Blesok no. 97, July-August, 2014
Conceptual Socially Engaged Discourse
Photography has been increasingly gaining supremacy as a medium for visual expression in the artistic practices, as an expanded field for visual conceptualizing of reality. In his photographic project “Sunrise at Sunset – The Post-apocalyptic Stench of Transition”, Sašo Dimoski shows the current phenomena of the contemporary social and political reality, of the past systems and the consequent transition processes. The topic of his exhibition is Izgrev (Sunrise) hotel, built on the shore of the Ohrid Lake, at Kališta locality, which is, at the moment of writing, abandoned and deconstructed. Photographing the current state of this, once attractive and grandiose facility, built during the socialist era, he uses the features of documentary photography to depict the factual devastated state of the building, additionally exhibiting a marketing flyer for Izgrev hotel and an album with photographs from the hotel’s opening, redefining through this the semantics of documentary photography and the work of art itself, which transitions into a conceptual socially engaged discourse.
For Dimoski, photography is an instrument of higher perspective over the artistic structure, part of the research and engaged art photography, where photography is redefined in its basic meaning. Using visual and mental relations to history, he abandons the traditional aims that describe perception outside the initial one, relating a new, moving reading of the history of a building. Documenting the deconstructed facility, the emphasis is on the geometric architectonic structures that create abstract forms, where photographic skill, through the play of light and shadows, enhances the effect of the experience in its extremes and, through photographs, it has the ability of evoking the history of the space. The images of the architecture present scenes of an echo of a sequence of events that led to the current moment. The photographs, although they could be classified as documentary, still, through their “subjective realism” in framing bring a new aura to their meaning and expression. Placing the photographs into gilded baroque frames, the author accentuates the historical moment of their mass use in framing tapestries and kitsch contents from the socialist times, emphasizing the kitsch of living and false achievements and successes of the past system, as well as the very political and economic transition that we still live in.
In this work, Sašo Dimoski does not only use photographs as an esthetic experiment, but as a practical means to reflect the reality of a more complex socially engaged work. His photographs have a dual function, they are historical documents, and, at the same time, they are systematic recordings of architecture as a reflection of the past and current times. They visualize the objective evidence of the consequences of contemporary life and its initiators of the critical re-shaping in Macedonia.