Document Missing at Archaeology of Resistance, ŠKUC Gallery, in the frame of 29. Mesto Žensk, Ljubljana

My installation Document Missing: On Methodology (text, voice, and body) consisted of a triptych of photographs, a garment, and Cyrillic typography was part of the group exhibition Archaeology of Resistance curated by Iva Kovač with participating artists: Alicia Grullón, Amanda Gutiérrez, Barbara Blasin, Hristina Ivanoska, Katia Kameli, kolektiv SIDE, Mónica de Miranda that took place in the frame of 29. International Festival of Contemporary Arts – City of Women / Mesto Žensk (3.10.-2.11.2023). Photo: Matic Pandel.

Document Missing is an ongoing research project started in 2014. It is focused on the forms, narratives, and aesthetics of the women in Macedonia’s resistance strategies and political actions in the first half of the 20th century in relation to today’s forms of resistance. As a primary source of information, I use the transcribed and archived oral testimonies of participants and eyewitnesses involved in the emancipatory and liberation movements in Macedonia that were collected and institutionally preserved after WWII. This installation is a fragment from an exhibition formed in a dialogue with the historian Ivana Hadzievska and the ethnologist and activist Jana Kocevska. They invited me to be part of the research team focusing on the forgotten magazine “Makedonka” published in Macedonian language (1944-1952) as an Organ of the Women’s Antifascists Front of Macedonia, as part of Women’s Antifascists Front of Yugoslavia established on December 6, 1942. My research was focused on the first number of “Makedonka” issued under challenging conditions on November 7, 1944. It provoked me to think about what it means to create and edit emancipatory content and the key terms when one thinks about this process. Starting from there, I focused on my methodology from where I extracted the three essential elements related to my understanding of performance and performativity: text, voice, and body.

Archetype Open Form, 2022, Cyrillic Macedonian typography; 59 letters, numbers, and punctuation marks. Metal, plastic, pigment, and graphite. Collaborators: Martin Krstevski (metal), Iliana Petrushevska (graphic preparation), Ivan Peshevski (technical preparation), Nebojsha Gelevski-Bane (font development).

The typography is a result of my ongoing interest in letters and text as primary visual elements. “Archetype Open Form” exists only in Macedonian and English, the two operating languages in my artistic practice. As part of this installation, the alphabet is displayed as a reminder of that particular moment in history when the Macedonian language was declared an official language of the Socialist Republic of Macedonia as part of Yugoslavia. This decision was taken on August 2, 1944, during the first plenary session of ASNOM (Anti-fascist Assembly for the National Liberation of Macedonia). It also points out the struggles of “Makedonka” first editor-in-chief, Veselinka Malinska, to create content in her mother tongue while over-bridging many constraints at the end of WWII such as unstandardized language, inexperienced team of writers, lack of printing paper, using Serbian and Bulgarian letterpress printing block letters as a supplement, etc.

Document Missing: Performance no. 12 (“Makedonka” – emancipation, meaning, and desire), 2022/23. Garment: woolen felt, cotton thread, and plastic, 140x140cm; collaborators: Dragan Hristov (costume), Abdula Mustafa (cap).

This particular costume is inspired by the Yugoslav partisans’ basic shirt and cap. It belongs to my series of garments that I started to create in 2022 as part of my performing practice. Each work has a rectangular shape and I’m treating them as a base on which words and meanings can be embroidered, painted, or attached extracted from the texts that I am performing.

Document Missing: Performance no. 12 (“Makedonka” – emancipation, meaning, and desire), 2022/23. Triptych: digital photographs, inkjet print on acid-free paper, 100x70cm each; photo: Žarko Čulić.

The photographs are documentation of performing the methodology of creating visual and textual content through reading and editing. In my hands, I am holding my sketchbooks from the period 2020-2022, opened on the pages with my notes on the female body and sexuality, and about the emancipatory forms of women’s organization and their actions. I am also holding another opened book, a book that was a true revelation and inspiration for me along the lines of my aforementioned interests, Catherine Malabou Pleasure Erased: The Clitoris Untough [„Izbrisano uživanje: klitoris i mišljenje“, Beograd: Fakultet za medije i komunikacije; Zagreb: Multimedijalni institute, 2021 (Novi Sad, Artprint)].

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