Friday, 20 November 2009

Friday, 13 November 2009

Exhibition on View




special public event program of press to exit project space
in Cultural Centre CK
Saturday, 14th of November, 6pm

On Saturday, November 14th, at 18h at the Cultural Centre CK, press to exit project space will held a special public event program titled “THINK! THINK! THINK!” curated by Yane Calovski consisting of promotion of 3 publications, a public discussion and a group exhibition curated by press to exit’s guest curator Fatos Ustek.

The public event reinstates the main programs of press to exit project space in one cohesive framework. The aim is to examine the productions and the narrative which were carefully crafted over the last 5 years and the meaningful trace press to exit project space has left on the Macedonian and international artistic and curatorial production.

The book titled “THINK! THINK! THINK! Expending the present, launching the future” is edited by Yane Calovski and Hristina Ivanoska as a collection of commissioned texts, interviews and artistic interventions by regional and international cultural practitioners as well as an index of events and projects dating from 2004-9. The book provides a medium for reflection on the issues facing the independent artistic and curatorial production in the region and beyond. In the frame of the promotion of the book a public debate will take place with the following list of participants: Antonia Majaca – curator of the Gallery Miroslav Kraljevic from Zagreb, the Macedonian artist Aleksandar Stankoski, Inga Zimprich – independent curator and curator from Berlin, Fatos Ustek – independent curator from Istanbul based in London, and Yane Calovski and Hristina Ivanoska.

Additionally, the books from the New Project Production series 2009 “Hidden Identities” by Neda Firfova and “1/8” by Flora Aliuce will be promoted.

press to exit project space was established in 2004 by artists Yane Calovski and Hristina Ivanoska as a special program-based artist initiative for research and production in the field of visual arts and curatorial practices.

This event is part of DIVERSions, a special program of the Swiss Cultural Programme, marking the 10 years of SCP presence in Macedonia.

THINK! THINK! THINK! is supported by Swiss Cultural Programme in the Western Balkans, Pro Helvetia – the Swiss Arts Council, and the European Cultural Foundation.


The exhibition is accompanied by a publication, that will be launced at the opening.

Editor: Fatos Ustek
Contributors: Ahmet Ogut, Claire Fontaine, Hildegard Spielhofer, Sofija Grandakovska, Ine Lamers, Daniela Paes Leao, Laura Kuch, Marjolijn Dijkman, Runo Lagomarsino, Yane Calovski

Design: Ruse Artov
300 copies
Printed in Skopje, Macedonia

On Delocalisation

Ernesto Laclau, in his text Subject of Politics, Politics of the Subject talks about the relationship between universalism and particularism through visiting notions of multiculturalism and hybridization. On the other hand, through visiting the notions of modernity and post-modernity, socio-political stances in various countries such as in post-1989 countries, and Argentina, Laclau introduces the term differential identity. Through his elucidation of this term he reflects on the impossibility of embracing / practicing particularity in a segregated zone. In his words: ‘To assert one’s own differential identity involves, the inclusion of that identity of the other, as that from whom one delimits oneself.’ That is to say, if we try to define an identity of an individual or a group in cosmopolite societies, we shall talk about that specifically chosen identity in relation to other identities through difference and similarity. The differential identity proposes an understanding of singular presence in relation to others, and maps the space of those inter-relations and encounters, thus the domain of socio-political, economic, sensuous spaces. Laclau questions the possibility of a pure culture of difference, and I want to further this questioning with the methods in which we allow differences in our contemporary categorisation of local and global. The paraphrasing of these two terms has gained mass-recognition with the increase in the communications between communities, societies and especially countries. Today with the solid presence of Internet in our daily lives, we can receive information on any place or any event in the world and produce knowledge accordingly. We can get to know or see places without physically visiting them or learn about other ways of being without necessarily being in one-to-one contact. At this moment, the quantity and the quality of communication are crucial to pay attention. In one perspective, everything can seem fine, that we are manoeuvring between spaces, places and meanings, or floating on the streams of knowledge and understanding. From a specific perspective, everything can seem just fine.
I am interested in the notions of sharing. That is to say, how we share what we are willing to share; how we define our positions and allow other positions to emerge; how we relate to what we want to be related to… All these questions occupy a larger perspective or trigger an urge to elaborate a grand narrative. Let us drop this picture for a moment. I want to draw your attention to the cause and source of sharing, in other words, who we choose to communicate and what we choose to communicate with whom. This relational aesthetics of communication, for me, implies correspondence with the significant other that we continuously carry within ourselves in order to be ourselves. In other words, the significant other does not necessarily need to be in physical approximity to us, the imaginary of that significant other is sufficient enough to formulate an understanding of who or how that other is. I argue that this imaginary allows us to perform who we think we are. Moreover, in this respect we can no longer talk about an absolute other. We can no longer imagine an unknown; let it be because of the drives of security or necessity of belonging, or fear of the uncanny. Hence, everything we can experience shall be of translatable nature or can be transposed into something familiar. In a sense that what we expect from an encounter is almost a priori defined. These a priori imaginations of experience-to-follow, do make things easier. It is much more fluent to live and sustain one’s own territory. Though, maybe this is just an illusion. Illusion in the similar sense of how we locate and relocate the real…
Delocalisation is a proposal to be in the present of the present without the imagination of what we will feel within an encounter or what we will experience. To be in the present of the encountered is possible through allowing the experience to take its position in a way in which it is undefined or unanalyzed. Since, also according to Maurice Merlau-Ponty, defining and analyzing is an act of stocking the experience but not experiencing the encounter.
Leaving the phenomenological investigation aside, structurally delocalisation is not a counter movement but a position taken in response to the streams of localising and globalising values, let them be the human relations or addressed to objects, places surrounding us. In that sense, to delocalise is not a cleansed way of being in an encounter with a particular context, it is a proposal to allow a flux, a continuous change in framing things rather than generalising a specific encounter into an overall claim, or allowing an encounter to stand for the whole picture (if there can be a whole picture at all).
Delocalisation sprung from an investigation of a potentiality, thus the potential of realising a project without experiencing the particularities, singularities, generalities of the space / place / geography that the project would take place. It is at first a self-referential concept and then a question and a proposal to trigger responses. For the exhibition I have invited seven artists who have not worked with the specificity of Skopje, and asked them to come up with a proposal for a work or a work that would be re-embodied in Skopje. Before I start visiting each work in the exhibition and elaborating their presences, I want to underline the significance of movement for the whole project. Movement, for this project, does not only stand for changing location or travelling from one place to another but also stands for the ides, feelings, objects and materials being in a continuous change of positions. In other words, the project’s core point is the embodiment of movement in its pragmatic and abstract realities.
This project is homage to Lucy Lippard’s suitcase exhibitions that she has started in the late 60’s, with which she has enabled the visibility of art works in various other geographies than USA, such as Latin America and Europe. Lippard’s concept was packing the art works in a suitcase and unfolding the suitcase in her destination points in various art spaces. The suitcase exhibitions did not only allow the transportation of works but also grounded a possibility of sharing tendencies, ideas, and attitudes about and on art. The suitcase exhibitions were part of the era of dematerialisation of art (1966 - 1972), which grasps my interest in many ways. I wanted to investigate the possibility of realising a project akin to Lippard’s thus asked the artists to post me their works or proposals for their works. My main idea was not only to travel with ideas on an exhibition but also with the content of the exhibition that I would unfold when I reach the actual place of the show. My aim in this project is in a way enabling my curatorial practice to posit somewhere beyond than making a selection of art works and putting them on display or making them public. Hence, I have offered artists my presence in case they would favour to involve for the realisation of their works. In a way, I wanted to negotiate the space between the curator, artist and the artwork through shifting positions and labour. Laura Kuch and Marjolijn Dijkman decided to involve me directly in the realisation of their works, whereas other participating artists chose to involve me in the post-production stage. Additionally, unlike Lippard’s exhibitions, the artists in the project live and work in various countries of Europe and they did not only use postal mailing but also internet mailing. I only received three envelopes and the rest was delivered via e-mail. The physicality of movement consisted of sending works from Rotterdam, Amsterdam and Sao Paolo to London and me bringing them from London to Skopje. Moreover, translation plays an important part, literally and phenomenologically. Most of the works are either compiled in Macedonian or made available to access for the Macedonian audience. Additionally, I have chosen artists considering their artistic practices and the diversity that they can bring in the project not through illustrating the concept but through opening up various discussions and grounds of investigation in relation to the concept.
The exhibition Delocalisation is composed of various viewpoints and statements with a variety of influences. The concept is brought in front of the audience in Macedonia through a multitude of positioning, where the audience is asked to formulate their own relating. The exhibition is not a presentation of ideas, it is a gathering of stances to enable production of other stances. I want to revisit Laclau’s positioning of truth, where he says: There is no truth or value independent of a context. With delocalisation, I ask you dear reader: But how to determine a context?
Laclau concludes with the very fact that particular must be performative. Drawing lines of parallelism, I propose that Delocalisation as a verb and a noun (an act and a state of mind) shall be open, continuously redefining itself, its relation (complemantarity/ tension/ mutual exclusion,...) to the local and the global in order to fully realise itself, when we bear in mind that delocalisation is not an undoing but a re-approach to attributions, tendencies of categorisation, mystification, unification.

I would like end by giving my special thanks to Karen Mirza who has enabled my double presence in London and in Skopje; to Yane Calovski and Hristina Ivanoska who have been the causes of this project to take place in Skopje and who have been of great support in the realisation of the exhibition and the publication with their unending energy and enthusiasm; to Ruse Arsov for his unlimited energy and brilliant design capabilities; to Philip Nikolovski for his support in the production of the exhibition; to all the participating artists for their persona and input in the project and to you dear reader who has read till the last word of this pretty long foreword.

Fatos Ustek

Ahmet Ogut

Ahmet Ogut

Perfect Lovers, 2008

Two Euro and One YTL coins

Ahmet Ogut contributes with two works, Perfect Lovers, 2008 and Vote for the worst exhibition title of all time!!!, 2009. The former work has been exhibited in various countries and is a display of two circular objects that are almost identical. The piece takes its name from Felix Gonzalez Torres' famous piece showing two wall clocks working in perfect unison. Ogut introduces a twist into the perfect collison and puts a 2 Euro and a 1 YTL coin on display. The coins are aesthetically alike though do not correspond to the same value. Their similarity can lead to confusion at first glance, though they point two differing domains of socio-political reality. Euro as the representative of a grand narrative and Turkish Lira as a representative of a particularity that is striving to associate itself with the grand scale, are brought together under a title that requires a unity of some sort, or an investigation of the conditions in which perfect love is taking place. Ogut is associating the domain of romance with the domain of finance under the frame of power and leaves the audience with a statement that is precisely exhibited in a slick appearance. That is to say, the methodology he chooses to put the coins on display is a crucial part of the work where both coins lie on a black velvet cloth, protected by a plexiglass box placed on a black plinth standing on a black carpet. Ogut, in this respect produces the conditions in which we are to experience his piece thus the assigned value of that experience. The second work is of interactive nature, where the audience is asked to give votes to a selection of exhibition titles through sticking neon stickers next to their choice. The work, Vote for the worst exhibition of all time!!!, is a new compilation for Skopje and is in Macedonian, for to enable the local audience an access through the common. The exhibition titles are selected by the artist and display some kind of a failure of repeating clichés or lacking creativity or being in a streamline of ‘global’ discourses. Thus the titles vary from Turkish Delight to Red Light Art, from Younger than Jesus to Euro-centric. The audience are asked to make their own choice of which title they find the worst among others. Through collecting responses, the piece questions the domain of creativity in arts with its relation to socio-political factuality.