Manifesta purposely strives to keep its distance from what are often seen as the dominant centres of artistic production, instead seeking fresh and fertile terrain for the mapping of a new cultural topography.

Natasha Nedelkova, MK

“The self is not a project or an object but a mask.” With this assertion, Natasha Nedelkova embarks upon a poetic-philosophical reflection on transitional identity and subjectivity – and the many layers of masks that seem to form them. The masks she depicts in her video essay are sometimes thin and reptilian, sometimes clinical or beast-like.

They don’t seem to fit or adhere well to the face that lies beneath them. Whether the face is that of the speaker – a person born into a post-Yugoslavian transitional society – or that of her hometown Skopje – a once modernist city now masked by neo-classical façades with nationalist aspirations – the sentiment is the same.

An identity built upon cumbersome distortions and clumsy concealments is inevitably fraught – however necessary masks might sometimes be, and however much transformative potential they might appear to offer.