press to exit project space


The project is taking place in the Skopje City Park from Wednesday (October 1st) until Sunday (October 5th), 2008, every day from 12:00 – 17:00 o’clock except for Saturday (October 4th) when Jeanne van Heeswijk will have a talk that will be broadcasted live on the radio station “Channel 103”. 

“Public Faculty no. 1” by prominent Dutch artist Jeanne van Heeswijk is a special commissioned public project in the framework of the Visiting Curatorial Initiative programme of press to exit project space.

This work questions the function of public space in a contemporary city and the notion of the increasing regulations and limitations that imply a disabled form of social interaction.

In her statement van Heeswijk states: “As we see more and more people being left out of what is often perceived as a clinical understanding of public domain, we often seem to forget that public domain is not evident. It is a source of conflict between residents, developers and government. In the centre of these processes, and especially those where in the city life twists, cultural interventions are often the only manner in which we can actively create a public domain. Therefore, what needs to be done is to create an understanding of a given place and its dynamics and identify certain questions capable of creating a ‘performative action’.”

“Public Faculty no. 1” will take place on the recognizable “Shkolka” (Shell) Stage in the Skopje City Park during 5 days in October from the 1st until the 5th each day from 12:00 -17:00 o’clock. During the designated hours, lessons, discussions and workshops will be staged. All the activities will be open to the public and will help define the local notions of “publicness”, its presence or non-presence in local, regional and wider European context, and its identity as a site for action and conflict. “Shkolka” (Shell) Stage will function as a “white board” where each day a new specific theme will be discussed and lectured about.

“Public Faculty no. 1” makes historical reference to Joseph Beuys’ seminal work Richtkräfte (Directive forces) that includes an installation of 100 blackboards created from public discussions held at the Institute for Contemporary Art, London between 1974 -1977. Using Steiner’s concept of ‘thought drawings’ Beuys used chalk on blackboard to communicate to his audience the basic principles of his theory of ‘social sculpture’ – freedom, direct democracy and sustainable economic forms – clearly reflecting the influence Steiner had on him. Just as Steiner taught his philosophy by drawing diagrams in chalk on sheets of black paper pinned to the wall at the Goetheanum in Dornach, Switzerland (1919-1924), Beuys used a blackboard to illustrate his “anthropologic construct” for a better world.

The schedule and activities for “Public Faculty no. 1” will be determined each and every day as the project progresses. The artist wants to involve everyone that would like to participate in the process of disseminating knowledge. As in the case of Beuys, she will be guiding the discussion and inviting active public participation. The topics will be focused on the following issues: the security and safety of the public space, the cleanness of the public space, the commercialisation /privatisation of the public space, who is using/inhabiting the public space etc.

Jeanne van Heeswijkis one of the most recognized contemporary Dutch artists whose work has provoked heated discussions among public audiences and recipients as well as art critics and institutions. Her highly acclaimed practice generates inter spaces, contexts and crossovers within which new relations and connections can be established between groups of people, institutions and conceptual frameworks that are always different.She herself has coined the term “urban curating” for her interventions. In regard to van Heeswijk’s art, curator Mirijam Westenhas famously noted: “In the sedate Dutch art world in which all taboos appear to have been broken, her work – uniquely – arouses fierce controversy. Often, this is linked to the question of whether her interventions belong to the realm of art and how she stretches and shapes her art practice / artistic strategy and positions her seemingly idealistic approach in an era which considers itself liberated from both ideology and idealism.” Her most recent exhibitions include the 7th Shangai Biennial (2008) and the 11th Venice Architectural Biennial (2008).

“Public Faculty no. 1” by Jeanne van Heeswijk is supported by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Skopje.

press to exit would like to thank the Public Activities Department at City of Skopje for the kind permission to stage the project “Public Faculty no. 1” in the Skopje City Park.

press to exit project space focuses on instigating and producing collaborations with artists, curators and theorists from Macedonia and abroad. The program includes the Visiting Curatorial Initiative, New Projects Productions and the Lectures, Presentations and Exhibitions series. press to exit project space is supported by the Swiss Cultural Programme in the Western Balkans, and other institutions and foundations.