IDEA about an exhibition on the issue of the most burdening
theme in 1999 in the Republic of Macedonia, the tragedy of refugees
flooding the region, and the sense of direct witnessing of human
drama and suffering, has led to a quick reply in the concepts
of artists and subsequently to a complex exhibition unprecedented
to the historic inheritance and engagement of artists of the
Skopje scene, covering 10 projects of artists of different cultural
idioms, characteristics and generations, in the Museum of the
City of Skopje.
This artistic testimony
of a situation of imesurable negative processes and destructions
in our region, signifies one of the rare times when the Macedonian
artists have prefered to respond to an actual situation exploring
the deeply human themes, communicating thus the specifics of our
situation and asking provocative questions to the society, rather
than to proceed into the process of self-isolation. The way in which
the theme of refugees in Macedonia is treated is an important moment
in our recent art because it has so far been regarded, with few
exceptions, as beeing formalist, non-provocative and non-political.
The project Artists & Refugees represents an attempt to investigate
the visual language of the theme burdening us at the end of this
millennium in the region of the Balkans, as well as to raise questions
about information and interpretation of information. The artists
have tried to investigate the events, relations, causes, entering
as deeply as possible into various levels of the Balkan conflict,
retaining their critical awareness of the context, and trying to
analyze the mutations of the situation on the Balkans and its particular
complex routes such as war, which is constantly appearing as a means
of primitive solution of problems in the region.
They have as a result created a mosaic of 10 art works covering
human destinies, disapointments, sufferings, tensions, passing themselves
through a battlefield of emotions in which it was not possible to
remain non-responding, and ethically neutral. This process was especially
important for the artists taking into consideration that the ethic
and political opinions do not necessarily converge. Some of them
have investigated the influencing factors such as the politics,
imprisonment with historical particularities, and the changing values.
This subject of the exhibition as a result is not alienated from
Ismet Ramicevic with his installation Pain + Food = Souvenir accompanied
with the video performance Washing of dishes has investigated not
only the hunger but also the absence of wish for life, and the sorrow
of people leaving their homes. The main element of the installation
are empty saucers signifying the deep spiritual pain which should
point to the senselessness of war, representing also the heads of
the participants in wars which convey of absence of conscience and
ratio of people.
Violeta Capovska in her installation 300,000 has used the same number
of papers on which she has inscribed words most commonly exploited
in different media regarding the Kosovo crisis, describing the physical,
emotional and mental condition of the 300,000 refugees in Macedonia.
Ljupka Deleva in her installation Album with Memories refers to
the loss and deserting of the current way of life, becoming 10 years
older (in a period of 20 days), change in the meaning of "collective
psychosis". [The only inseparable things from each one of us
are our memories. - Deleva]
Emil Petrov and Kristina Miljanovska have presented the project
Labyrinth consisted of a CD-Rom and installation in which the visitor
is led through different crossed passages limited with doors, in
which it is not easy to direct, a position in which it is difficult
to survive, to find an exit from it.
Robert Jankuloski in his photographic installation Red Line consisted
of 5 silver toned photo objects from the cycle Stereographies does
not enter into the analysis of personalities in the camps but concentrates
on the general atmosphere of the refugee camps.
Zaneta Vangeli with the complex installation The F.Y.R.O.M. Experiment
consisted of 5 plotter prints and one ready made object, refers
to the multi-layerness and polysignification of the current events
in our region.
["The refuge" may be observed in its evident, physical
form, in the spheres of the mental and in the spheres of the spiritual.
It is not possible to treat the problem of the physical refugees,
with all of the apocalyptic weight it carries, without treating
the invisible, unmanifested in the refuge matter - Vangeli]
Elizabeta Avramovska in her project Disaster Relief consisted of
13 plotter prints is presenting life photographs from the refugee
camps in Macedonia such as Stenkovec, Nevestino, etc. The idea for
this project is urged by the need to realistically present the life
in the camp as well as events that the refugee life brings with
Milcho Manchevski in his project Stenkovec, Vase Veles, uses
2 life photographs investigating the form of the medium of photography
and observing children at play at different sites. [Refugees and
non-refugees look alike - Manchevski]
Stefan Saskov and Lara Taskovska in the project Abandoned Eternity
consisted of a video and two plotter prints deal with the theme
of eternal refugees, from times described in the Old Testament up
to most recent events in our region. They use images and frames
covered with prayers from the Koran, naration of texts from the
Bible and Church chanting. [Murmur, thud, fear, belief-infidelity,
chaos, crying...PEACE. - Saskov]
Natasa Dimitrievska and Biljana Tanurovska in the project Can You
Hear MeTalking consisted of a video film and 3 plotter prints investigated
how the young people perceive the situation and how it affects their
emotions. The film deals with individuals and groups, with a stress
on the transmission of information and the influence of media in
the everyday life of ordinary people.
It is our hope that the
project Artists&Refugees will serve the purpose of directing
the viewpoint of our society towards the urging of a constant research
of deeply human themes, observing, detecting, and understanding
the raissed questions and burdening problems, as well as in conveying
to others the specifics of our situation.
We also hope that the pursuing in the artistic investigation of
the problem of refugees in the late nineties will have a cathartic
impact assisting as much as possible in the overcoming of the stereotypes
and the spirit of intolerance creating thus an atmosphere of reconcilation
and re-building of peace in our region.
Skopje, July 1999