From the 4th to the 13th of November, 2019, Zeta Gallery opened the exhibition with the works of the 2019 finalists of “Ardhje” Award: Blerta Hoçia, Endri Dani, Elian Stefa and Matilda Odobashi.


Artist Blerta Hoçia was presented with an installation, entitled “A i kujtohem unë vetes?” (Do I Remember Myself). This work comes as a result of her experience with photography and photographic archives, focusing (in this case) on large crowds during electoral meetings from which, the artist takes portraits of different people, presenting them separately and creating the impression that these portraits belong to another time, place, state from which they are taken. Because the portraits are printed on flat, translucent surfaces, and placed vertically perpendicular to the wall, they allow their images to fuse with one another. Through this work Blerta Hoçia draws attention to the repression of power as an all-time phenomenon in which the crowd, unconsciously, plays the role assigned to them by politics.

Meanwhile, the work of artist Endri Dani (winner of the 2019 “Ardhje” award) focuses on human relationships with nature, exploring this from the collaboration with several (22) farmers. The installation presented by him in the exhibition is contained in 22 laboratory glass plaques, positioned horizontally perpendicular to the wall, each of them with soil obtained from daily hand washes from the farmers after the end of their farming duties, before returning home. This layer of soil, which forms the fourth layer (for a set time) above the three layers of skin, also bears the name of his artistic work, “Shtresa e katërt” (The Fourth Layer).

Elian Stefa is represented in the exhibition with a video installation, consisting of two screens, facing up (on the wall) and down (on the floor). Setting the screens in this way creates the imagination of a moment experienced by the author, sailing on a motorboat towards the island of Sazan. “Kuajt e bardhë” (White horses), is the title of Elian Stefa’s work, which according to Greek mythology, are formed of sea foam under the power of the god Poseidon. Also, according to other cultures, the symbol of the white horse is a bad omen and in the work of Elian Stefa serves as a warning of the danger posed to the island of Sazan by developmental policies regarding the space in question.

Matilda Odobashi is presented with a series of drawings which stand on the wall unframed, uninterrupted from each other and attached, forming a right angle with the wall, there’s also an installation standing (plastic surface). The drawings in themselves carry the effort of the research into human relations. On the other hand, hanging plastic curtains forms a multi-layer, though fragile, barrier. What stands out in both of Matilda Odobashi’s works is the feature of blur, prompting us to discover the invisible layer (the context) within them.

According to the jury, the artists had clearly established aesthetic and conceptual parameters for the respective practices and posed valuable questions about life and art, but especially in terms of articulation clarity, Endri Dani has proved a deepening in the history of art through the chosen subject and the way it turns into the raw material for the work, to address issues related to globalization, such as that of relations between man and nature.

The 2019 “Ardhje” award is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Albania, The Trust for Mutual Understanding – New York, YVVA – The Young Visual Artists Awards and Residency Unlimited – New York.

* Blerta Hoçia was born in Tirana in 1984. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence (2003 – 2008). Today she lives and works in Tirana and Pristina. She is one of the co-founders of the “Miza” gallery (Tirana). Her works are featured in: Dokufest (Prizren, 2019); National Gallery of Kosovo (Prishtina, 2018); Zeta Center (Tirana, 2016); Art Gallery (Shkodra, 2015); Tornieli Museum, Ameno (Novara, 2015); Magma Gallery (Florence, 2013); “Miza” Gallery (Tirana, 2013); The Pächterhaus Center (Kreuzberg Berlin, 2013). Hoçia has been a curator at various art exhibitions and events at home and abroad.

* Endri Dani was born in Shkodra in 1987. He studied at the University of the Arts in Tirana (2006-2010), where he lives and works. He is one of the co-founders of the “Miza” gallery (Tirana). His works have been featured in the “Kochi-Muziris”biennale  (India, 2016); the “Fin del Mundo” biennale (Argentina, 2015); Marrakech Biennale (Marrakech, 2014), or in various museums, such as: The Israel Museum (Jerusalem, 2019); Georges Pompidou Center (Paris, 2016); MuCEM (Marseille, 2016); Museum of Contemporary Art – Ludwig Museum (Budapest, 2016); Pino Pascali Foundation (Italy, 2015) and National Gallery of Arts (Tirana).

* Elian Stefa was born in Vlora in 1985. He studied at the Polytechnic University of Milan (2003 – 2009) and now lives in Tirana and Vlora. He is the founder of an independent space dedicated to contemporary art, the “Galeria e Bregdetit” (The Coastal Gallery), in Radhima (Vlora). His works are featured in: Arup Phase2 Gallery (London, 2011); Kunst Raum Riehen (Bazel, 2012); Brick Culture Center (Tirana, 2015); LimeWharf (London, 2017); Galeria e Bregdetit (Vlora, 2019), or in various museums, such as: Museum of Culture (Helsinki, 2010); MAO (Ljubljana, 2019) or in various biennials, such as: EXD’11 Biennale Experiment (Lisbon, 2011); the 13th edition of the Architecture Biennale (Venice, 2012); 1st edition of the Design Biennale (Istanbul, 2012); Culturescapes Balkan Edition 2013 (Bazel, 2013); the 14th edition of the Architecture Biennale (Venice, 2014). Stefa has been a curator at various art events at home and abroad.

* Matilda Odobashi was born in Tirana in 1988. She studied at the University of the Arts in Tirana (2006 – 2010), where she lives and works. She has been a member of the Lakanian Circle in Tirana since 2012. She has worked as a deputy professor at the University of the Arts (2012 – 2015). Odobashi’s works are featured at: Muslim Mulliqi Award, National Gallery of Kosovo (Prishtina, 2018); Size Matters (Vienna, 2018); Traklhaus auf der Festung (Salzburg, 2016); Zeta Center (Tirana); FLUC (Vienna, 2017); Sammulung der National Kunstgalerie und Zietgenossische Kunstler (Düsseldorf, 2015); Center for Contemporary Art – Tirana Art Lab (Tirana), or in various museums, such as: Museum of Contemporary Art – Ludwig Museum (Budapest, 2016); National Gallery of Arts (Tirana) etc.