Darko Aleksovski: Never Not in Love
May 12th - June 6th 2023
Never Not in Love is an interdisciplinary and participatory art project composed of two separate works: Love Letters to Loneliness and Waves, complementing each other in an exhibition setup. Love Letters to Loneliness originate from intimate confessions in a letter form, without a possibility of them being chronologically located, and are offered to the audience to be read with the opportunity given to the reader to enter into a personal world with emotional issues and situations difficult to translate into words. The series is composed of seven works created on a typewriter. These unaddressed and never sent letters, but directed to specific people, have originally been composed, edited and typewritten in 2018. The current versions were edited and retyped in 2023 specifically for the exhibition at Prostor. The editing process was guided by the effort of finding the past versions of oneself - by placing the own personality in the time when the encounter happened. Typewriting as a manual process emphasizes the materiality of a letter as an object in this one-way correspondence.
Waves is a site-specific installation, composed of large-format drawings on plasterboards arranged around the exhibition space. They compose a continuous seascape through images inspired from Split. The drawings are supposed to place the audience – the readers of the letters – in a specifically constructed setting that evokes a different contextual interpretation of the love letters. Drawings are based on a memory, as a landscape or a city is remembered, which makes them associative, but distinguishable from a specific place.
Both letters and the drawings are evoking the sense of the work in progress, deliberately leaving the errors where they occurred. Thе performative aspect of reading and the scenography were the features that defined the exhibiting character of these letters. The aim of this kind of setup is to welcome, soften and comfort the audience, making them a part of a situated genre scene. This idea was inspired by the genre painting that most notably was developed by 17th century Dutch painters such as Vermeer. In that type of paintings, the letters and their readings were a common theme, where the motif of the sea was subtly, but intentionally put in the scene. Iconographic meaning of the sea in relation to the reading of a letter was to suggest the tone of the letter. If the sea was calm, the love was flourishing. If the sea was wild and agitated, so was the love. The audience, while stepping into the exhibition space and taking part in it, thus enters the imaginary contemporary version of a Dutch painting.
Playing along with the dichotomy between masculinity and femininity is evident in the pink colours of the envelopes, moreover in the labour of typewriting, a work that was in the past most often attributed to women, as much as the mentioned colour. The translation of three letters to Croatian (as well as their first edition in Macedonian), language that is more gender-specific than English, has further allowed for the queer aspect to emerge.
The ambiguity can place the reader both in the position of a receiver or a sender - writer of the letter. The notion of love as mentioned in the title is fluctuating as well. I have fallen in love with a handful of humans, five animals, a hundred or so books and artworks, one museum, and three cities, writes Paul B. Preciado (...) I have known four kinds of amorous passion in my life: the kind that a human causes, the kind that an animal provokes, the kind that is generated by a historical fabrication of the mind (book, work of art, music, or even institution), and the kind a city can trigger. The project was produced and exhibited for the first time as a site-specific installation at PrivatePrint Studio and at the XIII Biennial of Young Artists, Museum of Contemporary Art, both in Skopje, North Macedonia. In its further editions, the exhibition retains the performative elements, but with different scenography and dynamics.
Darko Aleksovski (1989) is a visual artist whose practice is formed on the intersection between images and writings. He holds BFA and MFA Degrees from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Skopje and is currently based in Veles, North Macedonia. He was an artist-in-residence at bm:ukk Artist-in-Residence Program (Vienna, Austria), Deutsche Börse Residency Program at Frankfurter Kunstverein (Frankfurt, Germany), Digital Residency Program at SCS Centar-Jadro (Skopje, N. Macedonia), the CreArt Artist-in-Residence Program at Atelierhaus Salzamt (Linz, Austria), and the VOIDS 2022 Open Studio Programme (Split/Dubrovnik, Croatia). Notable group international exhibitions include You Can’t Discourse Without Disco – WHW Akademija 2022 Closing Programme, Galerija Nova (Zagreb, Croatia),Traces and Memories, Counihan Gallery in Brunswick (Melbourne, 2021), What would happen if? The choice to build an alternative future, Museo Santa Joana (Aveiro, 2020), The Tokyo Art Book Fair 2017, Warehouse TERRADA (Tokyo, 2017), Streetlight, Revisited, Roman Susan Gallery (Chicago, 2019), and 55. Oktobarski Salon – Disappearing Things, The Museum of the City of Belgrade (Belgrade, 2014).
The exhibition is part of the "Spaces of Empowerment" program that the "Culture Hub Croatia" Platform is implementing in 2023 as part of the Prostor creative hub. The exhibition is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia. The work of the Platform "Culture Hub Croatia" is supported by the National Foundation for the Development of Civil Society and the Kultura nova Foundation.
The letters are translated by Jasmina Šarić and proofread by Kristina Tešija and Laura Short
Curator: Jasmina Šarić / Technical setup: Marino Vukasović i Darko Aleksovski