MIYAKO YOSHINAGA art prospects is pleased to present Five Drops of Dream, the first United States solo exhibition by renowned film director, Milcho Manchevski. The exhibition, featuring his photography work originally taken between 1999 and 2010, is on view from June 7 through July 14, 2012, with an opening reception on Thursday, June 7, from 6pm to 8pm. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm.
Milcho Manchevski's first film, Before the Rain (1994) was described by Time magazine as "eerily
beautiful" and "stunning," by Janet Maslin of the New York Times as "sophisticated [and] overwhelming vision," by Roger Ebert as "[a] brilliant directorial debut. Work like this is what keeps me going. A reminder of the nobility that film can attain," by Gene Siskel as "brilliant," by Boston Globe as "bold, hard-hitting, grandly arched, yet intimate and immediate," by the Chicago Tribune as "stunning... work of a filmmaker alive and inventive in every shot he takes." The Washington Post says: "It literally thunders with emotional power." The Toronto Sun: "A profound musing on humanity." The Miami Herald: "Stunning. The sort of remarkable debut that reinstalls faith in the movies' viability as genuine art. Director Milcho Manchevski has made a debut so astonishingly assured in writing and technique he is guaranteed a footnote in movie history even if he never makes another movie. "
After the success of Before the Rain (the film won an Academy-Award nomination and thirty awards, most importantly Golden Lion for Best Film in Venice, while the New York Times included it in its list of "1,000 Best Films Ever Made"), Manchevski traveled to five continents, relentlessly taking pictures, as the focus of his creative endeavors shifted to photography. His street photography (influenced by the American masters Evans, Frank and Winogrand, as well as Cartier-Bresson) is refracted through the conceptualist experience of the 60s and 70s, and leavened by a healthy dose of humor. Yet, he doesn't limit himself to any particular genre: nudes, portraits and still-lifes all make appearance. From prosaic moments of everyday life, he creates compositions of sinewy elegance, bridging the gulf between the modern and the old-fashioned, the raw and the sophisticated with a distinctively earthy and warm view of humanity and its underlying social issues.
For Five Drops of Dream, Manchevski has employed a rigorous process of selection, and - more
importantly - has combined the selected images into compact compositions of five, assembling 491 groups he calls strings. Each image in each string is chosen to reflect a formal and a narrative moment; and - most significantly - to work with and against the other four photographs in the group to create a unified piece - a string. The photographs within each string interact on several levels (narrative, formal, contextual, objective), contrasting and complementing each other. The result is a lush collection of small, compact units with a vibrant inner dynamic.
Manchevski renders, in his own words, "the explosion of the visual in the mundane moment" and "the wrestle and embrace of the narrative and formal." "These photographs live only when they are together and when they form strings. Like notes in a song."
In a 2010 exhibition essay, Zoran Petrovski, the curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Macedonia, explained the magic of Five Drops of Dream thus: "Manchevski uses the entire frame of the photograph to bring equal presence and importance to the seemingly peripheral - at first glance imperceptible - details, which he often additionally emphasizes by means of unusual, askew, crooked or lowered angles of the shot. By means of such dynamic treatment of the composition, Manchevski makes room for his own subjective interpretation of the motiff."
The viewers of Five Drops of Dream sense this deliberately widening focus and ambiguity in each of the five images, which leads to them inventing their own stories by filling the gaps using their own imagination.
Milcho Manchevski was born in Macedonia (then part of Yugoslavia). After receiving his degree at the Department of Cinema and Photography, Southern Illinois University, he wrote and directed the feature films Before the Rain (1994), Dust (2001), Shadows (2007) and Mothers (2010), 50 short forms, including Tennessee for Arrested Development (1991) and 1.73, and directed on HBO's The Wire. His films were distributed theatrically, on video and on TV in over 50 countries, and have close to 300 festival screenings.
Mothers will screen at the Pratt Institute's Manhattan campus on June 4. Manchevski's films are part of the curricula at numerous universities worldwide; the University of Leipzig(Germany) and the European University Institute in Florence (Italy) hosted academic conferences dedicated
to his films. He has lectured at a number of universities, cinematheques, art museums and art institutes, most notably as a Head of the Directing Studies at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts' Graduate Film program. His fiction, essays and op-ed pieces have appeared in New American Writing, La Repubblica, Corriere Della Sera, Sineast, The Guardian, Suddeutsche Zeitung and Pravda. He has authored a (very small) book of fiction, The Ghost of My Mother (1985-2000) and an (even smaller) essay-book Truth and Fiction: Notes on (Exceptional) Faith in Art (Punctum Books, 2012). Manchevski's two books of photographs, Street (1999) and Five Drops of Dream (2011), accompany the two photo exhibitions.
Five Drops of Dream is the subject of the currently traveling solo exhibition at the Museum of
Contemporary art in Macedonia (2011), the National Gallery in Bulgaria (2012), the Museum of
Contemporary art in Novi Sad (2011) and Kuturni Centar Beograda, Serbia (2012). It is is also included in the fifth edition of GRID Photo Biennial, Amsterdam, (2012) from this May to July. Between 1999 and 2006, his solo show Street was seen in France, Italy, Sweden, Slovenia, Croatia, Dominican Republic, Greece and Macedonia. Manchevski has staged post-conceptual performance art with the group 1AM (which he founded) and by himself.
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