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Un pintor llamado Iván en español     
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A Painter Called Iván

Texts Photos Pablo Etchevers

Over twenty years ago, he resolved to get away from everything and everyone in order to return when he wished to do so. Those who know him or have seen his work assert that he is one of the greatest artists nature has bore. Let me introduce you to Ivan.

Iván Moricz Karl, painter
He walks leisurely, slowly, like someone who knows exactly what lies behind every tree, at the end of the road, on the shores of that lake today painted in turquoise.
The place popularly known as “Boquete” (gap) is a site away from the world lying at the end of Lake Lolog, very close to San Martín de los Andes. One of the most beautiful natural paradises in Argentinian Patagonia.

There lives Iván Moricz Karl, best known as “Iván”. After improving his art of portraying nature for years, he resolved to become a part of it. He left the city behind and moved into the animal world he used to depict in each of his trips.

P.E: How did you get to this place?
I.M.K: Thanks to the wise vision of the National Parks Administration, the support of the government of Neuquén and the help of great friends, I reached this magical site which in fact used to be a small cabin used by the park rangers as a shelter for many years.

The shelter had become deteriorated and was finally abandoned to the designs of time as new more strategic points were created to control fires better, or else to move from one point to another much faster. Iván, along with his friends, managed to raise it and bring it back to life. Today, we could assert that this is his home and that there is no place on Earth that he may know better. His garden is no other than the forest itself.

P.E: How did you approach painting?
I.M.K: I was very young. Since I was 13 and until I turned 17 years old, I had to stay in bed due to an illness. It was then that I began to paint in order to kill time. I used to copy the works of great masters, especially of watercolor. Little by little, the questions arose.

P.E: Which questions?
I.M.K: All kinds of questions. But there was one work that I considered perfect, unique, and it had such influence on me that nothing was ever the same again.
Iván Moricz Karl, painter
The work he mentions was “La joven liebre” (A Young Hare), painted by Alberto Durero in 1502. A watercolor whose perfection is such that it was a school/lesson for countless naturalists who began to see paining from a new point of view: hyperrealism.

P.E: What other influences did you have?
I.M.K: Axel Amuchástegui was the one who encouraged me the most to experience naturalistic painting. His meticulous work with birds and animals in general within their natural habitat was a model for me. My hunter friends also taught me a lot. The fact of sharing outings was a way of getting close to the pray, to see how it moves, to witness the right moment. Painting has that aspect: it requires observation, perseverance, thinking...

For Iván, the foreword to the famous book Veinte años de Caza Mayor (Twenty Years of Big Game Hunting) by Conde de Yepes, written by the Spanish philosopher José Ortega y Gasset (1883-1955), perfectly summarizes the work of the hunter and this same work may be used by the painter, who is also a hunter of nature.

I.M.K: A painter is also a hunter, a walker of nature, like a photographer. It was the hunters who introduced me to nature. Like Ortega y Gasset said, “…hunting is a perfect imitation of the acts of the animal…”

P.E: But you came from Buenos Aires, how is it possible that instinct has awakened overnight, like Jack London would say in his book “The Call of the Blood”?
I.M.K: I used to live in Buenos Aires and traveled to these places in order to paint. Little by little I began to wonder what I was doing and why. In the cities, you have access to many things, but you just borrow them. The cinema, the coffee-shop, everything is borrowed. And so I began to wonder: what is mine? What have I really got? What have I earned myself? You cannot be a protagonist in the city.
Iván Moricz Karl, painter
P.E: And what is your life like here? How do you decide when to paint and when not to?
I.M.K: In the summer, friends and acquaintances from all over the world come to visit. In the winter, when it starts to snow and there are days on which you cannot even open the door of the cabin due to the snow packed there, then I start to paint. The birds are the only ones who come to visit. They are in my eyes and the entire process of painting begins at that moment.

P.E: Does the ideal painting exist?
I.M.K: The best painting is the one coming next. It would be great that somebody might buy a painting and change what they do not like or add something according to their own taste. Then the painting would have no end, it would never be ready. That is what painting is about. You paint in the knowledge that the next painting is going to be better. In my own painting, I try to rescue my own feelings, details, colors, shapes, what I feel and what happens to me. That is why I have my binoculars always on.

P.E: You love birds... What do you see in them?
I.M.K:Perfection. The way they fly, the way they move, the way they gather. When I paint, I search the ideal of each species, in a way. The ideal of a species, of the thousands of birds that give life to that species, may be summarized in only one bird. That is what my painting is about.
Iván Moricz Karl, painter
He walks away quietly towards the thick forest, where the birds sing or "speak"; like he likes to say. He is surely thinking what his next painting is going to be about.

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