TICA – Tirana Institute of Contemporary Art and ZETA Gallery proudly present:
An exhibition project resulting from the two month long research of the TICA A.I.R. participants
Ledia Kostandini, Marlene Hausegger and Enkelejd Zonja.
Wednesday, November 10, at 6.00 pm, at ZETA Gallery, Hekla Center, Rr. Abdyl Frasheri, pall 31, A/4, 2nd floor (above Euromax)
Enabled through the generous support of FAVA - Foundation for Visual Arts, and Austrian Embassy in Tirana
Rewind/Play/Forward came as a reflection on today’s situation in Albania, but as the title itself suggests, it also it signals the first attempts to deal with and relate to our recent historical past, with a clear focus on the present developments of Albanian politics and society, considered from a global/local dynamic. The exhibition signals a new shift in the sensitivity of the young generation of Albanian artists that seem to be moving away from the fascination with visible changes in the physical landscape of the city, towards a deeper need for understanding of the past/present dichotomy.
Ledia Kostandini has developed a new series of paintings to be included in an installation setting. In Building our country, Kostandini’s subject is the moving image as carrier and diffuser of ideologies and propaganda. In a playful way she juxtaposes black and white images of characters from the propaganda films during communist period in Albania with colorful backgrounds of Hollywood films or images borrowed from the incessant flow of local media. Each painting contains also a soundtrack, consisting of bits of audio pertaining to the films or the news chronicles from which the images have been borrowed. By installing all the audio players in the same place the viewer is challenged to identify the image/audio combination as well as conceive of his/her own reading of the works. The installation problematises the role of images in a media dominated society, hinting on the similarities of their use for propagandistic or ideological ends, either from the former communist nomenclature, or from today’s neoliberal free market, and profit driven corrupted governments.
Marlene Hausegger came to Tirana at the moment when the good news of the liberalization of the visa regime for Albanians took central stage. Witnessing an overwhelming reaction, but also a political rhetorical hysteria, Hausegger decided to develop a research in relation to this phenomenon. She created a questionnaire and approached people in the street, asking them simple questions, like: - where would they like to go; - for what reason would they like to go there; - and what they think of the place they want to go to. Thus she tried to collect people’s perceptions about places that constituted their individual or collective fantasies and dreams. We encounter these in a number of hand drawn portraits in a free pop style, with the answers of the portrayed people also included in the drawings, giving them a poster-like but also intimate character. The installation is completed by two other interventions: a constantly spinning LP, that instead of the disc carries colorful letters made in ceramics, composing the sentence NO MORE VISA; and a number of installations she created as interventions in different spaces in the city, inspired by the answers of the interviewees, shown as a slide show aside the drawings.
Enkelejd Zonja has created two new works during the residency period. The sneezing of the red is a long series of very subtle drawings. Reflecting on his childhood and the figure of the communist pioneer, Zonja recreates new stories and narratives in which the little pioneer is taken through experiences and events that happen to him. By using only A4 size papers for the drawings, Zonja brings the minuscule pioneer forward in actual time, only for him to find that not much has changed: schools, teachers and pupils today are misused and violated by the political hierarchy exactly in the same manner as it was in the old days; In his other work, the installation, EULOPA, Zonja constructs a playful and ironic environment consisting of a bathtub, painted and varnished in fake gold, and a battery powered flying plastic bird that loops in the air above the tub. The work refers to naive perceptions of “Europe”, as the forbidden/promised land that lies somewhere across the sea. The golden tub could be a utopian vessel to cross that sea (like the illegal dinghies that take people to Italy), but stands in also for the imagined prize to be claimed, once on the other side. The irony becomes sharper with the stupid plastic bird, a surrogate for the image of the white dove – the misused symbol of world peace. Zonja’s bird could very well be a carnivorous bird waiting to feed on the spoils of those inside the tub.
TICA A.I.R. program is the only program of its kind in Albania, operating since 2007. For more info check: www.tica-albania.org