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Sunday, September 7, 2014, Bhadra 23, 1421, Zilqad 11, 1435 Hijr

The Cart Of Art 
Kostabi's 'Commercial Suicide'
Yusuf Banna
Publish Date : 2014-09-07,  Publish Time : 00:00,  View Count : 12
There is a crude juxtaposition between consumerism and commercial art which recurs in Kostabi's paintings in an irony of surreal gesture and his digital approach in different whimsical elements that are found scattered in his painting.
The title itself is a mockery to the capitalistic world which through a hanging man with a brush in his left hand has been depicted by the artist as a metaphor of commercial death. Such a death can only be caused by suicide and what Kostabi tried to say is the existential crises and the creative trauma often overlap the unconscious mind of an artist and when it comes to the conscious layer he can't help but kill himself. There are two types of death that can occur to an artist's mind - one is to compromise his artistic maneuver by selling himself to the consumerist world and the other is the death of the creative self in him.
In 'Commercial Suicide' the pivotal element which is the hanging figure of an artist from a cross like structure, where on the other ends of it Kostabi hanged Picasso's famous bull head made from a seat of a bicycle, a skeleton of a fish, a painting of Piet Mondrian, a laptop covered with viscous saliva and Dali?s egg. Now all these elements are juxtaposed symbols of purity of art, honesty of an artist and on the other side the soulless being of an artist in the context of the machinery of life.
There is a term in art called 'Artist's prostitution' where an artist had to commercialize his art to cope up with this world to meet his ends. The consequences of this according to Kostabi is commercial suicide of an artist which creates nightmares in his mind, his creativity dies gradually which is depicted by the anthromorphic forms of monster faces blended with human face in the middle of the painting and the draped easel in the lower right of the composition.
In a nutshell, Kostabi's resolution in this issue of the crisis of an artistic mind trying to blend in the capitalistic world is translated in very clean and crisp language of imagery with a connotation of mockery and irony beneath all the visible elements.

The writer can be reached at [email protected]

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