Within the MSU Skopje Interdisciplinary Program, in the last five years, several lectures were held from different fields of critical theory, art criticism, contemporary art and museology, as well as conversations and artists talks presenting the works of Macedonian and world artists.
The recorded part of that program for the museum’s video and audio archive, which has already been published on the YouTube channel and the MSU Facebook network, can also be streamed on our website, which has recently been placed in the Educational Programs section: https://msu.mk/lectures/
The project of the fashion designer agnes b., the unique magazine point d’ironie (www.pointdironie.com/index.php) in its latest 67th edition presents the project of Leonard Hilton McGarr aka Futura, the American graffiti artist who together with Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf in the 1980s became known for introducing abstraction within the street graffiti idiom.
Typically spread over eight pages, which are given to each artist invited by the magazine’s editor – well known Swiss curator Hans Ulrich Obrist – point d’ironie in the latest issue brings Futura’s anti-war message, as the title of his project NO GUERRA reads: “NO GUERRA is a creative presentation of concepts, individuals, places and ideas. Thanks for your anti-war thoughts…”
The magazine is printed in one hundred thousand copies and distributed free of charge to art institutions and galleries in over one hundred countries worldwide. The Skopje Museum of Contemporary Art has been the only distributor for Macedonia for more than twenty years. The museum receives the magazine in a limited edition of one hundred copies, which can be obtained in the museum shop free of charge.
Lately one of the major restoration efforts of the Collections Department and the Conservation Department of the Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje is the conservation of one of the significant works in the museum’s international collection, the painting Virtue in Necessity by the recently deceased Italian artist Gianfranco Baruchello (1924 – 2023).
The painting is part of a large donation of works of art by several Italian artists, donated in the mid-sixties, as an expression of solidarity with the Macedonian capital, the city of Skopje, which in 1963 was struck by a catastrophic earthquake.
In the multidisciplinary and idiosyncratic work of Baruchello – which includes painting, sculpture, film, poetry, psychoanalysis, happenings, agriculture and radical activism – the painting Virtue in Necessity from 1963 (mixed media on canvas, 190 x 200 cm inv. no. 01864), originates from the very beginnings of his artistic career when he created a group of paintings conceptually key to his further oeuvre; paintings filled with fragmentary drawings, miniature worlds scattered on the decentered surface of his canvases.
But unlike this entire cycle, which is typically painted on a white background, Virtue in Necessity stands out among several early canvases for its intense red and orange background and its distinctive drawings and symbols, which the artist himself compares to thought processes and dreams, something that is typical of the Baruchello’s oeuvre in general.
During its existence, the painting has suffered minor damages caused in part by the changing atmospheric conditions of exposure or deposition at certain times in the past, as well as one major damage on part of the surface layer of the canvas, caused several years ago by a sudden leaking of the museum’s roof. All these factors made it impossible to include the work in occasional museum exhibitions.
Finally, with the restoration and conservation project prepared by the Department of Collections and Depot and the Conservation Department, in close cooperation with Ema Petrova Nikolovska, senior conservator at the National Conservation Center – a project financially supported by the Ministry of Culture and approved by the National Institute for the Protection of Cultural Monuments – the painting of Baruchello will soon be restored to its original state.
After the previously conducted research and chemical, microscopic, X-ray, and infrared analysis of samples from the surface of the canvas and fragments of the paint, the conservators Ljupco Iljovski and Jadranka Milčovska, in consultation with Ema Petrova Nikolovska, started the process of restoration and conservation, which in several stages mainly includes: thorough cleaning of surfaces from chemical damage with chemical means, fixing the colored layer with Japanese paper, ironing the deformations of the canvas, antiseptic treatment of the “blind frame”, injecting a binder, putting the damaged areas with restoration putty and leveling with egg emulsion that follows the original texture of the painted surface.
With the realization of the project, the Department of Conservation and Restoration confirms itself as one of the successful sectors of MSU Skopje, which after many years of stagnation due to insufficient personnel, and technical and financial support, has been on the rise for several years now and starting with the employment of conservator Ljupco Iljovski, accompanied recently by the external collaborator, conservator Jadranka Milchovska. Their constant professional concern for the condition of art objects enables the realization of one of the essential museum tasks, such as the protection of works of art and cultural heritage.
Tihomir Topuzovski is the new director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje. Following the recent resignation of Mira Gakjina, Topuzovski takes the position of acting director from his previous work at the museum as an editor of the Interdisciplinary and Discursive Programs and editor-in-chief of the Large Glass Journal.
Tihomir Topuzovski received his doctoral degree from the University of Birmingham in the UK. He also has two BAs in Philosophy and Art, and an MA in Art, and has received numerous academic achievement awards and research grants. He was also a postdoctoral researcher at the Centre for Baltic and East European Studies at the Södertörn University in Stockholm. His research is at the intersection of philosophy, politics, environmental sciences, and the visual arts. He has published a number of papers and participated in individual and group exhibitions. His latest work includes а monograph ‘Postanarchism and Critical Art Practices’ (forthcoming – Bloomsbury Academic), an edited book: with Saul Newman The Posthuman Pandemic (2021), published by Bloomsbury Academic. His other recent works are Aesthetics Technique and Spatial Occupation in Hybrid Political Regimes, Baltic Worlds, Vol. XIV:3, pp 57-63 (2021), and a contribution of chapter to an edited book: Topuzovski T. & Andreas L. (2020) Political protest, temporary urbanism and the deactivation of urban spaces, in Transforming Cities Through Temporary Urbanism – A Comparative Overview, ed. ANDRES, L & ZHANG, Y, Springer. He has organized and contributed to various artistic projects and presentations within the MoCA Skopje programs including ‘Dis/Ordering the Art World’ and ‘Landscape of Anxiety’. Topuzovski is editor-in-chief of The Large Glass Journal for Contemporary Art, Culture, and Theory, published annually by the Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje.
The Museum of Contemporary Art – Skopje informs that the director, Mira Gaćina, after six years of successful management as director of the museum resigned from this position for personal reasons.
Mira Gaćina, who held the position since the middle of 2017, is an art historian by vocation, with a doctorate in production and management of cultural institutions – case study MoCA-Skopje. Gathering and successfully working with an experienced team of curators, Mira Gaćina managed to put MSU on the map of internationally recognized museums, realizing several capital exhibition projects. One of the last major international projects, which is still ongoing, is the exhibition “No feeling is final: Solidarity Collection, MSU Skopje” in the Kunsthalle in Vienna, an exhibition that reaffirms the basic character of MSU Skopje as a museum of international solidarity. The exhibition will also travel to Prague next year, and contacts are underway with other museums to expand the dimensions of this project.
The series of exhibitions “Everything We Have in Common” which included the works and personal presence of a number of relevant world and regional artists, then the collaboration of exhibition projects in Krakow, Thessaloniki and the co-partnership with Manifesta, one of the most important world manifestations of contemporary art, are only some of the successful international projects of MoCA Skopje. Here we should also mention the importance of the Interdisciplinary Program, which, together with the renewed publication of the Large Glass magazine, was very successful in the presentation of today’s relevant theoretical and critical practices. These international successes were crowned by the Museum’s admission to CIMAM (International Association of Museums of Modern Art), as well as the international award “Živa” awarded to MSU for creativity and special achievements.
During her tenure, Mira Gaćina and the curatorial team have continuously produced exhibitions including appearances and collaborations with world-renowned, regional, and Macedonian artists.
The revival of the specific solidarity character of the Skopje Museum of Contemporary Art is of exceptional importance for the enriching the collections with over a hundred new gifts from foreign and Macedonian artists and donors. During this period the museum also raised to a much higher level the importance of the educational programs as one of its essential social missions.
In her statement, Mira Gaćina points out her personal motivations for taking the position: “Probably many residents of Skopje, like me, were, and still are, fascinated by the MoCA’s building, which calmly observes the City, without imposing itself.
But what is the real value of its collection, and especially of its concept, as a museum initiated and realized by the artists’s donations, I realized this over time, through my studies and comparisons with other world museums.
I accepted the opportunity to demonstrate the potential of this Museum, knowing in advance how many followers it has and considering their enthusiasm I intended to revive the pioneering ideals.
Together with the team of curators, we envisioned this Museum of Solidarity as an Open Museum, open to all generations, to all groups, to all communities, and above all, to the people of Skopje, as an integral part of Old Skopje, with all its cultural diversity, following the original Mission. But the most important thing, I think, is that we inspired a new generation of international artists to donate works to the Museum. Solidarity as a value rose above the spontaneous reaction caused by the earthquake in a museum concept, as a transgenerational connection of the artists.
Despite the fact that I will be away from the Museum for a while, I will nevertheless remain forever motivated to participate in its further development, satisfied that the Museum, after 60 years since its foundation, is once again one of the most convincing values of Skopje’s urban life.”
Highlighting some of the more significant achievements, the expert team and employees of the Museum of Contemporary Art hope that this trend of raising the levels of the institution’s work will be properly recognized and will find even greater support from the Ministry of Culture and long-term partners and supporters.
The educational program within MoCA Skopje expands the educational discourse with a series of lectures and workshops titled “MoCA School” under the mentorship of the artist Nikola Uzunovski. The program starts on October 3rd, with lectures every Tuesday and Thursday beginning at 8 PM (with an exception for the national holidays on October 24 and 26).
The lectures are free, but regular attending of the sessions and prior registration of the participants are recommended. All those interested can register by October 2nd at the e-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org, with first and last name, profession and announcement whether they will follow the whole course or individual lectures.
The program aims to sharpen general education, knowledge and interest in visual, especially contemporary visual art. The program of “MoCA School” is aimed, first of all, at the students of the Faculty of Fine Arts, the students of History of Art and Archeology, the Faculty of Architecture, as well as the students who study design, fashion and anyone interested in the contemporary and have an affinity to get a sharper picture of art.
More details about dates and the subjects: School programs
Using artificial intelligence (AI) technology, Microsoft has developed The Sol LeWitt App. dedicated to the art and work of the influential American artist Sol LeWitt, the pioneer of minimalism and conceptual art, an artist who is also represented in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje with his donation of a portfolio with two significant series of prints.
The application is a guide in an engaging and interactive way through LeWitt’s extraordinarily productive and thematically diverse body of work, such as:
– virtual tour of his working studio in Chester, Connecticut, which is usually closed to the public;
– mapping and scanning some of his wall drawings executed in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia;
– the exploration of LeWitt’s life that shows the global influence of his art;
– the app also offers a collection of articles that shed light on 6 of LeWitt’s working topics, as well as never-before-seen audio, video and sketches from LeWitt himself.
The app was developed in collaboration with Sol LeWitt Estate and is conceptualized and curated by Lindsay Aveilhé.
The Sol LeWitt App is available for free on Google Play, App Store and Microsoft Store App.
The award “Most Successful Artist and Work” at the 14th International Biennale of Young Artists thematically titled “Awakening” was equally awarded to Serhat Emrulai (North Macedonia), for his installation entitled “Between” from 2022 and to Nadja Kračunović (Serbia), for her video performance “Hydra” from 2023. The prize consists of solo exhibitions in the Museum of Contemporary Art – Skopje, which will take place in 2024.
The jury consisting of cultural theorist Slavcho Dimitrov, and curators Bojana Janeva and Vladimir Janchevski, explained its unanimous decision saying: “When making the decision for this year’s winner of the award for the most successful artist and his/her work, the consideration was additionally influenced by the overall practice of the artists represented at this Biennale and their potential for the realization of a more significant step through an independent presentation at MSU Skopje. Hence, in the works of two award-winning artists, Serhat Emrulai and Nadja Kračunović, and their use of various media and well-developed conceptual postulates, the jury saw deep sensitivity and subtlety in addressing, analyzing and presenting various social, political and cultural issues relevant to the present.”
“Hydra” by Nadja Kračunović is a performative video displaying several months of investigation in the field of the personal, authentic, intimate female voice as a resistance to the patriarchal landscape. The highly developed conceptual arrangement through the supporting role of sound, the voice in the form of a scream, whisper, or silence, the multifaceted visual meanings, the collective work with other artists, as well as the simultaneous clear and strong message to the viewer make this work an overall biennial achievement.
Serhat Emrulai’s installation “Between” addresses the question of time through the continuous cacophonous sound of the spinning of teaspoons, where past and present are marked by continuous anticipation. Sharing a personal impression, a childhood memory of an ordinary daily life routine, the author signifies the collective human need for connection, a significant change always expected from the future, concentrated in the moment/s of waiting. Also, this work answered the question posed by this year’s biennial theme, how artists experienced the pandemic restrictive period when the whole world was hostage to a time filled with waiting for the moment when things would change.
This year’s 14th Biennale of Young Artists was organized by the Museum of Contemporary Art in the period from April 6 to May 26, 2023
On April 20. 2023, Kunsthalle Vienna is opening the exhibition No Feeling is Final: The Skopje Solidarity Collection presenting a selection of works from the valuable art collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje, North Macedonia. This exhibition comes as a result of the cooperation between the two art institutions. The project was conceived and curated by the artistic directors of Kunsthalle, the curatorial collective What, How & for Who/WHW (Ivet Ćurlin, Natasha Ilić, and Sabina Sabolović).
The curators invited four international contemporary artists and an artistic duo, who were asked to make their own selection from the valuable collection of MSU and devise a setting that would establish a dialogue between the works of those artists and their original work. The idea is to see how today’s artists experience and relate to works in this collection, created through worldwide solidarity.
“The MoCA Skopje collection is like a time capsule that preserves international art from the heyday of modernism. We invited 6 artists: Brooke Andrew (Melbourne), Yane Chalovski and Hristina Ivanoska (Skopje), Siniša Ilić (Belgrade), Iman Isa (Berlin), and Gulsun Karamustafa (Istanbul). Each of them selected works from the Skopje collection and we encouraged them to exhibit their own works, making an intimate connection between the works of great artists and their art. What these artists have in common is their particular approach to rereading and reworking the histories of art and society. In addition to them, we also invited the photographer Elfi Semotan (Vienna), who is known for telling stories through photographs. She took photos of the cityscape of Skopje and MSU. In addition, we asked the writer Barbi Marković (Vienna), known for her sharp blend of fiction and social reality, to write a travelogue about her experience of facing the complex and layered histories of Skopje”, explains the curatorial team What, How & for Whom.
From the total collection of MoCA Skopje, which counts nearly 6,000 works, 94 works and about 50 works by contemporary artists, involved in this project, will be exhibited in Vienna.
The exhibition in Vienna will include works by: Pablo Picasso, David Hockney, Petar Lubarda, Nikola Martinoski, Dimitar Avramovski Pandilov, Victor Vasarelli, Jasper Johns, Alex Katz, Alberto Burri, Dushan Perchinkov, Aneta Svetieva, Aleksandar Calder, Gligor Stefanov, Pierre Aleshinski, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Tomo Vladimirski, Otto Logo, Dimo Todorovski, Vladimir Velicković, Sheila Hicks, Ion Grigorescu, Olga Jevrić, Enrico Baj, Olga Pechenko-Srzhenicka, Bogoja Popovski, Meret Oppenheim, Getulio Alviani, Ana-Eva Bergman, Roberto Matta, Zoltan Kemeny, and many others.
“The cooperation with the Kunsthalle Vienna is the most complex project for our museum so far. This presentation is not only a project of MoCA Skopje, but an event of national interest for our country. Not only because a large number of works from our collection will be exhibited, but also because of the fact that the works can be viewed in such a visited venue as the Kunsthalle, in the center of the museum district in tourist Vienna. This complex operation encourages us to plan even more ambitious projects and cooperation with other partner institutions across Europe. We are pleased that the exhibition in Vienna, which has not yet opened, is already arousing so much interest, that perhaps next year it will also visit Prague”, says Mira Gakjina, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje.
The curators closely connect the concept and title of the exhibition with how the MSU art collection was built. After the catastrophic earthquake in 1963 in Skopje, in addition to the great material damage and the many human victims, the United Nations and the International Association of Artists considered that culture is also a key link in raising the spirit of Skopje. Therefore, they initiated a call to world-famous artists to donate works. Numerous donations of works of art made MSU a symbol of solidarity, which today is a permanent value in the collective memory of the Macedonian public.
“For the title of the exhibition, we took a verse from the Austrian poet Rainer Maria Rilke: ‘No feeling is final’, which emphasizes the dynamics of emotions and their relation to time and context and instills hope that the notion of ‘solidarity’ can be renewed and strengthen, even after a long time. The title evokes both a sense of ambivalence and uncertainty, as well as the question of what solidarity means in our contemporary world,” says the curatorial team.
Part of the exhibition will also contain a documentary section about Skopje, the transformation of the city, and the story of MSU and its collection, documents, and the model of Kenzo Tange, borrowed from the archives of the Museum of the City of Skopje and the archive of MSU. This means that in one of the European capitals and most famous art centers, the precious collection of MSU and the city of Skopje will be affirmed. The exhibition will also present five architectural models of post-earthquake Skopje, part of the collection of architects Jovan Ivanovski, Ana Ivanovska Deskova, and Vladimir Deskov.
The exhibition at the Kunsthalle Vienna (https://kunsthallewien.at) will be open until January 28, 2024.
Draw, Chat and Share
On April 6 (Thursday) starting at 12 noon, the world-renown artists Dan Perjovschi and Lia Perjovschi will hold a workshop at the Museum of Contemporary Art – Skopje.
All those interested can register at the following link:
The aim of the workshop is to create community and awareness through drawing. The drawing will be the medium, and the publication will be its result. There is no single or best drawing. We are equal, and we all have our own ideas and visions around which we meet, discuss, and draw together. But who are we, and what do we want to do, or what can we do? How do we deal with limited resources? What is plan B, or plan C? First we get to know who we are. We find a topic we agree on and draw, the topic can be one of the urgent global situations today, or something personal, yet everyday. Through conversation we will work on ideas, and through group discussion we will show each other what and why we have done. The drawings will be linked in a fanzine that will be copied in a number of copies for each of the participants.
In the end, each goes home, with the other’s vision.
Language of the workshop: English
Art medium: Drawing
Duration of the workshop: 2h x 2h
Workshop product: Fanzine
Lia Perjovschi is a researcher, editor, and a conceptual and installation artist working with mind-maps, timelines, and education as mediums. She founded several platforms and institutions: Contemporary Art Archive Bucharest, The Knowledge Museum or The Telescopic Space of Knowledge. Lia Perjovschi had a large number of solo shows, such as at Nasher Museum at Duke University, Ivan Gallery Bucharest, ESPAI Castellon, and participated in numerous group exhibitions at Pompidou Center in Paris, Tate Modern in London, MACBA Barcelona, and at the Sao Paolo and Sydney Biennials. TSK is permanently installed at Astra Library in Sibiu Romania
Dan Perjovschi is an artist and journalist. He uses drawing in a multitude of forms, wall drawing, drawing performances, activist drawings, artist books, public space projects, printed media, and independent publishing. He had solo shows at Moma New York, Tate Modern, Van Abbemuseum Eindhoven, Macro Roma, Kiasma Helsinki and Ludwig Museum Cologne to name a few. He participated in numerous group exhibitions such as Documenta 15, Venice, Istanbul, Lyon, Jakarta, Sao Paolo, and Sydney biennials.