2002 – , color photographs, 70×100 cm
Travel guides comprise of series of urban and nature landscape photographs that artist took on his travels to different parts of the world. Considering the context of the guide that these works connote, selected readings introduced as comments, written directly in each photograph, should familiarize the viewer with the distant sceneries. An institution of the signpost is not being brought together only with the real, recorded travel sights, but it also points to what is written in the essence of the media of photography, to the shortage that requires a certain adjunct, to the signpost for the picture use. Textual comments, however, represent sentences extracted from conversations, book quotations, fragments of memories, and comprise the viewer in some inter-subjective networks, into very production of the meaning, but at the same time, into the register of different institutions and follow-up ideologies. Thus for example, In Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, you will most likely feel dizzy due to the height illness.
You can download the pdf presentation from here> travel guides
View as social and cultural conditionality
Photography has been being linked mainly to the truth and realism in presentation during its 150 years-long history, playing the key part in the development of the last phase of the Western visual presentation tradition. The change from an optical image (photography and film) to an electronic (video) and digital (computer generated) initiated, slowly, yet unstoppably, the process of abandoning the way of figuration which was based upon representation, replacing it with a principle whose essential feature is presentation. The presentation quality of photography as a medium helped us to finally shape the reality, and to construct social and cultural visibility Michel Foucault and Gilles Deleuze had talked about, based primarily upon its reproducibility (Walter Benjamin). That cultural visibility is determined by the seen, as well as with visuality as the main signifier which defines one’s view (vision) as the highest level of aesthetical and spiritual activity and visuality as a social and cultural fact. Goran Micevski deals with some of these issues in his latest work.
In a series of photos entitled «Travel Guides», Micevski explores, re-combines and links some of the aforementioned features of the contemporary practices in photography. As the result of the photographer’s years-long work, mainly thanks to his journeys and searching for identity, his photos reflect him as a person in a heuristic quest. He reacts to all the changes and conditionality of the social and cultural circumstances. Places and sceneries on his postcards are not tourist souvenirs. They are mental images, places of experience and realization. They all are defined precisely and marked, just like real postcards, suggesting all the places the artist has been to. Transylvania,Istanbul,Sweden,Jordan,Syria,Bern,Greece, Istria, Crete andFinland. Continuing onto a long tradition of travel stories and travelogues, the artist tells a tale about the world that surrounds us.
In his photographs, Micevski insists on the aesthetical, not abandoning the basic principle and standards which a good photography bases upon (composition, light, perspective). He applies all the skills and knowledge in order to turn a photo into a kind of object of desire. The starting point is always a landscape which poses a critical meaning besides the poetic one. However, the landscape itself is not the primary aspect of his interest. In combination with a text, it gets a completely new meaning and point. The photos refined with a text create a conceptual frame that offers the observer a possibility to implement different meanings and contents via the given references. The idea premises of such a procedure initiate quest for concept forms of social antagonistic relations and cultural differences which are present in Goran’s works.
Texts in the photos are insertions, quotes from different books, passages taken from legends, oral tradition and proverbial phrases taken from the colloquial language. The post-modern in Goran Micevski’s work is double inscribing of signs and narratives of a coherent aesthetical and ideological process of marking a subject or events. Social and cultural conditionality in the works of Goran Micevski reflect repeatedly in the fact that the text, being a constituent part of the photographs, represents a reaction, sometimes a humorous remark, but first of all the author’s attitude towards the given environment. Such an attitude is metaphorical in some cases, sometimes it bears a nuance of criticism, but it is often surreal and symbolical. That social and cultural conditionality leads the artist’s view towards creating new relationships between the visual and the narrative. By means of sparse interventions and the very image (photo), he succeeds very easily in deconstructing the cultural and historical system which is, among other things, based upon believes and myths of the given subjects and regions. Thanks to such a gesture, the observer is involved unconsciously into metaphysical space of the presented, and is forced to think again about the things she/he believes to know.
We have observed analogue photos, created by means of a chemical process, as documents, as true reports on things from the real world (W.J. Mitchell). After the appearance of digital photography and new technology of image processing, we changed the established standards and status of the image, and we brought photography into the sphere which went beyond the limits that had defined photography historically. The works of Goran Micevski combine the best from both the techniques. Although his photos have been created by means of the classic photographic technique, they are exhibited as prints, once more emphasizing the necessity of combining and applying all the practices in the contemporary photography.
Micevski’s photos are something more than mimetic presentations of the seen. They are defined conceptually, socially engaged with a strong sublime message. That very change of the concept has enabled Micevski to step out of the traditional practice in photography, going beyond the defined patterns and stereotypes as in the technique, so in the procedure.
By Saša Janjić