Tonight, 19th April 2018 at 20h, opening of photography exhibition “At 3 AM” by Ivan Blazhev, TransformArt Gallery, Svetog Save 8
Ivan Blazhev was born in 1974 in Skopje, Macedonia. He has graduated from Brooklyn College (NYC, USA) with BA in Filmmaking and holds an MFA degree in Photography from the Academy of Arts of Novi Sad (Serbia). Works as a photographer, filmmaker and educator. He has exhibited his work at national and international museum and gallery venues. In 2008 his project Macedonia Dreaming was part of Beyond Walls – Eastern Europe after 1989 program at the Noorderlicht Photo Festival in the Netherlands. In 2011 he was featured in the exhibition Fragments: Macedonian art scene 1991 – 2011 at the Museum of Contemporary Art – Skopje. Blazhev has published five photographic books.
At 3 am
“…and in a real dark night of the soul it is always three o’clock in the morning, day after day. At that hour the tendency is to refuse to face things as long as possible by retiring into an infantile dream – but one is continually startled out of this by various contacts with the world.” – writes F. Scott Fitzgerald in his book “The Crack-up”. Borrowing its title and theme from this reference, the project “At 3 a.m.” refers to this particular time of the day not as an indication of the time when the photographs of Skopje may have been taken. This temporal reference is more so, a parameter of the spiritual state and time we live in.
Under the auspices of “SK-2014” a curious proliferation of statues, monuments and neo-classical and baroque architecture have been popping up across the Macedonian capital during the last few years. As a result of this still ongoing project, Macedonia’s capital Skopje has been built, torn apart, rebuilt, covered and masked, undergoing a facelift beyond recognition. But the facelift goes much deeper under the surface. SK-2014 is a revisionist project which has been rewriting the history of the city and it has been redefining the identity. Much debated and with strong international and local opposition, the project has been under the scrutiny of the public, but nevertheless the government continued with the project, deeply carving through the Skopje urban landscape.
“At 3 a.m.” is a personal photographic narrative of confrontation, transformation and intimate battle, documenting the trauma from the abrupt changes to the face of the city. Photographing the changing urban landscape, as well as the human landscape within it, is an effort to make sense of the new reality, of coming to terms with the city. It is a way of exploring Skopje, finding a way through the new landscape and trying to understand its new face, its new skin and what is under it. It is not a project about documenting the change, but rather it is a project about the psychological impact of the change and a search for a sense of identity and community within the new landscape. The project represents photographer’s personal gaze into memories, changes and socio-political impact on the individual and the community.