Maja Cankulovska Mihajlovska,
National Gallery, Skopje, 2017
Hong Kong International Photo Festival, 2015
Artist and Professor,
Art Critic and Professor,
See.me and Sotheby's Institute of Art,
"Zoran Poposki’s Theoria is based on the principles of multilevel research in the field of cultural and social theories and practices, positioning himself as an analyst and critic of a multitude of topics relating to identity, territory, public space, etc. His current series of post-conceptual drawings entitled Theoria which he has been focused on developing from 2015 onwards, so far contains 65 works (of which the exhibition at the National Gallery of Macedonia presents a selection of 22), and according to the author represents a series of portraits of 'monumental figures from the world of philosophy, literature and art, and [his] personal beacons, from Friedrich Nietzsche and Virginia Woolf to Walter Benjamin and Judith Butler'.
The portrait as the basis of visual representation and (in this case) an impulse of signifying practice, can firstly be interpreted on the basis of the standard definition according to which it is a depiction of a character or a figure as the main subject; one of the main characters in the work that is meant to emphasize its physical and psychological particularity, but is also a representation of the memory of a person. In terms of the relationship between the portrait and the self-portrait, it is necessary to emphasize Zoran Poposki’s previous practice in which he has commonly used 'first-person speech'. In particular, the aforementioned topics of interest in Poposki are presented and perceived by the author’s appearance in his own works, upon which he has built the narrative, as well by communicating an ironic and subversive political and social view.
Zoran Poposki’s multilayered suggested narrative is initiated as his personal interpretation of the 'character and work' of famous philosophers who have been the founders or have had a major influence on various reference systems of values, and are represented as archetypal images. In a formal visual / artistic sense, their faces emerge as contours from the background or have been painted on them, and insisting on the line that gets the function of a signifier is a kind of return to drawing as one of the basic artistic elements, combining different techniques (ink, acrylic ink, graphite, lumocolor, gouache, graphite on paper).
A crucial topic of interest in the ideologically-autonomous works of Zoran Poposki is the interpretation of the terms ‘culture’, ‘ideology’, ‘identity’, ‘territory‘ and ‘theory’. His latest drawings are dominated by “scattered” fragments of collective cultural memory, of art history of from different periods and regions, details of architecture, texts, ornaments, floral elements, geometric designs, shapes… In such a visualization, all the allegories, messages and values, both in their perceptual as well as aesthetic sense, by means of their juxtaposition to the totality serve to emphasize the intertextuality of the narrative.
In his interdisciplinary visual research, Zoran Poposki positions himself as an interpreter, creating an 'open work' with possible networks of inexhaustible relationships present in the complex signifying powers of the images. His visual meta-language in the cycle of drawings Theoria, based on a multitude of sign structures, and conditioned by the linguistic analytical games, contexts and relationships, offers an exciting reading through the reconstructing of the models of postmodern deconstruction of narration."
"Based on the Hong Kong writer, Kai-cheung Dung’s novel ‘Atlas: The Archaeology of an Imaginary City’, Dr. Poposki’s postdigital printmaking and painting project Translating Hong Kong is a visual rhetoric of this hyper populated metropolis. Plane signage, hoardings, advertisements and sheer urbanism are depicted in a hybrid manner. Hong Kong’s fast paced and congested life is rendered in Poposki’s chaotic photographic composition and vivid usage of the suggestive reddish color. The ambiguity of these co-existed symbols reflect the identification of a contemporary consumer society under a flux of unstable socio-political current, a tug of war relationship with the sovereign Communist Party.
The synthetic nature of the visual and technological civilization have exploited our symbolic systems, leading to Baudrillard’s third order of simulacra, and becomes the hyper-signification of the consumption signs within the public sphere. We could find in Dr. Poposki’s Translating Hong Kong a bombardment of signs and an implosion of meaning in the postmodern world by reducing all articulate discourse to a digital dimension in which all signs lose their original meaning and subside into his final photographic fascination. Photographic signs have become separated from their referents to such an extent that interactions with simulacra; ‘Translating Hong Kong’ in the end lead us from reality to a screen of mirrors where the Hong Kong people’s identity are lost and withered within the chiaroscuro of Poposki’s shades of red."
“In this new work [The Border], one has to consider a life – his – which is also a stand-in for countless others living outside the relative privilege and entitlement of “fortress Europe”. This is a significant shift in that Zoran is placing his lived experience right into the center of his artistic research and evincing a broad array of strategies and procedures that both reveal and subvert notions of selfhood/nationhood. The crushing banalities of an inflexible social system becomes fodder as he deconstructs it by revealing and recontextualizing his actual experience with obtaining a visa for his exhibition in Italy. Instead of capitulating to the deadening weight of this bureaucratic machinery, or biding his time and simply weathering his way through it, he takes it on and finds material drivers for the production of a critical, participatory creative process. From evocative, poetically oriented portraiture paintings (whether of a person or a time), Zoran is now becoming an inveterate explorer of new territories in thinking and (art) praxis for a postmodern world.”
“[Poposki] unleashes onto the canvas a gestural and abstract energy, tied to the evocation of color but also to the expressive techniques of the sign, in a multilayered construct out of which often emerge figurative forms, profiles that seem to be creating a sort of inner scenography. Still, in the creative stage it is exorcised through rational interventions, phrases, signs, thoughts, that the artist applies to the painting, provocatively, with the intent to demystify.
That results in a visible ambiguity that evokes in the spectator a conscious and intensive analysis of the word and the image, in a space which is emotionally engaging while at the same time problematic, unknown in a way, yet encouraging.”
ACADEMIC PEER REVIEWS
“The artist’s meta-approach and his visual language, through the utilization of a multitude of sign structures and media, constitute a very interesting reading of the current situation, which he describes as an “event”. The diversity of contexts, relations, meanings and the philosophical background of the work, as well as the way that these elements interconnect and interrelate, proposes a new way of reconstructing established models and modes of narration, leading to the emergence of something all-new and exciting. In conclusion, I believe that my colleague’s both artistic and research work is rather stimulating and it has many potentials for further exploration and experimentation.” (Review of Utopia, 2020)
“Pink: Psyche and Cupid’s Kiss is an accomplished painting which displays originality and has received a recommendation from a distinguished jury in the competition Premio Combat Prize 2020. It was selected from 1,402 submissions.
The artist’s research question How can classical myth be reinterpreted in contemporary painting? is relevant to contemporary painting discourse and his writing about the history and processes involved in producing the artwork displays a good deal of critical reflection and originality.” (Review of Pink, 2020)
“Because PINK is not only in the artwork but also sets the tone for the title, colour is more than just the medium; it is also part of the subject. The artist references the Renaissance, but Pop art translates pink into a more aggressive flesh tone. This works creates a flimmering effect that reflects the hectic tempo of our times. The combination of multiple media and historic/mythological narratives place him in the tradition of artists such as Roy Liechtenstein and Robert Rauschenberg.” (Review of Pink, 2020)
"Dr. Zoran Poposki’s creative work assessment demonstrates international leadership, international excellence and international recognition... Dr. Poposki’s creative work is clearly a reference for other artists/professionals on an international level... His research has a key point of reference regarding the history of art on an international scale regarding the artist as subject matter. While his research is visually in reference to ‘monumental figures’, it is self-reflective and is an abstracted self portrait. Not that his research physically resembles the work of historically significant artists such as Joseph Beuys, Hannah Wilke, Vito Acconci or Cindy Sherman etc., I do believe there are significant and notable connections." (Review of Theoria, 2017)
"Dr. Poposki's work The Wrestler contributes to an important area of research for postmodern artists working in a diversity of disciplines: the relationship of traditional visual art practice (in his case drawing) with the accelerating proliferation of digital visual media across our global culture. In this respect the medium of the animated "glitch gif" has the interesting potential to become an intervention in, and critique of, the various ways in which information and entertainment is disseminated globally... This work is described as a digital echo of Eugene Delacroix’ mural Jacob Wrestling with an Angel. There are all sorts of interesting resonances to that echo. The uncertainty of Jacob is replayed through the fragmentation of the digital image; the stable wall on which Delacroix painted the two figures wrestling (who are far from stable) becomes a flashing and immaterial surface in the GIF; the colours of Delacroix turn acid in the GIF. Very interesting work." (Review of The Wrestler, 2016)
"Dr Zoran Poposki’s Hong Kong Atlas series of five works combine digital image overlays to startling effect. The broody, saturated world that Dr. Poposki depicts is composed of multiple photographs... By creating chromatically rich, translucent layers of various opacities, a ‘mixing’ of colour takes place not dissimilar to ink painting or multi-panel silkscreen prints. (...)The vertical format is akin to scroll painting in that the recession of space occurs as one looks from bottom to top. The density of image overlay recalls the screenprint paintings of Robert Rauschenberg. In amongst the depiction of architecture, signage, electric wire, streetlights and other urban imagery from Hong Kong, there are emblems, designs and logos of businesses suggesting a global theme. The tone shifts slightly with “Hong Kong Atlas 4”, where more earthy tones replace the saturated reds, greens and blues of the other four works. In this work, what seems to be the hull of boat is placed travelling sidelong along the bottom portion of the print, a reference to Hong Kong’s important waterways as a port city. The density of images built up in successive layers creates dark, abstracted zones where it is difficult to make out the imagery. This revealing and obscuring of the image is a dominant theme throughout the series, giving a somber effect to the works and an air of mystery and even foreboding." (Review of Hong Kong Atlas, 2016)
"Zoran Poposki’s multimedia artworks capture the high energy of Asia’s internationalist urban centres, such as in Hong Kong. Haptic surfaces and dynamic spatial compositions exploiting the luminescent, translucent qualities of digital media, are deployed to infer temporal narrative content and site specificity derived from Poposki’s field research of the text based depictions of Hong Kong in Kai-cheung Dung’s novel, Atlas: the Archeology of an Imaginary City. (...)Poposki’s experimental oeuvre, with its provenance in Pop Art collage, expands upon Robert Rauschenberg’s collages, and places Poposki’s contribution to visual arts research using digital media technologies experimentally." (Review of Hong Kong Atlas, 2016)
"The multi-media picture Crisis displays the word itself as if stenciled in crayola colours against thin layers of yellows, green and gray paint dripping and soaking into the canvas. Above both are two geometric systems: a three-dimensional universally recognized mathematical figure (a tetrahedron?) and a two-dimensional representation of perhaps the same figure, flattened down like a web across the canvas. This is an intensely thought-provoking work, as it asks the viewer to make sense of cheerful colours used to convey a concept that we typically associate with violence within a compositional structure that does and doesn't make sense, one that confines the eye and expands beyond the canvas at the same time. This is exciting work, and I am happy it has found a place in the Imago Mundi collection." (Review of Crisis, 2015)
"Overall, the ingenious apparitions represented in the Hauntology series reveal colorful images, abstract representations in which figurative characters are observed, and which convey information that is necessary to understand the penetrating details of the work.
At first sight, we observe captivating and chaotic paintings with a lot of information which needs to be analyzed in order to interpret the surreal and reflexive subject matter. On the one hand, the title is key to understanding the ironic and satirical vision of the apparition or adoration depicted. It puts us in the perfect situation to rethink our history and evolution with a touch of humor. Which makes us call into question what would have happened if Hegel had actually appeared in a vision of Hildegard von Bingen? Would something have changed? Would we know? If we deepen our thoughts, we will be reflexioning about the paradigm of our current culture. On the other hand, as a viewer the fact of - may be - discovering new names will make them curious about the renowned personalities.
In addition it is very interesting to discover the difference of the paintings in terms of technique and style. The first three paintings have a colored background and there are almost none blank spaces. But, the paintings are easy to visualize and analyze. In contrast, the other three paintings are painted with delicate traits and have more content to consider. Also, the background is not painted and the foundation is white. The quantity of information is higher, in terms of depictions, and is a pleasure to figure out the meaning of every detail."