All my experience as a poet teaches me that real poetry comes from the awareness of that hidden mystery that essential and ultimately insoluble meaning of life, the delving into that order of things found buried deep under the chaos of the visible forms. Poetry lays a challenge to travel into the unknown, the uncertain, it is the key that opens the doors of a miraculous world that once entered can bring us closer, that can explain and render more acceptable the essential issues of the time we live in, of the time where life as it is, exists and endures. Consequently, poetry is not, nor it can be just a pure or esthetic phenomenon, rather it constitutes a concrete active relation and an ethical attitude towards the important life problems, so concurrently poetry is also a conscience and consciousness integrated into an esthetic whole.
Aco Shopov. „Poetry lays a challenge to travel into the unknown“ [conversation with Todor Chalovski]
In: Културен живот, 4-5/1982, 41-43.
The pictorial act, i.e. the image understood as an aspect of the creative reception of a work of art, is a testament to the eternal thread of dialogue that weaves between the visual and other types of arts. In the case of the graphic book Not-Being, created by Zharko Ivanov, Ivan Ivanovski, Vladimir Lukash and Krste Gospodinovski based on a selection from the poetry of Aco Shopov, the visual transformation of the lyrical mobilizes several intersemiotic positions that break down the essential relationship between the verbal and the visual as a fusion between poetry (the text) and the image (the illustration/drawing/animation), thereby re-examining the ancient definition of poetry as “a picture that speaks” and the determination of painting as “poetry that is silent”.
If seen as transmedial and syncretic creation, the emergence of the graphic book Not-Being can be explained from the the point of view of a successive process that had started with the visual design of the omnibus of animated films and was completed with this eponymous production. Both intermedial workss derive their common creative premise from Aco Shopov’s work, recognizing it as a narrative that lends itself to the reshaping of the referential lyrical conventions utilizing a variety of visual and animation techniques. In other words, both the graphic book omnibus and the animated film omnibus Not-Being constitute a creative act guided by vision, by sensibility and by a strong curiosity about the position of poetry in an era where the visual dominantes. The artists’ curiosity is materialized, first of all, through the selection and identification of the expressed lyrical subject, which is then transposed into a visual narrative which ultimately found its home in the medium of the animated film. This way, the variety of manners in which the expressiveness of the lyrical poem is treated allow them to achieve the necessary distance for dual interpretation. This is carried out both through the identification of the lyrical subject in Shopov’s poetry, as well as through a new and original codification first in the medium of the animated film, and then in this graphic book.
The fire is here, beneath these mad waters,
The symbolic and metaphorical reshaping of the poem “Long Coming of the Fire” in Zharko Ivanov’s animated film directs its attention to the phenomenology of inspiration as a fluid and suggestive unveiling of the mythic mysterious face of fire. The fragmentation of the question of existence as a metaphysical phenomenon is conceived in this endeavor using a monochrome drawing technique that juxtaposes white figuration on a black background and is animated in a traditional 2D technique. The choice of the circular form as the dominant visual form in Ivanov’s animation underlies the striving for perfection, while at the same time confirming it as a continuation of one of the primordial messages of spirituality that aligns close to that dark Heraclitean radicalism: The world is an innocent play of fire that builds and destroys throughout time. The fire, that in Heraclitus irradiates as an eternal principle, measure, foundation, and which in Shopov’s poetry shimmers as a cyclical transforamtion of the spirit, i.e. of inspiration, finds its reflection in this animated film in the form of expression of the personal experience of longing to be born, to be created and to infuse beauty as opposed to the longing and striving of mortal nature to become eternal and immortal.
As you dig beneath you, it will appear above you
and place a death’s head upon your shoulder.
The fire will carry you blinded through secret realms,
and where or who or what you are, you will not ask yourself.
It is here, in this root, in this silence which shines,
and yet its own light it never will sense.
It hangs with every dead body on every tree.
This is us, this is you, this is me.
And if it seems in such form like a voice fading out,
it will call to you again from a distant height.
This happened in a single night,
the true and untrue,
like an ancient story
buried deep in one’s consciousness.