The Dutch visual artist Jonas Staal and the Russian collective of artists, critics, philosophers and writers “Chto Delat” donated their works of art to the Museum of Contemporary Art – Skopje, so that the museum’s art collection is enriched with several very significant works.
The artist Jonas Staal donated his installation “New Unions 2016” (New Unions 2016 – 2019), which is part of the exhibition “All that we have in common” curated by Mira Gakjina and Jovanka Popova. The Russian collective “Chto Delat” donated their video “Becoming With the Museum” for the permanent exhibition, which will be open this year at MoCA Skopje. This video was produced by “Kontrapunkt” and developed as a performance as part of the program of “Krik Festival” that in 2017 took place in Museum of Contemporary Art – Skopje.
The New Unions installation by Jonas Staal is an artistic and political campaign that departs from the current political, economic, humanitarian, and environmental crisis of Europe with the aim of assembling representatives of transdemocratic movements and organizations to propose scenarios for new future unions. Staal is an artist whose work deals with the relation between art, propaganda, and democracy. He is the founder of the artistic and political organization New World Summit (2012–ongoing). Together with Florian Malzacher he co-directs the training camp Training for the Future (2018-ongoing), and with the human rights lawyer Jan Fermon he has initiated the collective action lawsuit Collectivize Facebook (2020-ongoing). With writer and lawyer Radha D’Souza he founded the Court for Intergenerational Climate Crimes (2021-ongoing) and with Laure Prouvost he is co-administrator of the Obscure Union. His projects were exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the M_HKA in Antwerp, the Modern Museum in Stockholm and the Nam June Paik Art Center in Seoul, as well as the 7 Berlin Biennale, 31 S Саo Paulo Biennale and 12 Taipei Biennale.
The video donated by Chto Delat documents the process in which they works with a group of young artists and creates a performance, which shows the relationship of the participants with the selected works of art from the collection of MoCA Skopje. The work connects the macro-narrative of different works of art (when and how they are created, their social significance, etc.) with the micro-narrative of each performer, who through his body and lyrical text explains the relationship with the selected work. The work is a refreshing map of the museum and the history of the young generation that activates the transformative potential of the museum.
The collective Chto Delat (What is to be done?) was founded in early 2003 in Petersburg by a workgroup of artists, critics, philosophers, and writers from St. Petersburg, Moscow, and Nizhny Novgorod with the goal of merging political theory, art, and activism. The name of the group derives from a novel by the Russian 19th century writer Nikolai Chernyshevsky, and immediately brings to mind the first socialist worker’s self-organizations in Russia, which Lenin actualized in his own publication, “What is to be done?” (1902). Chto Delat sees itself as an artistic cell and also as a community organizer for a variety of cultural activities intent on politicizing “knowledge production”. They advocates for the equality of all people, fighting against various forms of patriarchy, homophobia and gender inequality. They convey their ideas through: film, theater performances, radio programs, murals, public campaigns and seminars. The Russian collective Chto Delat has collaborated on Documenta 12 in Kassel in 2007, the 11th edition of the Gwangju Biennale in 2016, the Internship Program at the Garage Museum in Moscow in 2017, and exhibited their works the 12th Shanghai Biennale 2018; Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow (2018); MUAC (The Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo), Mexico; COW BERLIN (2017 and 2015), San Paolo Biennale (2014); Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (2014); Tate Liverpool, Liverpool (2013); House der Kultren der Welt, Berlin (2013); 10th Gwangju Biennale, Gwangju (2012); Statalice Kunstel, Baden-Baden (2011); Klnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (2011); New Museum, New York (2011); Modern Gallery, Ljubljana (2011); Institute of Contemporary Art, London (2010) and others.