Zeta Gallery comes with the 12th edition of the “Ardhje” 2020 award, with an exhibition where the finalists of this award are presented. The finalists are: Bib Frrokaj, Lori Lako, Floida Skraqi and Vangjush Vellahu. These four artists come with video installations that examine different and specific topics in terms of their assay. The jury consisted of: Christiane Kada, Leonard Qylafi and Francesca Altamura, who, during the opening ceremony of the exhibition on November 12, chose artist Lori Lako, with her work “Suspense” as the winner.
Lako’s installation includes a video and a rather large printed photographic image. In the video, what remains in abeyance is the industrial plant from the period of socialist realism. Along a cable car, one of the wagons stands waiting, caught in metal cables, loaded with limestone as if waiting to serve at the plant with dignity, but the moment the mechanisms stops, it has traversed a long way through the hills and it is already far away to see that its building has been abandoned. The printed image is the overlapping of two frozen moments of two different videos, thus, a view of a suspended wagon and a person near a modern-day lime factory, “smothered” in smoke from the still primitive way of burning. It still sounds like the engines are still running and cold stones are being thrown into the metal wagons. As communism caused this suspended state in Albania, after the collapse of the promised industrialization, the noise of crushed stones remains, although the buildings have long been abandoned.
Bib Frrokaj comes with a video film entitled “Pritja e gjatë” (The long wait); the artist appears as in a theatrical plastic etude, in relation to the object. He awaits barefoot, leaning on a stone block, rolling or lying on it, on its side, on a wide, endless abandoned airport road with concrete blocks along the entire runway. At the end of the video, after moving around his resting place, the artist hides lying behind the block, where one would be under the impression that behind each block there are other people, a whole society waiting for the green light of their canceled flight.
Floida Skraqi brings the video “Mundimi i Sizifit” (Sisyphus’ effort), where she abrades on a rather robust stone, round and slightly blue, with the tip of a knife or other strong metal tools. She begins to shape it with much effort. Each time she tries a different way and like the figurative meaning of the legend “Mundimi i Sizifit” (Sisyphus’ effort), she tries long and hard, but keeps rolling the stone without achieving anything. From the seemingly negligible abrasion, she manages to collect some dust in her hands which fall on the table during the segmentation process. She places this small mass on a mobile phone used as a scale, which does not show any numbers. All the exhausting work resulted in a little shaken powder, which is placed to measure its invaluable weight.
Vangjush Vellahu comes with the video installation “A tool of resistance”, divided into two screens, where in two different channels are shown events from the West Bank, between the Israeli and Palestinian people, a clash that seems to have no end. The unfair treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli army is at the heart of this video, a phenomenon which is somewhat known, but not enough, because of the strength and influence of the Israeli people in comparison to the Palestinian one. The documentary includes footage taken by the artist, as well as footage taken by the local group “Human Rights Defenders”, who by making these videos public have found another way of fighting back. The courage and risk they take create an undeniable value for such documentaries, which address these topics closely, with the aim of raising awareness of fundamental human rights.
About the artists
Bib Frrokaj was born in Lezha in 1992. He attended the University “Luigj Gurakuqi” in Shkodra (2011-2014) and the University of Arts in Tirana (2014-2016). Frrokaj lives and works in his hometown. His works are exhibited in the following artistic spaces: National Museum of Photography Marubi, Shkodra (Albania, 2019-2020); FAB gallery, Tirana (Albania, 2019); Art Gallery (finalist of the “Idromeno” award, 5th edition, 2017), Shkodra (Albania); (“View on my Neighbor”), Gallery of the French Institute, Belgrade (Serbia) and Pertovic Krusovci Palace, Podgorica (Montenegro, 2017); World Biennial Exhibition of Student Photography (Serbia, 2015); (“Retro Time”), Art Gallery, Pogradec (Albania, 2015); “Bienalja e vizatimit” Ferizaj (Kosovo, 2016, 2014); “Ditët e kulturës”, Ferizaj (Kosovo, 2015).
Lori Lako was born in Pogradec in 1991 and lives and works in Italy. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence and studied in Munich (Akademie der Bildenden Künste) for her master degree. Her works are exhibited in the following artistic spaces: Museum of the Nine Hundred (Museo Novecento) Florence (Italy, 2020); Zeta Gallery, Tirana (Albania, 2020); Villa Reale, Monza, (Italy, 2019); Espace Témoin, Geneva (Switzerland, 2019); Lo schermo dell’Arte, Florence (Italy, 2019); Casa Testori, Milan (Italy, 2019); Manifattura Tabacchi, Florence (Italy, 2019); Terzopiano Arte Contemporanea, Luka / Lucca (Italy, 2019); Art House, Shkodra (Albania, 2019); Art Gallery, Shkodra (Albania, 2018); CENTRO PECCI, Prato (Italy, 2017) and Tirana Art Lab, Tirana (Albania, 2016).
Floida Skraqi was born in Lushnja in 1989 and lives and works in Italy. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Brera, Milan (Italy, 2015). Her works are exhibited in the following artistic spaces: Espace Moss, Brussels (Belgium, 2019); Macro Museum, Rome (Italy, 2019); Queer Film Festival, Brussels (Belgium, 2018); Cunst-link, Brussels (Belgium, 2018); Sofia Underground, International Performing Arts Festival, Sofia (Bulgaria, 2018); Millennium Iconoclast Museum of Art, Brussels (Belgium, 2018); CIAC Centro Italiano Arte Contemporanea, Folinjo / Foligno (Italy, 2017); 18th Mediterranean Biennial for Young Artists, Parallel Project, Tirana (Albania, 2017); Performance Festival, Fylkingen, Stockholm (Sweden, 2016); Giardini di Pietra, Parco delle Cursi, Leçe / Lecce (Italy, 2016); The 17th Mediterranean Biennial for Young Artists, Fabbrica del Vapore, Milan (Italy, 2015) and the Muzeu i Dëshmisë e Kujtesës, Shkodra (Albania, 2015).
Vangjush Vellahu was born in Pogradec in 1987 and lives and works in Pogradec and Berlin. He graduated from the National University of Arts in Bucharest (Romania), and completed his master degree at the University of Arts “Muthesius”, in Cologne (Germany, 2016). Vellahus works are exhibited in the following artistic spaces: Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka (Croatia, 2019); Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin (Germany, 2019); Uckuc Gallery, Ljubljana (Slovenia, 2019); Transit, Cluj (Romania, 2019); Hestia Art Residency &amp; Exhibitions Bureau, Belgrade (Serbia, 2018); Alert Studio, Bucharest (Romania, 2018); Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum of Contemporary Art, Berlin (Germany, 2018); Arthur Boskamp Stiftung, Hohenlockstedt (Germany, 2018); Museum of Contemporary Art, Acre (Italy, 2018); Onufri XXIII, National Gallery, Tirana (Albania, 2017); 18th Mediterranean Biennial for Young Artists, National Historical Museum, Tirana (Albania, 2017); National Gallery, Prague (Czech Republic, 2016); Fladernbunker Museum, Kiel (Germany, 2016); Victoria Art Center, Bucharest (Romania, 2016); Atelierhaus im Anscharpark-Haus 8, Kiel (Germany, 2016); Brunswiker Pavillion, Kiel (Germany, 2015) and Anscharpark-Haus 8, Kiel, (Germany, 2015).