At the FAB Gallery, during January 17th-30th, 2019, Maks Velo (architect, painter, writer, researcher and activist) comes with his personal exhibition “Fshati primitiv ndriçohet nga meteorë” (“Primitive Village Illuminated by Meteors”) whose curator is Mikel Temo. At the entrance of the gallery, the exhibition welcomes with the statue of a couple. There is little individual identification in it. According to the artist, mostly, it generalizes the Mediterranean duo, which is presented in an elegant, subtle, but stately manner.
The colours and movements enable the impossible in Maks Velo’s artistic dreaming. They shape various events that, having left traces in memory, are absorbed and processed in time, under the influence of other indicators, only to reproduce from time to time in one way or another. There is no lack of colours on serious topics such as the jail, as evidenced of a philosophical point of view, the result of the experience of man hurting man, now enlightened by the wisdom time brings. Part of his artistic language is also the golden colour of Bible icons, rooted deep in memory from childhood contemplation.
The flowing movement, present on the paintings of this exhibition, seems to touch the memories of any time and spiritual or moral state, to bring a series of topics inspired from the traces left in memory from the acrobatic circus performances and those of carnivals of Korça; by experiencing lack of freedom; from a nude female, which occupies an important place in the exhibition. The nude of Maks Velo is nakedly peaceful; it is not characterized by thinness but is generally sensitive. One of his nudes is accompanied by the author himself, a composition which the author regards as the first of its kind in Albanian visual art.
The theme of the portrait has received its attention in the exhibition. What is remarkable is “The Girl without Eyes”, one of the paintings burned by the dictatorial regime, which the author has brought to life, thanks to a photograph. Included are the artistic experience of St. Bartholomew’s (festive and massacre) events; the artist’s sensitivity over the relationship between nature and man, harmony, and the war that flourishes from time to time between the two.
In Maks Velo’s the painting it is not important to clarify the features, but the situation he intends to transmit. Mostly, the centre of his attention (the artist s) is not the individual, but the society, which greatly influences his (individual) formation and ability to counteract it, at the same time seeing him (the man) as a cause and victim of his own destiny , predetermined, but self-created. The impression is that in the artistic experience of Maks Velo, society is seen as a combination between a living organism on the one hand and a more complex being on the other hand, which is an inextricable complication for human society.
* Max Velo was born of Albanian parents in 1935 in Paris. After returning home to his origin, in Korça, he was educated for then to graduate in 1957 at the Faculty of Engineering at UT. He then goes on to exercise his profession by creating different buildings (schools, cinemas, hotels and parks in Tirana). He was sentenced in 1978 to 10 years imprisonment (Spaç) and forced labour, after being accused for modernist tendencies in his projects. By Court order 246 of his works were burned, catalogues and books were confiscated. Maks Velo has opened 40 exhibitions in Albania, France, Poland, USA etc. Today he lives and creates in Tirana, being present at every social event.