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Jonas Staal’s ‘Propaganda Station’ to open at MoCA on March 1

Skopje, 27 February 2024 (MIA) – Exploring how art and culture are involved in the dominant forms of contemporary propaganda and the possibilities for counterpropaganda through emancipatory grassroots and liberatio_nMovements, Dutch visual artist Jonas Staal’s “Propaganda Station” exhibit will open at the Museum of Contemporary Art on March 1 at 8 pm, organizers said in a press release.

Staal, known for his artistic research into the ways art, propaganda, and democracy are related, will attend the opening. The installation is based on more than a decade of his research into propaganda and counterpropaganda, organizers said.

The art show was curated by Ivana Vaseva. It examines the work of propagandists who influence people’s everyday lives, including propaganda models such as Ultranationalist Propaganda, Alt-Right Propaganda, Liberal Propaganda, Financialization Propaganda, Empire Propaganda, Climate Propaganda, and Geological Propaganda.

This is Staal’s first solo exhibition in North Macedonia. It was organized by the Faculty of Things That Can’t Be Learned in collaboration with the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje as part of the international project “Islands of Kinship: A Collective Manual for Sustainable and Inclusive Art Institutions.”

As part of the exhibition, on March 2 at noon, Vaseva and Staal will run a workshop on propaganda, titled “Propaganda School: Antiquization Propaganda – from Skopje 2014 to Skopje as European Capital of Culture 2028.” Admission is free.

“Through presentations of several theoreticians, activists, artists and journalists from North Macedonia, this program will offer interventionist contributions in the legal, media, semiotic, social and artistic aspects of the project erected in the ‘captured state’ and try to ponder of its future existence facing the preparations and production of the capital project Skopje – European Capital of Culture 2028,” organizers said.

“This grandiose and controversial project, Skopje 2014, is still dwelling in the city center, reminding us how the propaganda machinery occupies the everyday, strengthening the national sentiments and traditional values through baroquization and antiquization of the city center,” organizers added, noting that the aim of the workshop was “to gain a precise definition on the work of antiquization propaganda, and explore models of counterpropaganda, or even emancipatory propaganda, to reclaim public space.”

In 2021, Staal donated to MoCA his installation “New Unions” (2016-2019), which had been exhibited as part of the group show “All that We Have in Common.” It will be on display again as part of the “Acquisitions, Donations 2022-2023” exhibition curated by Iva Dimovski later this year.

Jonas Staal (b. 1981, Zwolle) is the founder of the artistic and political organization New World Summit. His Exhibition projects include “Art of the Stateless State” at Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, in 2015; “After Europe” at State of Concept, Athens, Greece, in 2016; “The Scottish-European Parliament” at CCA, Glasgow, UK, in 2018; and “Museum as Parliament” at Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Netherlands, 2018.

His projects have been exhibited at international venues including the V&A in London, Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, M_HKA in Antwerp and Moderna Museet in Stockholm as well as the biennales of Berlin in 2012, São Paulo in 2014 and Taipei in 2020. He is also the author of the book “Propaganda Art in the 21st Century” (2019). He won Prix de Rome Visual Arts award in 2023.