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 will be open until January 28, 2024.