French artist Paul Gauguin saw himself as a “heroic artist searching for deeper truths”. Such a fundamental inner drive inspired him to express himself through diverse means which in the end saw him become a “symbolist” painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramist and writer. Through all these means as well as his focus on the ancient beliefs, which introduced him to the notion of universality of religions, he constructed a kind of self-mythology. Central to this mythology was his indulgence in the “savage” which means wild, and therefore primitive and free. “I try to confront rotten civilization with something more natural, based on savagery", said Gauguin while describing his search in his art. An art which cannot be said to be merely the symbol of his life but his life itself. The fact that he spent an important part of his early life in Peru certainly influenced his understanding of the world and of art. For him, to go forward and open new doors in art meant going backwards and becoming aware of the values in primitive societies which praised love, abundance and the natural embracing of wholeness through the sexual freedom which occurs very generously in his creations. 


Text © Cigdem Mirol