Abstracts for Krasnogruda 16/2004

Mersad Berberg’s painting studio

Presentation of paintings by the Sarajevo-based painter Mersad Berber. His works have been presented at numerous exhibitions all over the world.

It is a well-known fact that Berber’s paintings stem from the (un)imagined model, but also from that “something” which is inter-motivic, intra-mental, intuitively invented, and which comes from reality transformed into a more durable sign and signification. This is how he builds his world of humanistic fascination, with the revealed idyll, romanticism reminiscent of the Paradise on Earth, and suffering – quite earthly, corporeally painful, distressful, hellish. (…) They are portraits of people suffering an eternal and unending torment, the people chosen to live in fear, and also the people who are innocent, for they are innocent only if the Power that be decides so, otherwise they are guilty – and held responsible not only for themselves but also for all the offenders.

Milcho Manchevski’s film studio

Milcho Manchevski is regarded as one of the most unique film creators. This Macedonian artist – director of over 50 films, documentaries and videos won 30 awards at numerous international film festivals for the film Before the Rain (1994), which is regarded as his masterpiece. The Golden Lions of the Venice Biennale in 1994 and a nomination for the Academy Awards were included in the list of his achievements. Manchevski is the author of a poetry collection entitled The Ghost of My Mother and a photography album entitled Street. He was awarded the highest peace award by the authorities of the Republic of Macedonia.
Manchevski says that making feature films is easier for him than producing short films or plays, as telling stories comes naturally to him. In Before the Rain he utilised three simple, known for centuries, stories which consider unfulfilled love, impossible to be solved dilemmas and return home. Funny things take place only when those patterns are applied to ordinary people and when the factor of time is taken into account. He thinks that it is the same as with putting together well known elements, which enables being original.
In Krasnogruda we are presenting the articles dealing with Before the Rain and a report from the set of Dust.

BASHKIM SHEHU: The anatomy of a dictator’s library

In January of 2002 an unusual exhibition took place in Barcelona. ‘Tirania’ was planned as a metaphor of the Albanian dictatorship. One of the parts, entitled ‘Uncaptived Mind’, was a kind of library imitating the structure of the human condition according to Freud (superego, ego, id).

SHKELZEN MALIQI: On the other side

The essay portrays the creative activity of modern Kosovian painters, whose works were presented at a shared exhibition in Prishtina.

Fine arts in Kosovo have been preserved from the great experiments and changes that have taken place in the world’s art. They also do not have a long tradition – there have been two pioneering generations of modern artists dominated by the self-happy, non-conflicting academism.

ANDRZEJ KOWALCZYK: The reporter of the former Grand Duchy of Lithuania

Jozef Mackiewicz (1902-1985) was one of most famous and, at the same time, most neglected of the Polish writers who fiercely fought communism. He was the first Pole to see the graves in Katyn. We present two of his borderland reports presenting a little Jewish settlement and Polesie, from 1938.


Glebokie is a village in Beskid Niski (South-East Poland) inhabited by people of Russian and Polish origin. The real main characters of the story are Granny Z., Granny Y., Mr. Karol and the Punk. The author of the story, a young Polish lawyer-journalist, visited those characters in their houses. Out of their comments he built a microcosm ‘at the end of the world’, inhabited by realistic, though unusual, characters: the ‘philosopher’, who desecrated a temple, the Baptists who believe that a priest is not necessary to communicate with God, or Granny Y, who has been devoting a part of her poor pension to support the construction works of the basisilica in Lichen.

JOVICA ACIN: Enchanted Bruno Schulz

Bruno Schulz was born into a Polish speaking Jewish family in the area of pre-war Drohobych (now Ukraine). He was a writer and painter whose fantastic lyrical creative output was close to the aesthetics of a dream. The prose of Schulz can be defined as modernistic-expressionistic, which marked the period of the decline of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy (represented by F. Kafka, R.M. Rilke, or R. Musil). Relating to the existing myths, symbols and the subconscious, he used grotesque and irony. The output of Schulz inspired many Central-European artists: writers, theatre creators, painters and sculptors. The text created by Acin is yet another oniric fantasy.


The author, a research worker of the University of Opole has been researching the nationalities and the languages of the Mid-Eastern Europe and Asia. The presented text is an attempt at an analysis of the phenomenon of power in the Mid-Asian republics, especially Tadjikistan.


The fact of existence of dinosaurs was for the main character of the text a proof for that God does not exist. In the peak moment of his scientific and party carrier Bekzoda returns to his village in the mountains and … changes:

For the last time, as father and son, wearing the same clothes – high boots, pyjamas and scarf tied jackets – they went out together to look at the slope of the mountain, which rose up, far above the village. But Bekzoda was bareheaded – he had never learnt to properly tie a turban. From that time on, whenever he returned back home, he instantly took of the city-soviet clothing and got dressed in the same manner as everybody else in the village. The clothing did not seem funny to him anymore, only sensible. In the severe climate of the Pamir peaks the traditional clothing not only protected against loss of warmth, but it was also comfortable. The paths there do not run horizontally, as it takes place in the lowland, but they go through steep passes and lead over dangerous precipices, to suddenly go almost directly down, over a shaky bridge outstretching over a raging river flowing about one hundred meters below. Your life depends on whether you can dodge a falling rock or grasp a little tree when you lose the ground under your feet.

WOJCIECH ALBINSKI: 198 notes from the expedition to Tien-szan mountains

Is it possible to leave behind the ambitions ‘from below’, the literary works that are etched in your memory, the games, and friendly, dead items? Or maybe each journey is just a circle? The original, reflective record of a journey around the mountains of Kazakhstan is, in the first place, an invitation to look inside.

“The tree, the noble thought is that there are still songs to be sung away from the people.” When we were going down, I saw the first tree. It struck me how much I had missed them. How familiar something must be from the moment of birth not to notice it and suddenly admire for superiority, silence and peculiarity after a short period of its absence. Trees, just like scream, yet another poetic thesis.


The author – a musician, an expert in traditional music, takes us for a journey across the land of Islam music, looking also successful for some of the Polish music works. The author is especially fascinated by Karol Szymanowski, a famous Polish composer living in the turn of the XIX and XX century.

MILETA PRODANOVIC: Stories from Ohrid and Prilep

It is a collection of a few literary miniatures showing various details of the Macedonian landscape. Sometimes those are street scales, or a sealed bottle with a miniature presenting the crucifixion of Christ inside left in an Orthodox church, or a block of marble.


“They have always been present in my mind as the three aunts: Naca, Menka and Ditka. All three of them – women with the traits of sacredness and purity. Little as forks, pale like wheat flour: they brought about the Greek figures from the framed photographs, that, being so old, have turned back into the negatives.
Those are lyrical memories recalled from the memory of the living in Skopie writer, essayist, screenwriter and rock music lyric writer.”

GYORGY KONRAD: What drives of Ryszard Kapuscinski

Ryszard Kapuscinski was born in 1932 in Pinsk in former Polesie (today – Belarus) and is the most outstanding Polish reporter. He speaks of himself as an interpreter from one culture into another. He is constantly on the search for people being harmed out of the result of historical events and political mistakes. Kapuscinski is extremely skilful at synthesising the experiences collected over his years-taking journeys, especially around the Third World countries:

I have never been on vacation or travelled as a tourist. My journeys, however, usually take a few months. They are very hard and dangerous in the countries deprived of communication. Then I usually lose 10-12 kilograms of my weight. My next book (showing the picture of the great non-European civilisations, namely Islam, Hinduism, and Christianity in the light of the XXI century) requires taking up three journeys. I have already visited the Near East. This year I am planning to leave for Asia and Latin America.

Published 9 June 2004
Original in English

Contributed by Krasnogruda © Krasnogruda Eurozine


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