Erina Bogoeva is an independent photographer who has unlocked the secrets of the camera by herself. Just recently, she has hosted her fourth solo exhibition, entitled The Dim City. Her first solo exhibition took place in May 2016 entitled Life on the streets of Europe and supported by the EU Info Center in Skopje. Soon after, her second exhibition has followed, The Sky Above Skopje and the third, simultaneously the first commercial one, Four Seasons of the Year and a Little Love.
The latest exhibition, The Dim City, was opened on 20th October 2017 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje, and in the focus of the photography work was the architecture of post-earthquake Skopje (post-1963) and how it developed up until the late 1990s or early 2000s. Erina comments: “This was a time of rebuilding, renewing and regrowth in Skopje, and to me, these buildings are something special. They truly are architectural sculptures for the most part, not just buildings.”
She continues: “Many of the buildings represented in the exhibition were residential buildings in the center of Skopje, for instance, the City Wall complex. That was due to their geographical proximity to me probably, but having said that, living there and having the opportunity to see them at every time of the day and year made them even more visually compelling to me.”
Some may comment that the architecture of the modern and the brutalism which is well present in Skopje is only fusty artiness but looking back all over again; we can yet once again recognize their unsurmountable spectacularity. Through the photography corpus of Erina Bogoeva, we can re-explore the urban lines of these edifices, and also feel a personal revolt of the artist that they are now mostly on the margins, a part of that “other city,” the Dim City.
Erina further comments on the title selected for the exhibition: “The title was the last piece of the puzzle for this exhibition. I am not really good at titles, so I spoke to a few people whose opinion I value on the whole idea behind the project, and we eventually came up with the Dim City option. It was a bit difficult, but now it seems obvious to me that such title explains a lot behind the entire concept, which in essence, was to shed lights on the parts of Skopje which were left (literary) in the dark during the past decade or so.”
Although each angle of Skopje’s brutalist and modern edifices are examples of world-renowned architecture, many of them are only visible to people just in the light of day, further remarks Erina. And some are not accessible at all because of other buildings obstructing them, erected in their proximity. She says: “The project as a whole was a sign of revolt against the dimming of an important part of our culture, architectural heritage and art.”
At the same time, The Dim City photography project was part of a more significant photo-research project which should be further continued in Macedonia. The exhibition was supported by the Macedonian Ministry of Culture, through its New Cultural Wave 2017 program. Buildings which has been the architectural output of Janko Konstantinov, Georgi Konstantinovski, Slavko Brezovski, Edward Ravnikar, and Marko Mushic among others, can all be spotted on Erina’s photographies.
Erina: Skopje is a whole person to me. It may sound silly or cringe-worthy, but by being my home, Skopje became a person worthy subject in my life. So many memories and feelings are tied to Skopje that I believe that I will always find inspiration to create here. My second solo photography exhibition was titled “The Sky Above Skopje”, and that one was dedicated to the romantic bond I have with this city.
“The Dim City” was a completely different aspect- it was dark and critical towards some trends in Skopje and it may not have been for everyone, but that is a side I also felt needed to be shown. That being said, I would love to see how Skopje will develop in the upcoming years, and I am not particularly nostalgic to a specific period of the city.
It would be amazing to see Skopje before the earthquake in 1963. My grandparents used to tell me the loveliest stories about that time, and from the limited amount of pictures I’ve seen of that time, it looks like a great place. But I would also like to spend a day (perhaps a night) in the Skopje of the ’90, because of the club culture that peaked in that period (I was too young to experience it the first time around).
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