Words are not just words
they are kisses
on the lips of silence
that speak of your essence

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Momo Kapor

Momo Kapor, the artist who wrote many books, made many drawings and paintings and lived his life as a form of the art left us on March 3rd.
Although he was mainly popular for his writing Momo was very passionate painter. I read in one of his last interviews that he regrets not dedicating ALL of his time to painting.
I have added the video where you can see him, hear his voice, it is something he wrote about Dubravka Zubovic (the opera singer) and she is there with him too. Also I recommend you to read a piece of his writing "East-West", added below.
He will be missed, he possesed the incredible charm, forever and ever he will be the Inspiration.
I guess, to all of us, when somebody like Momo says goodbye it is like saying:
"Find what you love to do and do it a lot."

EAST – WEST by Momo Kapor

In the East, clerks work from seven to three. In the West, from nine to five. The clerkly East wakes up at half past five. The clerkly West at seven. The drowsy East creeps through a foggy winter morning, cursing jobs, the state, life, fate... the East is half-shaved. This is because men shaved the previous evening so as to be able to sleep longer in the morning. The smoothly-shaved West rides in the metro in silence. The East tells political jokes in an overcrowded bus. The West reads newspapers in complete silence. Nobody talks.
The East falls in love with an unknown green-eyed working girl. Naturally, the East arrives to his working place at half past seven and angrily says to his boss: "What? We are not in the West, for God's sake!" The West begins working at nine. The East gradually comes to himself. He has had three coffees and has read in the newspaper what is happening in the West. At half past eight, the East discusses last evening's television news... The West is already immersed in work. He cannot discuss what was on 67 channels as nobody watches the same program.
At half past ten the East, with a two-hour handicap, goes to his deserved breakfast. He breakfasts head in tripe, goulashes, pljeskavica, burek, bean soup, lamb with sweet cabbage, stewed sauerkraut with meat and similar dishes, as if he's been digging all morning. Later, he chews a toothpick and has three beers with medals from a world exhibition. The West has a lunch break between twelve and one o'clock, He eats a sandwich with cold chicken (white meat) and drinks "7-Up". Then he returns to work. In the hall of the company building he drinks his first instant-coffee from a paper cup.
The East already has the advantage of three beers and two vinjaks (grape brandy). On the way he hears about a sale and drops by to see what's all about and returns to the office two hours later. The West agrees to hold a trade union meeting on Saturday because it is a non-working day. The agenda is to decide whether go on strike.
The East is given a frozen flank of beef by the trade union, which is placed into the freezer. The bloodstained suit is being dry cleaned. At three the East goes home, but first he drops by for one more beer. The West is still working.
The East has a lunch and then the family walks on tiptoe because the father is tired from work. The West continues to work. The East is still napping on the divan, having first covered his face with a newspaper because of flies. They wake him up at 19.30 to watch the news. The East has a thousand objections about the economic situation. After watching the news, the East sets heartily to a light dinner: cooked pork knee joint with horse radish and red wine provided by the father-in-law from the village.
At six o'clock the West returns home. He has no energy to read newspapers in the underground. The West has extracted everything from the West. The East is fresher in the evening than in the morning! He plays cards with his friends and opens a third bottle of red wine. An exhausted West takes off his shoes and has a whiskey to recover. He drops into an armchair and watches flickering television images without understanding the issue at all. He wonders if life has any sense. Where does this all lead to? He eats his dinner in apathy: a tasteless Atlantic fish and cooked vegetables. A glass of white wine.
At this moment the East has the advantage with five bottles of red wine. The West goes to bed early. Tomorrow is a working day. The West will live only on the weekend. From five p.m. Friday to Sunday morning. For the East, every day is a holiday. I wouldn't live in the West, he says to his wife, if they give me a million a day!
The West takes sleeping pills. The East carelessly borrows money from West. The West grants credits to live from the profits of the East. Both East and West sleep like babies and dream in colours.


Kittie Howard said...

Vesna, I am truly sorry about Momo Kapor's passing. From what I saw and read, he has left a beautiful legacy. I really enjoyed East-West. I lived in Skopje, Macedonia, for two years, and returned every year for four years to visit friends (who live in a walk-up flat). While it is difficult t0 fully understand another culture, I think I learned much (including a bit of the language)to understand what Mamo Kapor wrote. I especially liked his ending where East and West both dream in colours. If this weren't a blog, but a university course, his summary would lead to hours and hours of discussion, for it's true...the discussion would be How it's true and Why it's true...at least, I think. I'm going to research more of his writing. Thank you and my condolences.

Vesna said...

Thank you very much Kittie for your attention, I felt inspired to share a bit of his legacy and spread the word about his creative life. You are so incredibly resourceful, real citizen of the World, it is an honor to know you.

zoe said...

oh, this story is fantastic! he's hysterical. i love his artwork, i had never read his writing before--but i will have to look for more in english (or learn serbian faster:))
i'm so sad to hear of his passing. but i agree with the meaning of his life: do what you love, a lot...
hvala puno, lepotice!

Diane said...

A truly incredible read Vesna of a remarkable life!

Kittie Howard said...

Vesna, please drop by my blog. I have an award for you. Thanks, Kittie

Zara said...

Oh that is very sad news... Unfortunatelly I wasn't much familiar with Momo Kapor's works before. I like his paintings and enjoyed reading "East and West", humorous and very precise observation! I myself once used to work for some years in such West desperately doing my best to live as East... I'll search now for more of his writings to read. Thank you Vesna...

Eric ForFriends said...

Such a lovely little story, it has a wise smile. What a pity to hear about this writer just now that he's gone. Still, it's a great tribute, Vesna!

Anonymous said...

I found a book of his in my closet and was so thrilled about it. It's been decades since I thought of him so I went to look him up and this was the first thing I read:
"Kapor was born in Sarajevo in 1937 and graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade in 1961. He was a member of the "Committee to Protect the Truth of Radovan Karadžić"[3] and was a defense witness at Slobodan Milošević's trial at the ICTY Tribunal.[5]"

This just sounded absolutely ridiculous and impossible.
I don't know what to make out of it.
A man of such charisma and intellect could have not held hands with such idiots.
I was wondering what is your take on this?

Vesna said...

Hello Jasmin,
thank you for visiting the blog, I recognize the source of the information was wikipedia.
I honestly don't know a lot about Momo Kapor's political views. My post was intented to remember him mainly for his artistic life, the one that he was passionate about.
I think there is a problem on the web that there is not enough resources in English about Momo.
If I find more references (worth reading) I will add them here.

Anonymous said...

Your blog is quite interesting and fun to read, I could see why were you drawn to Kapor's work.
I was always under the impression that high artistic creativity gives rise to a high moral level within a human in some genuine natural way, so it just did not make sense to throw Momo in a same bucket with war criminals.

And through most of his work his message was about true freedom of thought within different social realities.
Thanks for replying.

Vesna said...

I really don't know if there is a realtionship between an artistic creativity and a moral level within a human.
I like your way of thinking and I am really grateful that you've started the conversation.
Thank you Jasmin, you made me think:)

Anonymous said...

The reason why I think that holds true is take for example a little human that is just emerging into this world.
It comes to you with an expression as if it knows the secret order of the cosmos.
Yet, it takes you quite some time to get him comfortable within the society. You help him unfold his thinking capacities,give him some historical orientation and if you are lucky (stubborn) enough you might even manage to help him build self esteem.
The only thing you will never be able to "teach" him is empathy.
The child might do the things out of sense of duty but will it actually feel that was the right thing to do is questionable.
If the child is surrounded with artistic expression (especially in teenage years) and inspired to create on its own this will give rise to empathy on its own.
Healthy sense for universal human love comes from enjoying the beauty of the arts.
That's why I married an artist to save myself LOL

mala_bgd said...


Do you know which books wrote by Momo Kapor can be found in English or Spanish?