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Natasha Nedelkova

Erecting Tenderness


A speculative iconological research Erecting Tenderness (2021) reassembles images to highlight links between the fake-news industry in the city of Veles, North Macedonia, the Slavic divinity of Veles (Volos) and its visual resemblance with the self-proclaimed shaman Jason, one of the most visible figures in the attack on the Washington Capitol in January 2021.

Natasha Nedelkova, Erecting Tenderness, 2021. Courtesy of the artist.
The ex-Yugoslav city of Titov Veles first became famous after it was classified by WHO as the world's most polluted city, due to its toxic zinc and lead factory located in the city centre. The toxic environment, with a cheap and stable internet connection and a high unemployment rate, drove a group of young people to create hundreds of fake news sites, contribute to the creation of radicalized far-right groups like QAnon and eventually influence the US elections in 2016 in support of Donald Trump. This occurrence granted Veles a new identity as the World Capital of Fake News.

Images from recent documentary videos depict the smelter, while fragments from three Macedonian films capture the dark and suffocating atmosphere of the city and try to draw a parallel between the environmental and media pollutions. Mass circulation of information in the digital age creates a large and unstable archive where all horizons change; the new environment is, among other things, a huge machine for creating collective hallucinations, fake news and propaganda. This virtual reality enables new connections; the pollution in Veles causes processes of toxic paranoid subjective interpretations on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Erecting Tenderness points to the struggles and resistances of the insignificant, the small and the ordinary that can take place in circulation systems of images and information that knit the World Wide Web.

Natasha Nedelkova, Erecting Tenderness, 2021. Courtesy of the artist.

Natasha Nedelkova (1993) is a visual artist and researcher. Her artistic projects contrast the digital allure of realism, resemblance, immateriality, totality and converge with the pleasures and complexities of computational, algorithmic and ludic digital culture. By using narration as a tool to reframe and fragment ideas, she aims to grasp and reconfigure social and political transitions. She obtained a bachelor’s degree at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Skopje and a master’s degree in Film Studies at École Normale Supérieure de Lyon. She also earned a degree from École Universitaire de Recherche ArTeC in their Artistic Research Program in 2020. Her first solo exhibition Performing the Impersonal / Manifesting the Speculum opened in May 2022 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje. She exhibited her works in numerous galleries and festivals, such as Manifesta 14 in Priština (2022), École Universitaire de Recherche ArTeC in Paris (2021), 13h International Biennial of Young Artists in Museum of Contemporary Art in Skopje (2021), Gallery Miroslav Kraljević GMK in Zagreb (2020) and Zeta Contemporary Art Center in Tirana (2020). She was one of the three award-winning artists for Most Successful Artist and Work of Art at the 13th International Biennial of Young Artists in Skopje. 



Etc. is an annual magazine, dedicated to showcasing current artistic production from the Baltic to the Balkans.
Based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, each issue is dedicated to a relevant topic in art and life. Founded to promote emerging artists, its goal is to initiate a dialogue, inspire collaborations, and challenge set views.