By Balthazar Klarwein
Mati Klarwein: father, guru and holy goat, by Balthazar Klarwein. Featured in the Spring/Summer 2011 issue of Buffalo Zine.
'MATI' It must have been the first word I learned after 'MAMA'. On weekends, Mama would send my brother and I to the monastery at the top of the mountain, surrounded by an army of medieval olive trees which where planted by the great Ramon Llull and his troop of infidel Abduls back in 1300a.c
In this Temple, in front of a canvas, stood the father, guru and holy goat MATI. Highly concentrated at his easel, creating a new window in to the universe with his ultra thin paintbrush. His studio was the space where the past and the future meet and dance together to a funky afro-cuban rhythm mixed by Camarón de la Isla dressed as Vishnu and where every day is new years eve! (Kubrick imagined the end of the universe as a white futuristic baroque room, I think that if we could travel at the speed of light we would eventually end up in Mati’s studio)
Once Mass was over, Father Abdul would call us to his kitchen where we would proceed to eat kofta with couscous and drink the blood of Christ. Except that in this church Christ was depicted as a beautiful naked mulata, hanging up side down from her cross. And the cross wasn’t a cross but a great tree of life where the leafs and fruit are represented as a huge orgy of white women with black men.
Mati could have given us long sermon’s about his past: Adventures in which he created the world together with friends like Andy Warhol, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis and Timothy Leary. About how he was a psychedelic painter much before the arrival of the great LSD wave, and the last surrealist after sharing models and chewing on melting clocks with Salvador Dalí in Paris. But Mati was humble and disliked nostalgia, he was a philosopher who always looked forward, a nomad painter, half German and half Jewish with and Arab soul and an African heart. Only when I grew up did I understand why they called him the “most famous unknown painter”.
Balthazar Klarwein, London, February 1st, 2011