One of the two plot works was represented by an obelisk of books with an infinite shelf, which was positioned as a male phallic principle in the female part of the hamam. The obelisk, just as the infinite shelf (including the book cube) were modeled from donated books, thus creating the sculptural work from a non-traditional sculptural material. The author strives for multidisciplinarity, pushing the boundaries of classical figurative art form, implementing literature, expanding the circle of audiences and initiating collaboration between institutions of different profiles. This installation addresses the problem of education, knowledge, the protection of living libraries and their nurturing, the relation to the book and the power to “get into it” and “run” through the pages in order to experience it from within, both directly and indirectly, and of course somehow to escape reality. The work itself is characterized by monumentality, pronounced verticality, striving for height and penetrating boundaries and dogmas. This phallic form aims to fertilize with knowledge, wisdom and realization. The colorful mottle of the covers, the graphism of the variety of typographic solutions for the titles, the sub-contextual highlights of certain titles that can provoke, stimulate, alert, along with the colorful play of the wool in a variety of colors that completes, mostly, the obelisk top, create a condensed form, which has its own volume and mass, but despite having a solid physical and mental base, tends to “detach” from the ground.
The second key object of the “Infinity” project was the complex installation of wooden material, wool and yarn, which form a specific, warm, uterine-shaped networked installation, as a symbol of the female principle, positioned in the male part of the hamam. It was designed to invite the visitor to enter its very form, to offer him special and predetermined paths and directions of movement, in a shaping and formal sense, offering a spatially opposed linear transformation of the arabesque and the dome decorations. There is a centrally positioned object of wooden beams forming a networked composition in the form of an open circular conglomerate, which with its cobweb structure tends to rise to the dome. It defines the structure of the multilayer installation, i.e. the skeleton (uterus), which every visitor enters and feels unimportant before the monumentality, both mental and material, of the installation itself. On the walls there is a graphic-linear dense network (blood stream) of various colored woolen yarn, which besides their conceptual base, have a spatial intervention on the architecture of the hamam, i.e. graphic recreating of the stucco decorations that adorn the dome. The third element is the spacing of this graphical network and its connection to the base, that is, the uterus, while giving life, blood of the sculptural matter, which should animate and define the space to the fullest, offering a true sense of transconnectivity.
The space between these two key points in the Čifte Hamam was filled with Nikoloski’s other multimedia projects, some of which were also made specifically for the “Infinity” project, and some were re-enactments of his earlier projects that corresponded to the transition from one element to another, from traditionality to modernity, from locality to universality. An important element or medium, which was dominant in almost all the hamam halls, was the opiate odor of spices, with which Nikoloski “shaped” the space, creating a special dimension in the sculpture – the scent. Besides the scent, an important trump card for the spices, which are specific to certain eastern cultures, whose presence reminds of Britain and its diversity, is their intense color defining certain characteristic surfaces of the hamam (niches, pedestal sides, etc.). The spices defined the installations in the niches, then the installation with pedestals of different sizes, the upper surface of which was painted with spices and covered with “Speaking Table” – part of the project “The Skin of Prilep Environment”. “Overpainted” with spices are the many collages that make up the work “Hippocrates”, the drawings in “The Bachelor Room”, as well as “Self Portraits.” The conceptual background of the collages is varied, but generally it speaks about the absurdities of today’s age: the millions of athletes’ earnings, as opposed to the many poor people of the same race – the central “Hippocrates”; the problem of many bachelors from villages in ever-resettling Macedonia and the inability to find a wife; the aspect of “female” approach to the “elaboration” of collages with erotic content (the discursiveness of the male-female approach to the same issues); defragmentation or blurriness or defocus in presenting the multitude of faces of the self, etc.
As part of the project, Nikoloski also performs an installation – homage to Simeon Uzunovski with yarn and duct tape, as a tribute to the great Macedonian conceptual artist who passed away recently. This work, in the context of the artist to whom it is addressed, treats the aspect of the repetitiveness and playfulness of the procedure in the use of strips and duct tapes that define surfaces or shapes and forms.
Nikoloski recreates some of the tracing paper installations that were previously presented at Documenta in Sarajevo and the Blind Project in Reading, Britain, in which he works with both visual and tactile sensations in transmitting ideas. The tracing paper is milky white, but transparent, layered like curtains, creating a fluid partition that conceals but also increases the curiosity for the concealed.
Two more pieces round up the entirety of the “Infinite” project and include technical aids – TVs and videos, water – with its fluidity and reflectivity, glass and a mirror. One of the works was first exhibited in 1992 in the back crypt of St. George church in Bloomsbury, London (TV, glass set in front of it, and in front of the glass 40 transparent plastic bags filled with water). The second work, “SPACES XXXVIII ‘93” from 1993, was on display at the City Gallery in Leeds, produced by SA-TV from Scotland. It consists of a television hanging with the screen facing the ground and reflecting the video (successively changing newspaper clippings and images) on the water in a mirror box. Technology, variability, reflectivity, blinking, signal emission, volatility, combined in spatial installations, are one of the key discourses that these installations touch upon.
What has to be underlined about this project of Nikoloski is its multifacetedness and multidisciplinarity (art, education, sociology, library activity, ecology, culture, etc.), as well as the fact that it is not just a visual work that should cause exclusively and purely visual sensations, but a work that involves institutional communication and exchange of information, projects and collaborations; decentralized (since it includes cities and institutions that are not strictly centralist, such as the Marko Cepenkov Cultural Center, the Borka Taleski Prilep Library, the Bitola Library, the National and University Library, the National Gallery of North Macedonia), democratic work, which animates many individuals from different professional and social strata (handymen, students, experts in their fields, etc.) and many other levels of social utility of the work itself. This project aims to make the man perceiving it (the Macedonian) a citizen of the world.
Of course, the Prilep impact on this project should not be forgotten, due to the origins and roots of Petre Nikoloski, an area that has brought forth numerous prolific figurative artists, roots that cannot be bypassed and without which individual growth would not be possible, and this impact began with a previous, still open project “The Skin of Prilep Environment”, of which the work “Infinity” is a part.
And in conclusion, I would like to emphasize the individual contribution that Nikoloski incorporates into the work, relentlessly devoting himself to every segment of its production, even before the most complex physical-technical manipulations necessary to carry the idea to the end. His dedication and sacrifice, rare nowadays, are at a level where only a true artist, in the classical sense of the word, can feel and create, as a special privilege or curse onto which no one can force you. It is simply given to you. Respect!