14. International Biennial of Young Artists

06/04/ 2023 - 26/05/ 2023


The Biennial of Young Artists, which the Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje has been organizing intermittently since 1987, is one of Macedonia’s most significant and vital manifestations of contemporary art. The main objective of the Biennial is to discover, affirm and critically articulate some of the current creative and inventive artistic processes and practices.

“AWAKENING” is the theme of the new, 14th International Biennial of Young Artists, which is widening its international reach with participants from Italy, Romania, Norway, Serbia, Austria, Belgium, Albania, Hungary, Kosovo, Montenegro, Sweden, Turkey, Slovenia. The Museum of Contemporary Art appoints a jury committee, which awards a prize in the form of a solo exhibition that takes place in the following year after the Biennial.

One of the significant novelties of this year’s Biennial is the educational center whose goal is to generate knowledge, encourage the establishment of young artists on the contemporary art scene and recognize and develop their potential. Therefore, apart from the exhibition, the project also has an educational program, with a series of activities in order to support the young artists by profiling their work and helping them in their further engagement and presentation to the public.

The 14th Biennial of Young Artists introduces 38 artists, selected partly by the curators, and partly by the public competition announced in the summer of 2022.

Participating artists: Klelija Zhivkovic (R.N.Macedonia), Simona Mancheva (R.N.Macedonia), Julia Castelucci (R.N.Macedonia), Ana Jovanovska (R.N.Macedonia), Igor Tanevski (R.N.Macedonia), Yana Nikolovska (R.N.Macedonia), Julija Manojlovska (R.N.Macedonia), Ridget Ferati (R.N.Macedonia), Slavica Taneska (R.N.Macedonia), Ana Trajkovska (R.N.Macedonia), Serhat Emrulai (R.N.Macedonia), Elena Geleva (R.N.Macedonia), Iva Stankovska (R.N.Macedonia), Lumturie Krasniqi (Kosovo), Gerta Xaferaj (Albania), Ana Likar (Slovenia), Nadja Kracunovic (Serbia) , Ariana Kadic (Monte Negro), Malina Moncea (Romania), Milan Kujundzic (Serbia), Sara Tanaskovic (Serbia), Sarah Muscalu (Romania), Rino Doughty (Kosovo), Újházi Adrienn (Hungary), Çem A (Germany),  Josephine Ostlund (Sweden), Fatima Moallim (Sweden), Yirui Fang (Italy), Milena Gallici (Italy, Belgium), Chadi Reda (Switzerland), Anna Lerchbaumer (Austria), Ananda Serné (Norway), Gabriele Gandini (Italy), Nicollo Masini (Italy), Manuel Tozzi (Austria), Jovan Josifovski (R.N.Macedonia), Nadica Dojkoska (R.N.Macedonia), Xiaofu Wang (Australia)

Curators of the 14th Biennial are Nikola Uzunovski, Iva Dimovski and Bojana Janeva

Cover photography: Igor Tanevski, State of Affairs, 2023, digital print 


(on the left and on the right)  Igor Tanevski (MKD), Conditions, 2023, photographs, digital print, variable dimensions // In my current practice and visual research, I mainly explore the interaction between man and natural elements. I work on computer-processed works, photographs, videos and drawings through a process of exploration and experimentation, contextualizing one thought into either an aesthetic object or gesture. (…) A great deal of my practice consists of shooting spontaneous videos while swimming or practicing other activities in various water surfaces and landscapes, with a camera attached to my head or chest”.

(on the right) Ana Likar (SVN), Myriad Tentacles Will be Needed (Again and Again), 2022, video, artist’s book, intervention in the university library, 12’40” // Most of Ana Likar’s artistic practice brings the topics of (reproductive) labour, ecology and powerlessness together with emancipatory potentialities of art in order to bring alternatives to the foreground.  Formally revolving around systems of organizing and categorizing, her work points to the pressing tensions against those very structures by creating (or finding) cracks from within. She employs rigid constructions in order to indicate their  shortcomings and  oppressions – and positions the fragile, invisible, and fragmented in the centre instead.

Anna Lerchbaumer (AUT), Noisy Things To Last, 2022, video, 20′ // Displaced objects collage themselves auto-poetically as a symbol for the dissolved hierarchies of the consumer objects
that have been. The things will most likely outlive humanity and thus be a message to the hereafter. The viewer looks at a
still video image and is surprised by a rain of scrap metal plus the noise it creates, the uncertainty of when the awaking
is happening. The loop shows a filling of the container every few moments. The potential of the noise makes the silence seem dishonest. The bass makes the quantity perceivable. An archaeology of the sounds of throwing away, destroying and reusing, from raw material to the rubbish dump including music players,  loudspeakers and other devices. Rapid decay
becomes accelerated media archaeology.

Milena Galizzi (ITA/BEL), Tenants in Life, 2023, video, 8′:36” / On May 1,
2021, a group named “de Pandemisten” (the owners in Dutch) occupied a wing of the old monastery dedicated to social
housing since the 1990s. The other wing houses the Kunsthal, one of the largest spaces in the city dedicated to contemporary
art. The decision of the municipality and the province of Flanders to sell the building to allow the creation of luxury
apartments inside it sparked a political reaction that brought together several people to declare themselves against it, up to the actual occupation to counteract with their bodies a decision perceived as unfair.

Xiaofu Wang (AUS), The Tower, 2022 – ongoing, photography series // Genex Tower is one of the most iconic buildings in the city of Belgrade. When construction was finished in 1979, it was hailed as a symbol of the city as well as of the Yugoslavian state. The left tower of the building consists of residential apartments,
while the right tower was the former headquarters of the state-run company, Genex Group. Combining elements of socialist modernism and brutalism, it was built as a truly aspirational structure; a mirror of a society that considered itself to be on a way to greater human progress. Three decades after the collapse of Yugoslavia, time has not left a neutral mark
on the building. Despite being recently declared a piece of cultural heritage by the Serbian  Government, a great deal of the premises is in a  state of neglect. The business tower has 20 floors of disused office space, while the ground floor houses a locked-up area that used to be a pizza restaurant run by a notorious ex-gangster. However, some  entrepreneurial
members of the younger generation have revitalised other parts of the building. The Tower is a documentation of the aura of a place, as well as a foray into the history of the building and the stories and personalities surrounding it. The series touches on the way past bleeds into present, as  well as some of the dichotomies that Genex Tower embodies. Once a part of the city’s landscape and separated from it, occupying a gulf between aspiration and reality, it is a symbol of a socialist worldview towering above a post-socialist landscape.

Ridzet Ferati (MKD), Really?, 2021, video installation, 04′:12″ // The machine represents the system and the small seeds represent the
people and their failure to break through the holes of the system because they will stay in the same  machine, while those that will manage to get through will remain grounded. This film also represents
my point of view and approach to the  expression of the work of art through the process of spontaneity and simplicity to create a work of process and thanks to the development of  technology, meaning
that two hands, two eyes and one idea are enough.

Sarah Muscalu (ROU), Altered Visions, 2020, oil, enamel, charcoal on canvas | 210 x 1000 cm // “Sarah Muscalu’s project ‘Altered Visions’ is part of her doctoral research that investigates the morphology and syntax
of the painting language, the identity of the medium and the ways of presenting paintings as objects in a physical space. I could enounce that the artist’s painting is theoretical and discursive. Even if it does not disclaim the representation of a  subject, the artist’s  interest is oriented towards the  representation itself, i.e., to produce philosophy applied on the study of
artistic languages. (…) Using the technique of photomontage and collage, as it was used by some Soviet Constructivist artists, the artist creates large partially painted surfaces in which fragments of images coexist, representing industrial infrastructure in communist Romania, currently destroyed or in an advanced stage of degradation. The support of the painting becomes flexible and folds on the topic of the exhibition space, thus creating an organic-immersive space.” Matei Bejenaru

Rinor Dauti (XKX), Awakenings, 2023, installation // “This concept is based on my personal story of how I have faced hardships and obstacles for my goals to advance in different forms, that is, my journey as a young artist. The market was where I started operating and
today, it has changed the way of thinking in many aspects. There is another very philosophical energy; it is a split of two
personalities in one body to integrate commerce and art into what capitalism forces, and what you feel and want, leaving the comfort zone during an educational process or breaking away from the concept of changing careers; obviously, these
bad or good trials in short periods have made me think more and to have more will in what I want to do. “Awakening” is
a work I want to install as my market space where I function as an artist outside of art”.

Nadja Kračunović (SRB), Hydra, 2023, video performance, 17′:08″ // “Hydra” is a performative investigation, with the mission to master the female voice in the public space and dig into the unspoken, using the voice as a discipline in the discourse of personal agency and authenticity. The digging technique aims to dramatize individual voices into a collective one – a matriarchal figure of voices in resistance to a patriarchal landscape.
The piece, as a many-voiced Hydra, is a consequence of the two-month process and voice workshops held by the artist, dealing with the autobiographies of the six female agents, their voices, tongues, and wombs. The mistresses of the voice, the group of six purposely chosen female agents, dug out pits, tucking their voices into the holes, and creating cavities in the ground where they placed them by their silences, screams, secrets, and stories through a cacophonic experience developed in the process. In this period, their bodies resided in their real self-voices. The field they dug on, as a skin of the public space, but an agent itself, was fertilized by the voices and became a place of the six vocal monuments – authentic creatures.

Nadica Dojkoska (MKD), Life Story, 2023, performance, video // This project consists of two parts. An opening performance and video documentation that will remain during the exhibition. The performative part is like a documentary theater where (the mother) (the artist) is living with her child just like any other
day. This section aims to bring the audience into a specific family context. The video contains a record that depicts a conflict between the conservative definition of a family and today’s modern lifestyle.

Julija Kastelucci (MKD), Dialogue, 2023 performance // The performance shows the passing of time of a young artist in anticipation for something to happen. Tired of waiting for a response, we can see the artist lean against the wall of the Ministry of culture in Skopje and awaits. This action can also be seen as some kind of attempt to establish a dialogue, a connection between the artist and the institution. Which is why the artist in almost comical way is shown banging their head against the wall of the building. The connection in this piece becomes quite literally physical, aiming to embody the only option left. In a way becoming a symbolic gesture not just for the artist in question, but for all aspiring artists as well. The head-through-wall position references a forceful attempt to enter. Which is born out of impatience, but also contains an element of Sisyphus and a meaningless, functionless action. The position of the body is also reminiscent of a prayer. Which often is a spiritual element accompanying hopeless waiting, and thus conveys what ultimately becomes the only option – pray and wait.

Yiriu Fang, Gorgeous Make-Up, video performance, 23’:45’’, and a painting installation, 210×2000 cm // “Gorgeous makeup” is a performance, body art that uses a 20 m-long canvas to summarize the path of life. Fang for his work says: “I have experienced different periods in my life, from birth to death, from growing, to struggle, to despair. I have  expressed it through the performance. In as many opportunities as possible, I use body language to express emotions, states. The constant splashing of water (black) on my body during this process  symbolizes the stress we face. When we are young, our pressure mainly  comes from the outside world. At middle age, the pressure comes from the outside world and the family. In old age, it may come from the family even more, which is reflected in the direction of splashing the water. In the face of death, I smear white all over the body, which is our makeup, our glorious death is like a funeral (we want to leave clean), and we look back and seal everything in the past. Finally, I start a second application, lying down, buried in black, like covered with mud. In this 20-meter-long painting, there are random traces, but also deliberate ones. Our life is a blank piece of paper, some traces may be buried but we will always leave traces. When the gorgeous makeup fades,
all traces never disappear.

Ljumturie Krasniqi (XKX), I don’t know how many strands of grass I saw, 2020, mixed media on canvas, 110×80 cm // „I don’t know how many strands of grass I saw, is part of the cycle “0220”. I started the 0220 cycle at the beginning of 2020 and it deals with the relationship between soul and matter / the touchable and untouchable, through texture, color, and composition. Meanwhile, it has become the basic concept and technique itself, leading to different topics and events. In the middle of the first quarantine, I had a vision of a giant mountain cracking from drought.
Everything around looked like it was falling apart as the cracked pieces of a mountain. The overwhelming feelings and
thoughts that came with that situation were interfering with my subconsciousness and that mountain image got its way onto this canvas. The situation become even more complex when I first stepped out of my house and experienced the revival of nature in my city. I saw a lot of grass that day, but I couldn’t tell how much. It was beautiful. However, it made me confused and it still does, when I look at it. The blades of grass sometimes looked like strands of hair, hair in hidden places that are
not meant to be. For me, it is a rambling situation even today when I think of it. Not knowing if the world would flourish or
perish made me struggle to decide whether this painting is finished”.

Serhat Emrulai (MKD), In-Between, 2022, installation, 140x100x200 // “In-between is not a preposition indicating a distance between two places but an adverb
meaning in time, space or the interval separating these dimensions. This reflection stems from my personal experience during the years I lived in North Macedonia. Having grown up in a conservative environment and a traditional family, I  experienced an age-old tradition of hospitality, typical of ancient Greek  but also of the Balkan  area, with a robust Ottoman presence.
Drinking tea is seen as giving people life, a conversation and cure for their problems. The  clinking of spoons for each guest who passed through my house is still present in my adult years. Moreover, the sound was even louder in the cafés where men would gather to talk about the same topics (politics, economy, etc.), waiting for something to change.  With this work, I
represent the present and future time. This time consumes the continuous turning of spoons. Some turn at a relaxed pace, but
everyone is there waiting for something to happen. The feeling of temporal and experiential suspension that I want to convey is that so many people are experiencing waiting like something that needs to happen or are waiting to get out of this continuous circle where everything seems to be stationary and  unchangeable”.

Klelija Zhivkovikj (MKD), Observe, Orient, Decide, Act, 2023, installation // The installation shows the process of searching for new answers to the question: In a reality
burdened with a dying world, how do we create the resurgent one? The artist looks for the  answers in her own  tendency towards  recognizing the different textures of boundaries – the physical, emotional or spiritual barriers which help us know ourselves as beings, spaces and places, but also serve the purpose of establishing a contact with our surroundings. Recalling Anna Tsing’s “possibility of life in capitalist ruins” this work is a continuation of the artist’s multi-year  curiosity into how design practices shape humanity as a species. At the center of this practice is the process of prototyping, developing models for embodiment and  speculation, and seeking insight into the ways in which humanity relates to the rest of the living
and non-living world.

Julija Manojlovska (MKD), Before Awekening, 2023, installation // Each segment of the work is a separate element and a work in itself. All levitating forms are different identities. If there are different identities all around, and although we ourselves are sometimes part of them, their levitation puts the artist in the role of wandering for the essence. Each black ball is a geopolitical, social and cultural crisis that
levitates in complete comfort. If identity as a synonym means equality or sameness, then the circle is permeable. Before
the Awakening also represents the period of the past two years, during which everyone was sleeping. And so a black line drawn by a sheep once said “It’s spring, we have survived”.

Cem A (DEU), Bookmarks I, 2023, installation // Cem A. is an artist known for running the art meme account Freeze magazine on Instagram. This installation, titled “Bookmarks I” creates a physical experience that mimics the digital nature of memes. Visitors are invited to handle the phone objects and look at the memes as if they would on a normal phone. Each phone object in the installation serves the purpose of a bookmark for a digital meme. By freely placing the phone objects on the wall, visitors can redefine the relationship between the memes and transform the installation with their input while creating a space for digital memes to be recognized
as artworks within the boundaries of the white cube.

Fatima Moallim (SWE), I Was Happier When I Was in Denial, 2023, marker on glass //


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