The exhibition “Edi Hila, Painter of Transformation” at the National Art Gallery during May 24th – July 29th, 2018 is a joint project of the National Art Gallery in Tirana, the Warsaw Modern Art Museum and the Vienna Contact Collection . This is the first retrospective exhibition of painter Edi Hila in Albania. “Planting of trees”, a painting criticized as expressing Western aesthetic tendencies and lacks revolutionary optimism, is the opening painting of Edi Hila‘s exhibition.
The entire exhibition, which contains about 100 creations, is divided into series, among which we mention:
* “Threat”, even though includes lyrical themes like weddings or dusk panoramas, is pervaded everywhere by visible threads of threatening freedom or fear.
*”Relations”. From the name itself this series deals with the interaction between people whose milestones are the desire to approach oneanother and the doubt that arises from this interaction; unwanted distance and submission to social-political or emotional circumstances.
* “Penthouse” (Penthauz) is another series that reflects architectural transformations in fortresses, imaginary buildings, which seem to prove the need for protection as a result of uncertainty, though in a contemporary reality.
*The series “A tent on the roof of the car” is pervaded by obscurity and social problems.
*The triptych “People of the Future” and the “Black Fire” are the most intense paintings of the exhibition from the “Migration” series. Among the author’s concerns are the reasons for emigration, its continuity and most importantly, the consequences of emigration for Albania. For the author Edi Hila: “The drama of mass migration and the lack of clear strategies for solving this problem make it difficult to create a vision for a better future. … Democracy often becomes an obstacle to itself. ” (Curatorial Text)
*”Martyrs of the Nation Boulevard”,another important series. Lined through it are the institutions that represent influential powers in the journey of this country. A boulevard that has experienced marches during authoritarian regimes, as well as protests against these regimes.
*”Construction is a way to display power,” said Edi Hila in the curatorial text. While on the tableau he chooses the grotesque architectural forms to visualize the above idea in the “Third Mirror” series.
*The “Periphery” series reflects exactly a geographical area which shows the low living standards and intellect of Albanian society: lack of urban planning and aesthetic architectural tastes. The author himself in the curatorial text describes the sights “aggravated and primitive”.
*”Paradox”, a series that proves that it is not difficult to encounter this phenomenon in Albania . Perhaps as an indicator of survival …
– A list of series, not in painting, but graphite, drawings, sketches and aquarelles on paper titled: “Poultry”, “Propaganda”, “Village”, “The Dignity Of a Man” and “Southerns Sea” are creations belonging to different periods such as the re-education of the author in the working class environment. Not lacking in the exhibition are the lonely themes such as the self-portrait or the lyric themes that represent moments of intimacy or joy, certainly only a few in comparison to the great themes that represent the human and artistic concern for the Albanian society. If we can talk about the human side below oppressive regimes …
The exhibition was curated by: Joanna Mytkowska, Kathrin Rhomberg and Erzen Shkololli.
Architecture of the exhibition: Büro Meyer-Grohbrügge
* Edi Hila was born in Shkodra in 1944. He lives and works in Tirana. He graduated from the Tirana Art Institute. Worked as a scenograph at Albanian Radio Television. His parting from the socialist realism brought with it the punishment from the regime in question.