Nebojsa Vilic on Thu, 29 Apr 1999 09:06:35 +0100

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Syndicate: <nettime> ART ASTRIDE - on the role of art today

dear friends,

in all of these days i was wandering how to act and what to do. i found my self
cycling like maniac, but that does not help others. therefore i decided to
write for a biweekly magazine [for a first time in my professional life ever]
'forum' in skopje. the text below is my view how the artists in general have to
act NOW! on your request i can send two images published together with the text

by Nebojsa Vilic

Forum 32/1999, [April, 9-22, 1999] p. 72

It might be interesting, when the art today (at the threshold of the exit of
the millenium) is already asked about its role and essence, and when it can not
find answer to these questions.  Usually, it is assumed that art may anticipate
the events and changes, in some periods even self-initiatively to realize them,
but this recentness speaks about some other conditions. Can art in this century
take over an engagement once more?

The engagement in the past (European) experiences appears either as
simultaneous or aposteriorical.  In the both cases it has certain and defined
role that is realized either through spontaneous reaction, or as defined
program. These appearances are noted in several turns, and in all of them the
essence of the engagement is filled completely. But, in the nineties the
engagement of the art and the artist is getting another occurring: the
engagement gets quote-marks and becomes 'engagement'. For a first time the
cutting edge of the art is dulled, the art is not the one that is ahead of or,
in other words, from the a priori position it turns into a posteriori one. It
turns from an avant-garde into the conclusive one - as never before art and the
artist are accepting noting and concluding the conditions, leaving the premises
of and belief in the modern project and idea, that they are able and powerful
to change the things on better. Even earlier, this kind of conclusion turned
back the art of the eighties to the experiences of the past: the formal and the
phenomenological (maybe as a consequence of the pressure of the art
institutions). After awhile, the art turned it's interest towards the attempt
to speak once again on the reality and the actual surrounding. The weakened
criticism (or better to say - the lost of the faith in the constructive and
implementable criticism) of the social reality is essential for the conclusive
character of the art of the nineties.

However, which is the attitude or relationship of the art in Macedonia towards
the actual social reality? Does someone have right to ask from it to fill the
vacuum by the emptied or left criteria and values? Why it does not feel the
need for that? Or, why it is so little present?  The futility of the effort or
the attempt (as a conclusion of the previous experiences), as a statement of
the disappointed engaged art, is not an argument and it does not excuse the
lack of interest, or apathy and closure in the 'disinterested world of the
artist'. This world is marked as secure shelter, world in which the artist
safely retreats, saying that she/he is just an artist. Art and the artist are
the ones that have to find the way out from these conditions, and to turn this
moment in which the loosened receptive structures of the today's subject will
find kind of brake from this actuality, moment in which the established
criteria for artistic valuation will be turned aside and will get new meaning.
Maybe the others, those out side of the artist, all of those subjects who are
around her/him, those ones that are approving the existence of her/his art,
have right to ask for this in this situation. Maybe they are needing the
lucidity of the 'EX-FYROMism' project [particularly the work 'Postnationalism']
of Zaneta Vangeli from March 1998, much before than the anti-NATO
demonstrations appeared on the streets of Skopje. Or the fifteen peaceful
minutes of the 'Ushabala elo' performance on March 31, 1999 of Perica Georgiev
- Pepsi and Stefan Saskov, in the moment of the everyday exhausting auditing of
  the verity of the recent reality and the sense of the existence.

April 1, 1999.

legends for the images:

image: metadesigner >
Zaneta Vangeli, 'Postnationalism', 2x90x210, plotter art,  CIX gallery,
Skopje March 13, 1998, photo: Nebojsa Vilic, c SCCA-Skopje, Macedonia;

image: pepsi >
Perica Georgiev Pepsi & Stefan Saskov, 'Ushabala elo', performance, 15
min, CIX gallery, Skopje March 31, 1999, photo: Nikola Pisarev, c
SCCA-Skopje, Macedonia;

Nebojsa Vilic, Ph.D.
Faculty of Drama Arts
University 'SS. Cyril and Methodius'
Ruger Boskovic b.b. / P.O.Box 134
MK-91000 Skopje, Macedonia
tel. 389 91 37 05 96


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