Ahmet Öğüt: JUMP UP!

Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje

26. May – 19. September, 2022

Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje is pleased to present the solo exhibition of Ahmet Öğüt, internationally acclaimed artist.

Ahmet Öğüt’s projects are mosly focused on collecting local stories and looking for similarities elsewhere. Politically, the author reveals the complex cross-vulnerabilities that exist between us and the other species, between people of the past and those who are yet to come.

For the exhibition at MoCA Skopje, the artist will create a new work entitled “Jump Up!”. The work is inspired by the act of solidarity when, having been donated with gifts from authors from around the world after the earthquake in Skopje in 1963, MoCA – Skopje becomes the home to an exceptional collection of contemporary art in the country.

The artist places the works high above the observer’s eye, in a distorted horizon, which refers not only to the balance shifted during the earth displacement, but also tо the disturbances that results from the political shifts and their interconnections. Viewers become performers while their history-related memories that they collectively experience through their own physical experience is activated in a jump, and through a different perspective on works from the collection.

Selected works by the artist from the MoCA collection also reconstruct their original mission of connecting the local and global narratives within within today’s socio-political context, and reveal the attempt to call for action based on radical art history and everyday social interaction through works of art that questions institutional decolonization, representation of female authors, LGBT issues etc.

Hence, in addition to re-actualizing an important socio-geographical event, the work makes a “jump” into a different narrative through contemporary interpretation, as a way of overcoming grief, as a compromise and a collaborative process.

Öğüt’s work focuses on creating sustainable ideas for life and reinterpreting everyday life, with an emphasis on everyday encounters, moments of improvisation, and generation of new political arguments.

It is through installations, sculptures, drawings, collages and videos inspired by social, cultural and political reality, that the exhibition under the imperative title “Jump Up!” invites the visitor to step out of the comfort zone and the current habits of perception and thinking, and respond to the new challenges from a different perspective.

The exhibition covers topics such as: institutional ecology and structural inequality through a series of sculptures entitled “Living Beings Squatting Institutions”, emphasizing that living beings and cultures will find ways to coexist in their many different forms, even despite the exclusionary policies; the series of drawings “Fantasized Fantastic Corporal World” – ironic and paradoxical experiences of state repression of the management of everyday life; interventions on original Malta envelopes, such as “social readymades” conveying political messages inside and outside the country; and the “Rec Date July 95” series of collages that coincide with the offline Reuters news of events in South Korea, France, Russia, Germany and Japan in July 1995.

The artist invites us to “jump” into new behaviors and values, new narratives with their spatial implications, and to rethink the network connection between human and inhuman life, their dependence and symbiosis, to take a “jump” in changed and towards changing social norms, as opposed to the culture of everyday rough and politically cruel.

All the micro-stories and important historical events in the works of Ahmet Öğüt -recontextualized by means of various techniques – emphasize the idea that what is surreal are the circumstances, not the real events. They are actuators of the imagination, incentives to expand the range of possible reinvention of new ways of formulating problems, free from the imperative imposed by the state.

Consequently, the meeting with his works turns into a sort of an invitation for social engagement.

The exhibition is curated by Mira Gakina and Jovanka Popova.

Prior to the opening, at 7 p.m the audience will have an opportunity to attend a conversation and a guided tour of the exhibition in the presence of the artist.

The exhibition is realized with the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of North Macedonia, SAHA – Supporting Contemporary Art from Turkey, EVN Macedonia, and Tikvesh.