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Jovan Balov - Meeting with the Angel

Sofija Gurovska


The masterpiece the "Kurbinovo angel Gabriel", with historic iconography from the XII century has been imprinted on a fifty-denar note, so that it undergoes a change of its generations old function, from an icon with spiritual contents it is converted into an icon for ultimate use.


The exhibition "A Meeting with the Angel" is something unconventional: it has a video, soundi, works made by computer and standard works.Jovan Balov, a painter who lives in Berlin and Novica Trajkovski, a painter who lives in Skopje, graduated from the Faculty of Fine Art, got together after many years after the graduation, realized that they share the same thoughts and made an exhibition in the City Museum of Skopje.


Balov says: We came about the exhibition accidentally, as a result of a bizarre discussion we had with Novica last year.  However, last year, in Ohrid, at the Art Colony in Borik, we worked together again, and at the beginning, rather modestly, carefully and cautiously, but later more openly talked about some state of affairs we come across at a moment of creation.  So, since I was working on a series with the figure of Gabriel of Kurbinovo, and I had already seen a catalogue by Novica where he, indirectly or directly dealt with the same topic, although made in a conventional manner, following quite a different painting principle and method and with beautiful palette, we were compelled to jointly make an exhibition. We are rather different, and at the beginning many of our colleagues and critics and cultural workers did not take us seriously. Now, when we have the material for the exhibition behind us, ready, I am proud to have come up to this.


The material was modeled last year, says Balov adding some works from the previous series, while Novica included with material that is a discovery for him. The project is accompanied by a video - a research done this year in the St. Nicolas Church Ljuboten, with beautiful music by Bodan Arsovski, which follows the ambiance of the unreachable angel. The film is running at the exhibition in the Museum of Skopje City. The Balov's works are made by computer. They are realized in a conventional manner. The Balov's part of this exhibition is about an installed idea - 60 segments-portraits of Gabriel, and the whole series contains 90.


From which aspect is Balov exploring this Angel?  


The first aspect is what is happening with this figure in Macedonia. It is a masterpiece of a world painting from the XII century, of sacral, iconographic and historical importance, but acquiring a new importance for being imprinted on a fifty-denar note and thus gaining a change of generation-wide function. From an icon with spiritual content it becomes an icon with material content because the note is a form of an ultimate, functional icon. It was for me a moment of exploration: on one hand the graphic that has already been changed and used for presenting a note, I use it in a series, but on the basis of the photographs I took in Kurbinovo. In those numerous painting of Gabriel, I was exploring the figure of an angel who in fact is without a concrete figure - it might be a male or a female, generous or reprimanding, good or bad. I used mechanical spreading and a game against the machine and the computer, coming face to face with the mechanization as a cold and direct thought - all the angels are painted by hand, imitating mechanical spreading - newsprint, computer, diagonal, galvanized plate, and copier effect. And the second aspect is the creation of the serial, which on its part has another function. Endy Warhol also used them, but they are graphical, repeated with a cliché - they do not have oscillations. The figure is the same, it is about the base, the color. It is the colour that that finaly makes the sensation of the appearance. In my case, it is the iconography that matters, not the function. On a drawing, mover of the painting is not a cols mark, it is not absolutely the same, it is not repeated, but all 90 pieces are originals. They function together and simultaneously, and when a person starts looking at them with a concentration and go through them, he experiences them as a big animation, the portraits are pulsing. The material has been presented three time, in Berlin, in Cologne, in Aachen and at several group projects in Germany, and this is the first time in Skopje...





At the State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessalonica - Balov, Andreevski and Vangeli Are Exhibiting in Greece 
Elena Orovcanec Spiroska  
(Vest, 11.04.2002)

 Jovan Balov, Sergej Andreevski and Zaneta Vangeli will represent the Macedonian contemporary art in Thessalonica, Greece, within a grand exhibition, “European Contemporary Art – Art of the Balkan Countries” which opens on Saturday(13.04.2002)  at the State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessalonica. 


The selection of the three artists has been made by Emil Aleksiev,  Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje, at the invitation for Macedonian participation in this exhibition.

In Thessalonica, Jovan Balov will present his art work with a project “Archangel Gabriel” . This is a work which, according to Balov, is most related to the Macedonian identity and culture. The Balov's part of this exhibition is  installed  paintings segments-portraits of the Angel Gabriel. The series have been partially displayed at numerous exhibitions but will now be first exhibited as a whole with all of its 90 elements. 

Sergej Andreevski will exhibit seven oils from his series “A kiss of the fish”. The paintings were made in Macedonia but were inspired by the United States.

 Zaneta Vangeli’s installation entitled “Auto differential plastic” comprises six elements: photographs, pictures and three structures two of which are of glass and one of wood. 


The  Thessalonica exhibition will be set in a 3,000 square meter area and will present three artists from each Balkan country. World renowned names such as Romello PervolovitCI; Marian Zidaru from Romania, Slovenians Marjetica Potrc and Marco Pelijhan, Ismet Dogan from Turkey, Vladimir Nikolic from Yugoslavia, Jusuf Hadzifejzovic from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Electros and Christis Bouronikos from Greece and Svilen Blazen from Bulgaria will be amongst the artists participants. The exhibition is organized by the Kostaki Collection, the richest collection with works of the Russian avant-garde, and will be opened by the Greek Minister of Culture Evangelos Venizelos and director of the State Museum of Contemporary Art in Thessalonica Professor Miltiadies Papanikolaou..




"Art of Balkan States" in Thesaloniki - Center of Culture without Borders

Gordana M. Blazevska

(Utrinski Vesnik, 8.05.2002) - Exhibition entitled “Contemporary European Art, Art of Balkan States” is set at the Thessaloniki State Museum of Contemporary Art. In organisation of the State Museum of Contemporary Art, and in cooperation with the state museums of nine Balkan countries: Albania, Turkey, Slovenia, Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Greece, its holding is of exceptional significance, because this is the first time for an exhibition to have such an international character. As stated in the information to the media, the exhibition has a tendency to signal new relations between the Balkan countries in relation to culture.

The exhibition includes artists that are known to the European art scene, and it expresses the range of occurrences in art in the countries of the region. The 110 exhibited artworks reflect the contemporary artistic reality of every state at the beginning of the 21st century, and reflect the picture of the contemporary art of each country, which corresponds with the local tradition and the European global scene. The largeness of the exhibition, along with the wide response of many artists, sets the conditions for linking Thessaloniki with the wider Balkan area and Thessaloniki’s promotion into a Balkan cultural metropolis.

Each country is presented by three artists, while the selection has been made by the directors of the Museums of Contemporary Arts of the abovementioned countries, in close cooperation with the State Museum of Contemporary Arts, which is responsible for organisation of this exhibition. The Republic of Macedonia is presented through Zaneta Vangeli with the installation “Auto-Referential Plastics”, Jovan Balov with the installation “Angel Gabriel” and Sergej Andreevski with the picture cycle “Love and Game”. The selection has been made in order for it to show the current situation at the art scene in Macedonia at the turn of the 21st century. According to the success of the works of these three authors, it can be said that the selection was successful. Namely, these are diverse authors, and the purpose is to show several dimensions of the Macedonian art scene.

The goal of the exhibition “European Contemporary Art-Art of Balkan States” is to allow individual artistic creations to shine beyond their borders, while the only logical context that is worth of respect is the context of culture without borders. The selection of artists and their artworks has been made by famous experts from the museums from Budapest, Istanbul, Sofia, Ljubljana, Thessaloniki, Tirana, Saraevo, Skopje and Belgrade, by specialised museum and gallery directors. The audience will have the unique opportunity to see a concentrated presentation of the art of these regions. It is obvious that this setting will not include latest works and experimental items, but works of renowned artists. The selection of the exhibition was not made on the principle of contemporary curator’s access, with autonomy criteria. It is a collection of certain attitudes, which are supported by renowned personalities and institutions, again confirming the role of the Museum in a wider context. The artists that participate at the exhibition are: Insel Inal, Ismet Dogan, Selda Asal (Turkey), Marian Zidaru, Marin Gerasim, Romeo Pervolovici (Romania), Vladimir Nikolik, Marija Dragojlovik, Biljana Gjurgjevik (Serbia and Montenegro), Svilev Blazev, Pavel Kojzev, Emil Mirazdziev (Bulgaria), Mirsad Sekik, Jusuf Hadzifejsovik, Gordana Angelik-Galik (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Suela Muca, Hardinaj Alban, Eduard Agostini Hila (Albania), Eli Hrisidu, Babis Vekris, Hristos Buronikos (Greece), Marko Pelijhan, Marietica Potrc, Tadeg Pogacar (Slovenia).