of movements of the figures conveys one metaphor - assimilation of lovers to a knot in which the movement of twisted threads comes as if from the earth and evaporates in the air.
The author often enriches the legends, providing a historical basis for his works, with his own philosophical views, demonstrating freshness and brightness of his fantasy, the gift of a skilled storyteller. The images he created are concise, emotional and extremely open.
Yarmamedov is a subtle and lyrical artist. This is evidenced by small-sized female figures "Eva Vostochnaya" (2000), "Shirin descending into the water" (1988-1989) that are distinguished by their freedom and sincerity. No matter how powerful is the size of Eve's figure, no matter how well the subordination of particulars to the whole is expressed, the flexible silhouette of this figure presents a wavy contour. The forms of her body seem to have been made of the sea waves and inspired by the modern style. The goddess of fertility with a juicy fruit in her hands retains the traditional pose of calm grandeur, but she is too alive.
There are also everyday scenes ("Kis-Kis", 2003; "Dressing Up", "New Shoes", 2010) in Yarmamedov's works that expressively convey his life observations. The grotesque nature of plastic art, the smooth outlines of the figures and rhythmic balance and harmony give them subtle lyricism. The topics of such sculptures are normally most simple and unpretentious, such as about a woman putting her dress on or calling a cat from under her bed or trying on new shoes. The figures are noted for the complete absence of sublime aspirations. The images of his women do not convey complex emotions, they only accurately present the life itself.
By his nature, inquisitive and ironic vision of the surrounding reality, great skills to convey emotions, starting from pathetic to "homely" playfulness, Yarmamedov remains a truly people's artist. The deeper one tries to grasp the essence of his art, the more clearly one understands the deep human component in his works. To be completely truthful in his art and not look for compromises on the beaten track, to speak honestly about the most important things not fearing the obstacles - this is this course of life that he chose for himself once and for all.

Altyndzhemal BAYLYEVA

©Turkmenistan Analytic magazine, 2005