Ramal Kazim is a conceptual painter and sculptor based in Baku and Belgium. Originally from Ganja, he studied fine art at the Azerbaijani State Academy of Arts and was noticed by Yarat Contemporary Art Space very early in his career. While his practice is primarily on canvas, he has also created sculpture that is a three-dimensional representation of the same themes that he uses in his paintings. He has participated in a number of group exhibitions in Azerbaijan and Europe and his work is held in various private collections. He presented a solo exhibition of his works at Yay Gallery in Baku in 2012 and in 2014/2015 he participated in the Milano GAP global art program residency. In 2017 he moved to Belgium for graduate studies at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerpen, where he continues his practice today.
Ramal explores myriad layers of emotion in his work. His style is reminiscent of Egon Schiele and Francis Bacon for his use of exaggeration of shape and scale in his portrayals of the human body, in turn echoing the emotional landscape of his subjects. His compositions are produced on large-scale canvases, giving him a vast field to warp the physicality of the figures that he portrays in his work. Their expressions are dramatic, portraying the visible manifestation of their inner life; his figurative work often includes exposed bodies, fragile and wrought in their physicality, a reflection of emotional vulnerability. Recently, he has begun to experiment with new subjects – flowers, carpets, and vegetal themes – creating still-life portraits in his signature style. Saturated in vibrant colors, the flowers stretch across his canvases, expressing the same universal emotional sentiments in his figurative work. In his carpet paintings, his technical skill is on display as he plays with the scale and dimension of the traditional Azerbaijani carpet through visual manipulation. While the subjects of his paintings appear tortured and passionate, Ramal’s intention is to confront the uncomfortable realities of life in his work and begin to understand where they come from. However, not all of his work is melancholic – he also uses his figures to convey humor through contextualizing the bodies and their expressions in different situations and places, commentaries on life in all of its complexity.
With his recent move to Belgium, Ramal’s practice continues to mature; the change of scenery has injected a fresh perspective into his artistic investigation into human emotion. As the home of the famous Flemish painter Peter Paul Rubens, the city of Antwerpen has inspired Ramal’s figurative artwork, which has developed over the course of his time abroad. Despite these influences, he is still experimenting with the colors and patterns of Azerbaijan, as shown in his compelling new series of graphic manipulations of Azerbaijani carpets which distort and refract the symmetry of the traditional artform. In December 2018 he will hold a solo exhibition of his new artwork at the Martin Van Blerk Gallery in Antwerpen, blending his evolving artistic practice with the imagery and symbolism of his home.