Perhaps not all among the younger generations in Macedonia may know who was Živko Popovski, but a recent book published by Private Print is a significant moment in remembering the figure of one of the most prominent Macedonian architects in the period following the World War Two.
Back in his day, Živko Popovski was undoubtedly a favorite among many, both as an architect and engaged university professor and intellectual. Perhaps one of his most significant accomplishments is the building of Gradski Trgovski Centar (GTC) a signature building complex that lurks in the heart of the Skopje city center, but there is much more to his name, the least to say.
The book entitled To Skopje, with Love! – The Architectural Thought of Zivko Popovski and prepared by Aneta Hristova-Popovska and Meri Batakoja, comes ten years following the death of Popovski in 2007. The book promotion took place on 13th November 2017 at the Museum of the City of Skopje, and it is the first book that summarizes the intellectual thought of this important architect.
To Skopje, with Love! – The Architectural Thought of Zivko Popovski resembles a complete collection of texts, articles, interviews and critical essays that the architect had issued throughout his lifetime. The compilation of writings does not limit itself only on topics of architecture, but goes beyond, pondering on the city with all its cultural relations, which makes it for a particularly compelling read for the broader audiences as well.
Through his words, we come to unravel the figure of Živko Popovski not only as a conscious and critically-orientated citizen but also as an intellectual, musing the city where he lives.
Academic Vlada Urosevic, a personal friend and schoolmate with Popovski, also appeared as one of the book promoters.
“We are both born in 1934, so we were able to remember what was like in Skopje before the war, then what the war really meant, and how things went on after that,” said Urosevic. As he recalled memories and stories from their youth days, the academic also remarked that it is possible that some of those events, helped to shape some of the ideas and the views of the future architect Popovski.
During the book promotion, Meri Batakoja commented that the newly released edition is an attempt to return the intellectual and the creative thought in architecture, after recalling the words of Popovski, “We didn’t fail in the building, we failed in the thinking.“
Apart from the book promotion, Private Print also curated an exhibition collaborating with Meri Batakoja, Vlado Danailov, and Mila Dimitrovska. Entitled Imagining Space, the exhibition was available to check at the Private Print studio in between 14th and 19th November 2017. It featured architectural drawings from Živko Popovski and also other multimedia outputs inspired by the selection of drawings. The exhibition was organized as a follow-up of the November 13th book promotion, a date set not by accident, as that is when, in 1944, Skopje was liberated from occupation, in the closure of World War Two.
Marija Hristova from Private Print had further stated that this is the first book that inaugurates the Artists’ Writings edition of their publishing house. She shared for our team: “The Artists’ Writings is set to be a unique source of a whole range of different perspectives, insight and a privileged view on the artist reality, the artistic method and practice, and opinion regarding the world where we get to live. That is Private Print’s main reason for developing its Artists’ Writings edition, dedicated to writings by visual artists, architects and other professionals that not necessarily use the written word in their everyday professional life.”
“Whether they are international or Macedonian, the edition will concentrate on artists and intellectuals that dedicate a part of their practice in producing a textual testament of their thought. The Macedonian artistic and cultural scene, in general, lacks titles in this field, and moreover, lacks quality approach in conceiving and publishing this kind of books. That fact is an even stronger incentive to develop a diverse and distinctive edition,” also said Hristova.
Below you can also check the video from the book promotion:
To Skopje, with Love! – The Architectural Thought of Zivko Popovski was supported by the Faculty of Architecture at the University of St Cyril and Methodius in Skopje and further backed with technical and financial support from the Art Project Lab – Skopje and the City of Skopje.