This project is funded by a Carnegie Trust for the Universities in Scotland Research Incentive Grant, awarded to Jon Blackwood, Gray’s School of Art. It will provide a comprehensive survey of contemporary art practice in Macedonia. Using participatory observation and flexible interviewing techniques,
- it will deliver a multi-perspectival, rounded understanding of the major themes informing contemporary Macedonian practice,
- demonstrate the problems faced by artists in a post-socialist society in transition,
- identify the strategies adopted by them in engaging with international audiences for contemporary art.
The research looks at the views of artists and the art world as a whole – curators, writers, activists, academics, and Macedonian diaspora, still engaged in the local art scene, in the UK, Austria, and Canada.
The research will result in the production of the first English language survey of contemporary art practice in Macedonia, which will be published by malagalerija in Skopje. The English language version will be launched in April / May 2016 and a version in Macedonian will appear in the autumn. The work also builds on significant engagement by Gray’s with Macedonia in the last year; Gray’s students exhibited in Skopje in February 2015 and two were chosen to exhibit at the Paratissima Art Fair in the city in June 2015. Jon will also publish an essay on censorship and contemporary art in Macedonia appearing in a collection of text on Censorship in Contemporary art, edited by Roisin Kennedy and Riann Coulter, which will be published in 2017.