Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Nikola Uzunovski: Q&A

Nikola Uzunovski. Photo courtesy of the
In addition to Macedonian and English he speaks 5 other languages. He had recently spent time in Italy and is now living again in Macedonia. Artist, scientist, social critic and a bit of an activist in his own way. For the 53rd Venice Biennale he was chosen to represent his country. His creative contribution, "My sunshine". In an interview he gave in 2009 to Whitehot magazine he remarked, 'Maybe I chose art cause I thought I'll have more freedom of choice'?

SP: Given that you are interested in Art & science, but chose to go with art, does your interest in science surface in your creative work now, and how you see the world?

NUIn elementary education you learn general studies, it is when you learn how a certain system works that you can start to produce a good product. So, when I learned that art like science was representing reality, and, in difference that science tries to represent reality in a more rational way, but art tries to in more metaphorically way, I found the second option more interesting. Although I still work on some scientific projects. Art is in fact a metaphor to stress certain concepts which are important for a certain culture in a given time. I use concepts which are important, to be stressed or questioned, Sometimes these come from the scientific world, so I work with them, sometimes its politics, I work with politics...

SP: When you were interviewed for Whitehot magazine you said at the Fine Arts Academy in Naples they told you what you learned in Macedonia was not art, how much did that affect your view?

NU: In the Art School in Macedonia we learned only techniques of production of art works, like painting and sculpture, We were taught how to make a two dimensional or three dimensional representation of images and objects. But, when I came to Italy I was taught that Art is not to know how to draw but the act of choosing what to put on paper or in a given space.
Those are quite different concepts. This difference in the definition of one same notion, made me question the process of creation of a culture, and how is reality defined in different cultures.

SP: What are a few mediums or materials you like to work in?

NU: The medium is not a priority, the message is. But, sometimes the medium is a part of the message... If you choose one medium over another you stress its importance anyway...
What I’m trying to do is to show people that what they do in their life time is an artwork, to give more value to their actions and stress their creativity, But if the art work is what They do, then they are the observer, the medium and the artist.

SP: After reading your interview in whitehot magazine, it seems your work now is more scientific, somewhat removed from traditional art, do you think the science aspect is taking hold?

NU: The My Sunshine Project one scientific side and one artistic side. The scientific side is that there is a search into how to produce a flying object capable of reflecting sunlight, to a given position, and appear to the viewer as a copy of the sun. Practically Its something between a Zeppelin and a satellite. The research, design and the production process is the same as in any similar design project.
The artistic side that it tries to set an example, which can involve and inspire as much people as possible to realize such a dream, or what ever idea they can imagine.

SP: Your project, "My Sunshine" at the national pavilion in Venice, how did that go?

NU: Presenting the project at the Venice Biennale was both a wonderful and terrible experience...
It is a very good opportunity to show your work to a very large crowd and public. Receive lot of feedback, and understand more carefully how the public perceives a work of art. But in my case it had quite few difficulties, cuts of budget, difficulties in communication with the people involved in the production...
Like in every ambitious project there are lots of risks that have to be taken into account.

SP: What's next for you Nikola, as far as art. Any projects in the works?

NU: At the moment I’m still working on the Sunshine project, and one more larger project which is a research of the content of the letters sent to Santa Claus, The project is to reconstruct Santas office, in which there are tables with letters of children from different countries. but there is a research book with info-graphics that show you that the wishes were created by the system in which the kids live in, and how the system creates you as a person...

SP: That sounds amazing, really thought provoking. Santa claus, research book, info-graphics. I can't wait to see it my friend. Thanks for taking the time Nikola, I know your very busy. Cheers! If you would like to know more go "Art is the reason, art is the way". Interview by K.K.W
"My sunshine". Photo courtesy of the Artist.
"My Sunshine". Image courtesy of the Artist.

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