The Institute of Contemporary Art in Tirana (TICA), in collaboration with ZETA Contemporary Art Center (supported by Land Steiermark – A9 Culture, Europe, Außenbeziehungen) present the closing exhibition of the artists’ residency program during fall (2019). Over a two-month period, participating artists: Peter Kutin, Pleurad Xhafa and Sandra Wollner conducted their artistic research, the progress and some conclusions of the research are presented at the AIRLAB fall 2019 exhibition on October 25th – November 2nd, 2019.
The work (video installation) of the Austrian artists focuses around the National Theatre building in Tirana. At the heart of their work lies the contrast between the meaning of the word theatre (place to see) and what (does not) happens in the NT in Tirana. The stage and hall are empty, electricity is lacking, dust and darkness prevail, and performances have stopped. Instead of producing (sounds), staging events, it has become a silent building as matters related to it, mainly take place outside it.
Sandra Wollner and Peter Kutin collaborated on this work with a group of cultural activists (Alliance for Theatre Protection) closely associated with the theatre, as a building and institution. A pair of split lips (representing Euridice), performed on the stage of the National Theatre of Tirana, softly narrate verses of the play “Orpheus and Eurydice” by writer Margaret Atwood. Her voice echoes in the emptiness of the theatre space as the generator noises join in from the outside (the latter works to bring electricity to the silent theatre). Euridic’s monologue ends with the closing sentence: “You could not believe I was more than your echo.”
The “largest sculpture ever made in Albania” was recently registered at the National Centre for the Inventory of Cultural Property at the Ministry of Culture. This work, created by artist Pleurad Xhafa, is in itself a sketch of a symmetrical cube, formed by the perspectives of two points on the horizon. The artist has managed to determine the volume of this cube by calculating the amount of cannabis sativa, seized during the last four years (2015-2019) in Albania, data which were put at his disposal, unofficially, by the authorities (via WhatsApp) and only after his (artist’s) persistence.
The exhibition aims to bring to light contemporary events related to various and important issues of social interest. It is rich in selected means, but from the content point of view it has a deep vertical spread.
* Peter Kutin works with sound across genres. For the composition Desert Bloom, a cooperation with the German composer and pioneer of sound-art Christina Kubisch & his long-time collaborator Florian Kindlinger, the trio received the Karl Szucka award in 2016. In 2019 his kinetic instrument Torso received the golden Nica at the Ars-electronica festival. He performed at Festivals such as LUFF, 2daysArt, Cafe Oto, Donaufestival, Donaueschinger Musiktage, Darmstädter Musikferienkurse, Impulstanz, Heart-of-Noise, Konfrontationen Nickelsdorf, Unlimited Wels, Transart Bozen, Elevate, SAT Montreal, Tsonami Chile, Sonoscopia Porto, IZLOG Zagreb, Control Club Bucharest, Destroy Vancouver, FNC Montreal, among the other.
* Pleurad Xhafa (born in 1984 in Lushnjë). He studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bologna (Accademia di Belle Arti di Bologna). In 2014, Xhafa was the recipient of the “Ardhja” prize, organized by the Tirana Institute for Contemporary Art. His work has been shown internationally in many film festivals and group exhibitions, including: Alternative Film/Video Festival (Belgrade, 2018); Les Rencontres Internationales (Paris/Berlin, 2015-16), Teatri i Gjelbërimit (Galeria FAB, Tirana, 2016), Shame on you (Celje, 2015), 6th Berlin Biennial (2010), 4th Tirana Biennial (2009), Çmimi “Onufri” XIV (GKA, Tirana, 2008). Xhafa is one of the founders of Debatik Center of Contemporary Art.
* Sandra Wollner (born 1983 in Styria, Austria). 2012 she started to study directing at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg. “The impossible picture”, her third year project about a Viennese family in the 1950s, was her first feature film, winning multiple awards across the globe, most notably the German Film Critics Association Award 2018 the “Förderpreis für Filmkunst” by the National Gallery 2017, the Ingmar Bergman International Debut Award in Gothenburg, Sweden. Her second feature “The trouble with being born” is in post production.