Designers & Creators Directory
Birthplace: Kavadarci, North Macedonia
Date born: March 9th, 1940
Date of death: April 2nd, 2016
Education: Academy of Fine Arts, Belgrade (graduated 1965)
Born in Kavadarci, North Macedonia (in what was then the Kingdom of Yugoslavia) in 1940, Gligor Čemerski was one of the most notable contemporary Macedonian artists. Čemerski's visual art took form in drawing, painting, graphic, sculpture and mosaic.
Čemerski obtained his artistic education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade, which he has graduated in 1965, and from there proceeded to get a post-graduate Masters of Painting degree. After receiving a scholarship from the French government, Čemerski lived and exhibited in Paris from 1969 until 1970, with Paris remaining an occasional residence throughout his creative and academic years. In recent years, he was one of the permanent painters of the Galerie du Fleuve in Paris. Apart from France, his ambition for artistic development was evident in the training across Egypt, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and the USA. Čemerski’s first exhibition was "Kretanja u Suvremenoj Jugoslavenskoj Likovnoj Umjetnosti" (“Trends in Contemporary Yugoslav Fine Arts”) at The Museum of Modern Art in Dubrovnik, Croatia in 1974, while his most recent exhibition was Members of Manu – Visual Artists at Art Gallery of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo in 2019. Most of the 70 exhibitions that Čemerski put on through his life took place in Macedonia, but he also put on many abroad (USA, Czech Republic). The most important shows were 42nd World Gallery of Drawing – Skopje 2014 at Osten Biennial of Drawing in Skopje in 2014, Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje in Skopje and Gallery MC in New York City, NY. Apart from his artistic accomplishments, Čemerski was a recognized art theorist and philosopher. In 2012, He was admitted as a member to the Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts (MANU) in 2013, and, a year later, Čemerski was inaugurated as an honorary member of the Russian Academy of Arts in Moscow. Čemerski passed away at the age of 76 on April 2nd, 2016 in Skopje.
[written by Laura Ikonomov Kovačević]
Photo 1: A 1982 painting by Čemerski [source]
Photo 2: A 1985 painting by Čemerski [source]
His artistic style is mainly inspired by expressionism and autochthonous iconography. Throughout Čemerski's career, in addition to creating well over 100 paintings, he made numerous large scale murals in both paint and mosaic tile for both memorial applications as well as for public art. His most well known tile mosaic is the monument Sloboda (“Freedom”) in Kočani, North Macedonia (1981) while one of his most notable public art installations is the Topla zemlja (“Warm land”) at Stopanska Banka AD in Skopje, Macedonia (1971). The Sloboda mosaic at Kočani spreads out across 335 sq m of wall space (one of the largest in the country) and tells the story of the struggle of the Macedonian people from the Ilinden Uprising all the way to the People's Liberation Struggle. In addition to painting and monument design, Čemerski also engaged in theatrical scenography, costume and stage set design. Čemerski continued making artistic works and installations well past the end of the Yugoslav-era and up to his final years. Among his most significant post-Yugoslav contemporary works was the creation of a pair of large-scale mosaics at the ceremonial hall of the Macedonian Presidential Residence which were unveiled during a ceremony in 2009, with the works named "Macedonia - Bright Country" and "Macedonia Remembers". In the years after Čemerski's passing in 2016, his daughter Elena has done much work in writing about and promoting her father's artistic legacy. She published a book on the cultural history of the Freedom Monument at Kočani in 2019.
Photo 3: A Yugoslav-era photo showing Čemerski painting in his studio [source]
When it comes to the achievements in painting, according to Skopje art curator and historian Zlatko Teodosievski, Čemerski's later works demonstrate one of the few aesthetic examples of the post-war painting in Macedonia. Furthermore, a 2007 article by Blesok makes the following statements in regards to Čemerski's artistic legacy: "The work of Gligor Čemerski is objectively unique, unprecedented in our country. Although strictly expressional in its surface layer, his art seems to 'stay away' from too narrow standardized determinants of the typical art divisions to 'expressionism', 'surrealism', 'symbolism' etc. The artists of Čemerski’s kind, by rule, can be clearly recognized outside the stereotypes, in broader philosophical/cultural dimensions. In such a broad context, his art can be accentuated as precursor of the postmodernism in our country today, and Čemerski as an 'artist who has been carrying on the alphabet of the postmodernism in his genes for many years before it 'appeared' on the European scene'".
Works by this Designer:
This is a listing of a number of memorials, monuments, public art and other notable Yugoslav-era civic works by Gligor Čemerski. Those sites listed in the upper part of this section have profile pages, while those listed in the lower part do not yet have completed profile pages. This list is not exhaustive and will be added to over time.
Works with profile pages:
Click photos to go to page
Name: Monument to Freedom
Year: completed 1977
Name: The Tikveš Dancers
Year: completed 1977
Name: Birth of Culture
Year: completed 1976
Name: Man & Light
Year: completed 1975
Name: Letters & Messages
Year: completed 1981
Year: completed 1977
Works without profile pages:
Name: "Warm Earth" at Stopanska Banka
Year: completed 1971
Location: 41°59'45.0"N, 21°26'00.5"E
Staro Bačilo, MK
Name: Monument to Fallen Fighters
Year: completed 1977
Location: 41°38'27.8"N, 20°43'59.1"E
Selected Sources and More Information:
-Macedonian Academy of Arts & Sciences article: "IN MEMORIAM: Aкад. Глигор Чемерски (1940 – 2016)"
-Blesok article: "The new and (un)known Čemerski"
-Zlatko Teodosievski blog: "GLIGOR ČEMERSKI'S PAINTING"
-Publicitet article: "Галерија „Букефал“ - Глигор Чемерски се колнеше само во сликарството"
-Politika article: "IN memoriam: Gligor Čemerski (1940–2016)"