RE_EXHIBIT  announced the exhibition “Shaping the Contemporary : Macedonian Video Art since 1984” (15 Feb -29 March 2024), curated by SAHA Steering Group member Dr Jon Blackwood and featuring the work of Dragan Abjanić, Iskra Dimitrova, Nora Stojanovikj, Vana Urošević, Elena Chemerska & Ivana Mirchevska.The exhibition will uncover some rare video materials from North Macedonia which feed into research around early video art and marginalised discourses in Europe at the core of RE_EXHIBIT’s mission.

This exhibition focuses on the development, discussion and production of moving image and video art in North Macedonia, since the late Yugoslav period.

Video art came relatively late to Macedonia, which was part of the former Yugoslav federation until independence in 1991. The first exhibition of video art, simply entitled VIDEO was held at the Museum of Contemporary Art in 1984, and grew out of an informal network of curators and television professionals based between Belgrade and Skopje. Television was particularly important, as one of the few places where equipment and necessary expertise could be found to make video art in the last years of socialism. Early video art was driven by two professionals working in television, Evgenija Dimitrievska and Katica Trajkovska, whilst one of the most prominent early exponents, Dragan Abjanić (1953-99) honed his skills as a video editor in his day job at Macedonian television.

Video in the 1990s fulfilled one of three broad functions; as documentation of performance (Iskra Dimitrova, Nora Stojanovikj), as space for the development of imaginative techniques or ideas (Vana Urošević), or as part of a multi-media installation. In this sense the canonical show IMAGE BOX organised by Nebojša Vilić under the auspices of the Soros Centre for Contemporary Art turbo-charged video production in the second half of the 1990s, not just through example but also by buying new equipment and making it available to those artists who wished to use it.

In addition to these pieces from the first decade of art production in the North Macedonian space, we are also delighted to present a contemporary moving image piece by Elena Chemerska and Ivana Mirchevska. Host or Parasite : Boiling Body (2023) discusses the impact on the individual of the intersection between planetary depletion and the last stages of neo-liberal capitalism.Many of these videos are being shown for the first time in many years and are little known to audiences outwith the former Yugoslav space. The online exhibition will be accompanied by a short critical text from the selector, Jon Blackwood.

Special thanks to: Ena Abjanić Chausidis, Evgenija Teodosievska, Vana Urošević, Zoran Petrovski, Denis Saraginovski, Slobodanka Stevcheska, Nebojša Vilić, Bojan Ivanov, the Artists.

Jon Blackwood’s work focuses on the intersections between contemporary art and radical politics, and cultural ecologies, in the post-Yugoslav space. He is the author of Critical Art in Contemporary Macedonia (Skopje : mala galerija, 2016) and curated shows of Macedonian art including Captured State : New Art from Macedonia (Summerhall, Edinburgh, 2017) and In Between States (Peacock, Aberdeen and Museum of the City of Skopje, 2019). Previous video shows include Imaginarium : Contemporary Video Art from Macedonia (Aberdeen, 2016) and Late to the Party : Macedonian Video Art since 1991 (part of PANCH / BANG BANG Festival, Basel, Switzerland, 2022). Jon is Associate Professor of Contemporary Art at Gray’s School of Art, RGU, Aberdeen, and is based between Aberdeen, Sarajevo and Skopje.

RE_ EXHIBIT is an online space co-directed by Laura Leuzzi and Adam Lockhart that that aims to engage, promote and stimulate knowledge, curation and new commissions around the materials, artworks, and artists drawn from the REWIND Archives, based at DJCAD University of Dundee (including REWIND, REWINDItalia, EWVA, and early video art).

RE_ EXHIBIT is hosted by REWIND Artists’ Video at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee, in partnership with Gray’s School of Art, RGU.

Cover image: Nora Stojanovikj, Gathering Scales of the Big Fish, 1997.


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