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Marriage is not an obligation 

Performance Exhibition at the Group exhibition "Life Act"
2011 National Museum of Macedonia

"Live Act," a project initiated by Ana Frangovska, the curator at the National Museum of Macedonia, aimed to showcase several artists from Macedonia performing in the museum. This endeavor led me to a situation where I had to, so to speak, pull a card from my sleeve. The primary idea was to provide the audience with an opportunity to delve into our lives as social beings or, conversely, to express moments of self-esteem or any aspect of what preoccupies us through art.

Inspired by my close friend Boris Shemov, who fearlessly performed at this year's premiere of his first marriage, I felt the desire to create a "wedding gift." Fortunately, his newlywed highly intellectual consciousness accepted the work with the utmost appreciation. Needless to say, as the author, I did not expect any gratitude due to our ethical relationship, but what mattered most to me was that the artwork effectively conveyed its message.

The artwork aimed to break free from the confines of traditional two-dimensional academic painting, seeking to aesthetically transform a space into both a painting and a sculpture, all while serving the written text in a painterly manner: "Marriage is not an obligation."

Primarily, with this text, I aimed to provoke thought and remind people that the marriage contract signed at the registry office is not the sole determinant of marital happiness. While I may not possess extensive experience in orchestrating marriages, I assume that artists have developed intuitions regarding the elements that truly matter.

From there, despite my lack of expertise in formal marriage ceremonies but with experience in informal relationships, I decided to explore the concept of marriage through this project called Live Act. In our society, there exists a kitsch moment where most "art" in this region is purchased for weddings and perhaps later for home decoration. Consequently, artists often find themselves catering to a certain taste, to which the traditional academic paradox adheres – the idea that tastes are not up for discussion.

For instance, in Germany, numerous abstract painters, minimalists, and conceptualists have spent their lives engaged in debates, only for their supposedly contemporary works to end up as architectural solutions in McDonald's. Even such choices have become readily available templates. Yes, we currently live in the age of templates, where there are no more mysteries surrounding the artist.

These formats displayed in McDonald's effectively fulfill their role as choices or embodiments of taste. I'd like to emphasize that a template for contemporary aesthetics has already been established in the fast-food chain.

Returning to the Macedonian taste for art and lifestyle, I believe that in Macedonia, one may appear as a loser in various aspects, but when it comes to weddings or marriage, people strive to change their image to convey that they have made the right decision and are now regarded as serious members of society. In this regard, I exclude the aforementioned friend who doesn't fit into this category at all.

However, I believe that our society is influenced by government incentives and motivations, such as offering financial incentives for having children, just to uphold the notion of marriage. Nonetheless, "Marriage is not an obligation" serves as a metaphorical paper, illustrating this discussion in a distinct manner during the exhibition.

According to the concept of our esteemed curator, who tirelessly encourages artistic activity in our somewhat dull yet cheerful village, I was excited about the opportunity to stage a performance that would convey this slogan through my actions as a devoted married individual. As a member of the male gender, I aimed to embody the idea that for many men, the ideal image of a perfect woman often revolves around qualities such as proficiency in bed, culinary excellence, the ability to wear garters, intelligence, and a lack of nagging.

In this case, as the author, I intended to portray the image of a perfect man, avoiding the clichéd and academically traditional act of nudity on stage. Instead, I planned to wear David's apron and bake a delightful pie for each member of the audience. The strategic aspect of this action was not just the performance itself but also the artistic refinement of the space. Why should this be considered art, and what would this exhibition represent, granting me the green light for this endeavor?

I believe that one of the most contemporary aspects of art is not just the craftsmanship or the artist's performance but also the celebration of our individuality and diversity. If this difference manifests as a complete departure from what we have already witnessed, then we are on the cusp of an art form that assumes a position of prominence in the realm of "appearance."


Unknown Hero

Site-specific outdoor art intervention, 2013
Skopje R.Macedonia, 
Paper Mask

Between 2010 and 2015, several exhibitions involving the Kooperacija collective took place, in which I actively participated. I was invited to contribute to the titled initiative "Dystopia" by creating an intervention within a specific space.

During the tenure of the current government, numerous architectural projects were initiated in the city, aimed at fostering a stronger sense of national identity. It's important to note that along with these initiatives, there was external pressure and opposition, primarily from Greece, which persisted for 20 years in an attempt to compel a change in the state's name.

In response, the government chose to erect monuments dedicated to Macedonian heroes who had fought for the Macedonian cause. These monuments began to emerge across the city, some commemorating well-known figures while others remained unfamiliar.

Inspired by this phenomenon, I initiated an artistic project titled "Unknown Hero," which unfolded in several stages. The ultimate presentation of this work took the form of a triptych, presented as a comic story.

This narrative chronicles the process of placing a portrait mask beneath the train station in Skopje. As I donned the mask, the police approached, leading to a dialogue that is seamlessly integrated into the triptych.

Непознат Херој, Unknown Hero, Skopje Macedonia, site-specific 2015

The Artist: Why don't I have a ladder?, I could have placed it and docked it under the spotlight.

The Police:


Good evening we are from the Police!

Непознат Херој, Unknown Hero, Skopje Macedonia, site-specific 2015

The Artist: Good evening! Don't worry, I am doing it for an art exhibition…

Check it out if you want on Facebook, it's called Kooperacija. 

Plus it's made of toilet paper.

The Police: Have you ever been punished?

Непознат Херој, Unknown Hero, Skopje Macedonia, site-specific 2015

The Artist: Never!

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The ship that never passed 2013/2016

2013 in Munich at the river Isar under the bridge of Raichenbachbrücke an artist from Republic of Macedonia installed a powerful 12 000 watt sound in order to reproduce the sound of a real ship horn. 

The basic idea of the artist was to initiate an imagination as if a real ship exists or passing by. Choosing a place where there is no water-traffic Spasoski recreates the every day location into something that will stimulate the audienceʼs imagination from an audio sense to a visual picture. This synesthetic influence from one sense to another is the main proposition idea of the artist. It also captures how the other people, which are out of the location focus will be affected by this sound. 

He made a film documentary as-well that is the only existing part of this one day act and it is the most convenient impression that can express the art peace. With great humor the film on the other hand is chronologically, showing the development of the project, difficulties that the artist is facing with the society to get permissions from the city offices in Bavaria and the technical aspects that were necessary to build the construction. 

“The ship that never passed” was also performed in 2012 at the capital of the Republic of Macedonia and it has opened many curatorial questions regarding the historical and political issues of this country.

The ship that never passed -
Reichenbach Brücke - Munich

Documented Video, 10:00 min, HD

The ship that never passed -
Stone Bridge - Skopje 2012/13

Documented Video, 03:47 min, HD

ExhibitionSkopski Urbani Prikazni 2013

Anchored to Dry Land - Prof. d-r Nebojsa Vilic

Sometimes, at an exhibition, some work of art (although very rare not only in our country, but abroad as well) will stimulate me to sense and experience it, extracting the analytic and interpreting position of “my craft” (Bojan Ivanov’s idiom) in the approach towards that work of art. It wasn’t much different at the recent opening of Igor Toševski’s exhibition Love Undefined in the Modern Arts Museum in Skopje, when I was taken by the atmosphere in the space created by the broadcasting of an old radio recording (or speech, for that matter). However, on 26th June something happened to me, which has not occurred for a long time on the Macedonian art scene: the work titled The Ship that Never Passed by Aleksandar Spasoski (within the exhibition Skopje Urban Tales 5: Emiter ‘Skopje’ by the curator Bojana Janeva-Šemova) literally made me: 1) return to the Stone Bridge once more and 2) sit on the steps of the banks near the Vardar River, not able nor willing to go away. Nevertheless, the most important thing here was (which is the emphasis of this stance) that my 3) sensing and experiencing it, pulled me to a state of analytical interpretation, encompassing the discursiveness of the work of art observed!


[My first similar experience (I would not like to list all of them, although rare and few) was when back in 1980, right at noon, I was walking through the Propylene gateway of the Athenian Acropolis, in all the splendor of its white Pentelic marble, when I saw – the Parthenon… I have recollected this event many times later on in my life trying to find the answer to what happened to me at that moment, particularly after I started studying art history. I realized much later that this was not due to the lack of experience and the ignorance of my 17 years of age at the time, but it was due to the power of art…]


Why do I think so? Because Spasoski has managed to put together and arrange in supreme interrelation the fundamental elements of each great work of art: the simple language that through the speech will create complex and multilayered rhetoric. [For those who were not present: the whole work consists of a very powerful, intrusive horn sound resembling the large cargo ship horn sounds with long breaks, using a strong (and powerful) sound system set under the Stone Bridge, and that was pretty much it.]


Why do I think so? First of all, because the selection of the location, the time of the day, the surrounding, the possible visual match with the simple supplement of the artist (the sound) are very powerful in transferring such a complex and layered message, without using the up-to-date and increasingly more frequent braces or crutches of contemporary art (leaflets with explanation, instructions for use, textual legends, reading directions, verbal clarifications by the artist…).


The language is a strictly determined sound, played by a river and heard from the top of a bridge. Other elements and meanings attach to this setting, such as: a bridge – transition from one to another side, the modern constructions on both sides of the river banks, including the anchored aside Yugoslavian ship “Skopje”, the inevitable view to the west and the sunset (at the end of the day) which goes beyond the preconceived and seriously threatened and attacked architectonic and urban modernism (the towers and the blocks from the City Wall, the buildings of the Post Office 2, the Macedonian Telecommunication building, ELEM, the Government of Macedonia’s building, the Goce Delchev Bridge…). (Image 1). This provokes the speech that points at the necessary contextualization (although regional) and directs towards a rhetoric reading of this work of art. In the very reading of this kind we can attain the complex and layered message of Spasoski: the view westwards becomes a view towards the West, hued with romantic sensitivity, but also from the innumerable current absurdities, with imposed rationalization exhorted possible solution: to leave this chaos caused by the ideological terror, the artistic lack of taste, and the violent identity engineering, from the usurpation of the political space in the public sphere. A solution which should be reached standing on the top of the bridge accompanied with the Shakespeare-Clash eternal Macedonian dilemma: “Should I stay or should I go?”


Why do I think so? Because behind the simple sound of the horn, not by incident, the romantic timing is also selected (sunset), and its ideological construct of national states; through the rejected recent past (the anchor aside) and the doing-up of the masterpieces of the Macedonian modernistic architectonic idea, which should, altogether, be replaced by the new identity projection, manifested through (the craziest idea that the creators and supporters of the project Skopje 2014 could come up with) – the galleons (rafts) of the mayor Trajanovski. (Image 2) In this very element (the galleons) Spasoski recognizes and constructs his position: to emphasize the parody of the idea for the galleons (and for the whole project in total), he chooses not any kind of ship, but the largest cargo ship, the kind that could never harbor here. All of this leads to a paradox situation: the more cargo ship anchors Skopje has, and the more Spasoski’s “cargo ship” calls you to board it and leave this and such Skopje “to the world beyond’, the more the Vardar River, as incapable of taking transport vessels, defies that! (Image 3) Due to the fact that the river is to shallow for transport vessels, this artistic “ship” will never arrive, nor take us away from here. This work of art is an ode to the ship that has never passed, nor will ever pass through here… and therefore: we are all left here, where we are, anchored to dry land…


Because of all this, and because of the piles of artworks created in our country in the recent years, particularly in the first half of this year (founded most often on the incentive), this work of art deserves my complete critical attention. Because of the fact that Spasoski creates the power of the art/artistic through the simplicity of the form at the same time, as well as the complex and layered contextualizing meanings that result.


[As a complement to the other authors and their works from the exhibition Skopje Urban Tales 5: Emiter Skopje, I would offer my position as such: the other works… so and so… partially and problematically urban (Marija Sotirovska), partially and problematically conceptualized (Darko Aleksovski), and partially and problematically communicated (Boris Šemov).]

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