OSTEN BIENNIAL of DRAWING – International Jury Members Interviews

OSTEN BIENNIAL of DRAWING Skopje 2018Image courtesy of OSTEN BIENNIAL of DRAWING

OSTEN BIENNIAL of DRAWING – International Jury Members Interviews

OSTEN BIENNIAL of DRAWING Skopje 2018 was extremely successful by the number of participants (863), the diversity of cultures of the countries that these artists represent (61 countries), and especially by the quality of the submitted works (2317).

The enormous interest for participation on the OSTEN BIENNIAL of DRAWING Skopje 2018 demanded a highly professional approach to the process of selection, therefore it went in two stages: selection (by selectors) and judging (by the international jury).

                 

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Selector:
Luca CURCI, Italy

International Jury:
Manos STEFANIDIS, Greece
Sonja ABADZIEVA, Macedonia
Melanie ZEFFERINO, UK/Italy

The outcome of the selection process and jury activities is a list of distinguished artists/works with the greatest and most original artistic achievements.

                        

OSTEN BIENNIAL of DRAWING Skopje 2018 - Luca CurciImage courtesy of OSTEN BIENNIAL of DRAWING

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Luca CURCI, Italy – Selector

Luca Curci (Bari, 1975) is an Italian artist, architect and designer, graduated in Architecture at the University of Camerino, Italy. In 2006 he founded the architecture firm LUCA CURCI ARCHITECTS which has realized several projects of residential buildings, private houses, villas, restaurants and stores.
Starting from 2015 he teaches Urban Planning and Interior Design at the Bahcesehir University (BAU) in the department of Rome.
In 2017 he founds the contemporary art gallery Galerie 222, in the Principality of Monaco, including the realization of the interior design. In December 2017 he founds THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space in the heart of Venice, very close to Piazza San Marco, as Director of the gallery.
His artistic research is based on the concept of hybridization, analyzed through video-art, performing art and virtual art. Some of his most important works are: “e-human” video, presented at Centre Pompidou of Paris in 2002; “still. alone” video, realized in 2004 in collaboration with 27 artists from Canada, USA, Argentine, Brazil, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Indonesia; the video trilogy “Impossible” realized between 2004-2006 and presented at CCCB (Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona) and NCCA (The National Centre for Contemporary Art in Moscow); “The Empire of R-evolution” video, presented at the 54th Venice Biennale, Italian Pavilion.

In 2001 he founded ITSLIQUID, a communication platform with over 200,000 subscribers, dedicated to art, architecture and design, that has organized more than 150 events all around the world, involving more than 5,000 artists, in more than 60 international venues.

Luca’s contribution to the selection process of the OSTEN BIENNIAL of DRAWING Skopje 2018 was significant! His expertise to recognize the best artists/works among the huge number of prospective artists from all around the world, gave to the organizers a confidence that the process is carried out with professionalismand high standards. 270 extraordinary artists chosen by Luca Curci will be presented with a reproduction in the Biennial’s catalog, will take place on the main Biennial’s exhibition at the National Gallery of Macedonia on 22 November 2018, and were a great base for the further level of the Biennial selection – the jury activities.

                    

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The international jury of the OSTEN BIENNIAL of DRAWING Skopje 2018 consists of the proven and internationally active professionals in the art and culture. To give you better insights in the jury members’ competences, we ask them to answer the following questions:
1. Highlight those aspects of your professional background that make you and your work unique
2. How does your work comment on current social or political issues?
3. How do you navigate the art world?
4. What are your impressions on the artists/works presented on the OBD Skopje 2018?
5. Any advices for the artists of the OSTEN BIENNIAL of DRAWING Skopje?

                             

OSTEN BIENNIAL of DRAWING Skopje 2018 - Manos StefanidisImage courtesy of OSTEN BIENNIAL of DRAWING

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Manos STEFANIDIS, Greece – President of the Jury

1. Highlight those aspects of your professional background that make you and your work unique
Curator of the National Gallery, Greece, for 25 years, commissioner of the Hellenicpavilion, Venice Biennale, 1990, fellowship of Smithsonian Institution, USA, Professor of art history, Athens University, Art critic and author. 30 books written and 150 exhibitions organized. 10 documentary shows on Greek television about art.

2. How does your work comment on current social or political issues?
I always have been involved in art and art policy through political activism, articles in newspapers, and numerous manifestations in Greece and abroad. For example, in Düsseldorf, Paris, London, N. York, L. A, Berlin, Mumbai etc. For the time being l believe that art and living by and through art, is the only possible and permanent revolution. The only rebellion left.

3. How do you navigate the art world?
It is not easy to answer because art today is more art market, advertisement and institution authority and less interaction, genius and emotion. What l am looking for is social awareness and personal feeling. If we want to realize our confusing and confused world, we have to feel it. Deeply.

4. What are your impressions on the artists/works presented on the OBD Skopje 2018?
I have found the level of the participants as well as the standards of the organization astonishingly high. Professionalism and inspiration at the same time.

5. Any advices for the artists of the OSTEN BIENNIAL of DRAWING Skopje?
Keep on trying harder. We need art as a way of living and not art us. Being an artist is a great responsibility and wound as well. Keep on bleeding is the solution!

                     

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Sonja ABADZIEVA, Macedonia – Jury Member

1. Highlight those aspects of your professional background that make you and your work unique
The point of the particularity of my work is based on a half-century professional attitude towards visual arts as director and curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art (1965-2005) in Skopje. It concentrates on hundreds of exhibitions, monographs, anthologies of Macedonian art and other related activities as a curator and commissioner of three Macedonian presentations at the Venice Biennale, as well as on AIKA activities (national and international). I emphasize my role as an initiator and editor of the first magazine for contemporary arts in the Republic of Macedonia – “The Large Glass” (1995-2009).

2.How does your work comment on current social or political issues?
As a critic focused on the essence of art, I continue the activities in a direction concentrated on the phenomenological side of visual arts, which means filtered from daily political, activist, socio-economic, ideological, etc. connotations.

3. How do you navigate the art world?
By following the more significant developments in the domain of visual arts, in direct communication with the creators, at the exhibitions in the country and through contact with foreign artists on the Internet, through magazines and books related to the world art field.

4. What are your impressions on the artists/works presented on the OBD Skopje 2018?
I was especially surprised by the unexpectedly great response of artists from all over the world, the joining of new authors from new countries and the POTENTIAL high quality of the received works. As a member of the OSTEN BIENNIAL of DRAWING, a special impression left me the high quality of much of the received author’s creations, innovations in visual arts, the further expansion of the concept of drawing, the intentions to originality and overcoming the traditional approach to this discipline. We had a problem selecting the bestbecause the competition was great, and the awards, as numerous, were not enough to offset our desire to reward all who were the focus of attention.

5. Any advices for the artists of the OSTEN BIENNIAL of DRAWING Skopje?
Artists to continue their research into new spaces for expression, in aesthetic, stylistic or technical-technological plan, lead to a bigger extension of the boundaries of the possibilities of drawing in its new definition.

                  

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Melanie ZEFFERINO, UK/Italy – Jury Member

1. Highlight those aspects of your professional background that make you and your work unique
I have a cross-disciplinary educational background in the visual and performing arts, and I am a trained conservator and archivist. I therefore span the tangible and the intangible in the sphere of creativity: as an art historian and curator, I specialize in art forms conjoining different disciplines and cultural traditions, animated figures for instance. That was the subject of my doctoral research at the University of Warwick, where I currently am a Teaching Fellow in the Venice Program. After working in the field of collectibles and textile manufacture at an International level, I have collaborated with museums, art galleries, auction houses, and contemporary artists working with different media. I have been the keeper of a princely collection of artworks from different epochs, and served as board director of the civic theatre and school of music in my home town. In 2017 I curated the XI Florence Biennale, and am working at the forthcoming edition to be held in concomitance with the fifth centennial of Leonardo da Vinci’s death. This year I have had the pleasure and honor of being a jury member of the Osten Biennial of Drawing Skopje, which made me discover the beauty and strength of Macedonia – a country standing out today for its artistic production and legacy.
I guess it is this wealth of experience and knowledge, which I gained through work, study and a commitment to exploring the world and its cultural diversity, that made me become a more sensitive person, a professional with a creative mind and ability to understand many sign systems, aesthetics, and poetics. I am committed to research, and I love collaborating with artists to give breath of life to challenging projects that may help them achieve their full potential and reach a wider audience.

2. How does your work comment on current social or political issues?
I think that cultural diversity is a value, as is creativity. Globalization has threatened this in many ways so, like many, I believe that time has come to stand for protecting identities, either collective or individual, and their artistic legacies. Education in the arts, which is still underestimated to some extent, can play a fundamental role in making a brighter present possible because it raises awareness and fosters achievement: talents have to be nurtured and forged until they are ready to enrich the “fertile grounds” in which they were born and bred, I believe. We should not forget that mastering an artistic tradition means reviving it, reinterpreting without spoiling it while creating an original link between the past and the future. An artist needs to know what they may be willing to preserve, change or improve one day, and also needs know how to do that for the better. In my view, the so-called deskilling phenomenon in the arts is a serious threat to talent and its potential, and should be contrasted as opposed to excellence.

3. How do you navigate the art world?
I explore it, I guess, never taking anything or anyone for granted and never excluding anything a priori. I welcome and promote artistic research, and keep a close eye on what artists at different career stages do around the world. I take their challenges and reflect upon the themes they focus on. I must say that I feel blessed because I have had the opportunity of studying and working in the arts, and seeing historic and contemporary artworks from many cultural areas.
I am grateful to the Florence Biennale for trusting me as a curator and offering me the opportunity to work with hundreds of artists with different backgrounds, and also design special projects such as the “G7 of Art” in the basement of the Santa Croce Basilica. This year, thanks to Mice Jankulovski and Kornelja Kaneska, I could experience Macedonia and art in this country through the OBD and the Osten collections. I enjoyed seeing the way Mice Jankulovski wonderfully spans drawing, animation, and painting in his artistic path. I also was lucky enough to meet some of his friends, who are outstanding cultural actors of Macedonia, first and foremost Sonja Abadzieva and the great master Rodoljub Anastasov, whom I admire. From Skopje, last summer, I flew to Yerevan, where I co-curated the exhibition “Contemporary Treasures on the 40th Parallel North” in Yerevan with Aniello Ertico and Lilit Hovhannisyan. Showcasing works by present-day artists from Basilicata, that exhibit was hosted at the gallery of Arman Nur, an Armenian multi-talented artist credited for reviving animated sculpture who received prestigious recognitions and awards. He is now displaying his graphics, sculptures, and jewels in a solo exhibition entitled “Diagram”, which I co-curated with Aniello Ertico from the Porta Coeli Study Centre for Mediterranean Culture and Yelizaveta Shirinyan from the Cafesjan Centre for the Arts. The exhibition sets out the ideal connection between drawing, capturing Nur’s initial idea for an artwork, and its development as a two – or three – dimensional form to be given shape through different media.
These more recent, successful projects, I think, are good examples of how I travel and act in today’s multifaceted art world.

4. What are your impressions on the artists/works presented at the OBD Skopje 2018?
I am amazed with the originality and masterly execution of many works presented at the OBD Skopje 2018 by artists from many different countries. It is interesting to see that some of them share a common background, and yet are so different in their creative endeavors – I refer to artists trained at a Polish school of excellence in printmaking, for example. Also, to notice is the extraordinary vitality and achievements of woman artists from the Middle East, some of whom are very young. I am particularly fascinated with various works by artists who have used traditional materials and techniques in innovative ways, in combination with new media or to create installations. Finally, I am impressed with the generosity of the participating artists, many of whom have enriched the Osten collection with great pieces of work this throughout the years. This makes the OBD Skopje very special.

5. Any advice for the artists of the OSTEN BIENNIAL of DRAWING Skopje?
The best advice I can give is to nurture their talent by developing their skills and exploring different ways of using the media they employ while pursuing their artistic research. Strive for perfection, but value every attempt you make to achieve it. Defend your identity and your right to express yourself through art in a world whose beauty lies in the fact that the life of forms in art, as in nature, obeys laws of harmony but is immensely diverse.

more. www.osten.mk

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