Harabel Contemporary Art Platform had the pleasure to invite the public to the artistic performance “Le Souffle de l’Artiste” performed by The Two Gullivers (Flutura Preka and Besnik Haxhillari), curated by Ajola Xoxa. The public art took place at Reja, 25th of May 2019, starting at 00:00 and to be closed at 12:00 o’clock (midday) with a talk between artists and attendees.

Curatorial writing “HERE AND ELSEWHERE”

Flutura and Besnik Haxhillari (The Two Gullivers) are conscious and in peace with the idea that they live in the 21st century: clear that their work is integrated in a world that moves with the speed of digital information and technology, in a world that constantly redefines the body Inside this automatic world, they create psychological (and physical) spaces that generate specific tensions between them and their audience, a tension that is later transformed into a physical and intellectual stimuli of experiencing a world that hangs between what is real and what is imaginary, a journey in between reality and fiction, offering the viewer the possibility of finding himself here and elsewhere at the same time.

The title of the performance (”Le Souffle d l’Artiste”) recalls the work of Piero Manzoni (1960) with the same name, which only served as a start point muse for the Two Gullivers. Manzoni presents a conceptual art-piece (a series of red and blue balloons, attached to a piece of wood, a distinctive feature of Manzoni’s obsession with physical limits and a distinctive feature of the world obsession with permanence); while the Two Gullivers present a long duration performing act that lasts 12 hours, and that becomes an artistic event that expands the limits of just the art-piece.

The focus of the performance of the Two Gullivers is an ordinary object, a white balloon, yet so relational in a human life, bringing back memories of birthdays, weddings… The balloons are filled with the artist’s breath, then they fall to ground, in repetition for 12 hours, forming a colossal yet spontaneous sculpture,  at the same time fragile and delicate, that physically contains the artist’s breath, in an attempt to stop time, to give shape and define what is usually free and boundless. It is a refreshing metaphor, but at the same time a parody mocking world’s obsession with controlling the present. But the ending of the performance is an inevitable Memento Mori, that is reinforced by the twelve hours long performance, that goes from midnight, sunrise until midday, in an attempt of challenging the human body and its needs or desires.

The Two Gullivers are graceful strategists of connecting art and life, without any arrogance, and that is why the “Breath of the Artist” resembles a moment that hangs in time, like the perfect distance that the captain choses to anchor, nor in sea, nor in land; not here yet not there, here in the present but at the same time elsewhere.

About the artists

*Born in Albania, Flutura Preka and Besnik Haxhillari (The Two Gullivers), studied visual arts in Tirana, Lausanne, Berlin and Montreal (Masters and Doctorate at UQAM). Since 1998 they have been working as duo under the artist name The Two Gullivers. They presented their performative works at the Venice Biennale (1999), After The Wall, Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin (2000), at the Beijing Biennale (2005), at VIVA Art Action (2006, 2010) in Montreal, at the Leonard & Bina Ellen Gallery, Montreal (2013), at the National Museum of Fine Arts of Quebec (MNBAQ) (2016) and the Museum of Contemporary Arts of Montreal (MAC) in (2018). They were part of Installation Art in the New Millennium (2003), East Art Map (2006), Marina Abramovic: The Artist is Present (2010).

Besnik Haxhillari PhD, is a professor in the Department of Philosophy and Arts at Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR). He is interested in the process of creation and the genetics of the art of performance through preparatory drawing. Flutura Preka PhD, is an artist-researcher member of the URAV research group at UQTR. Her research focuses on re-enactment issues in performance and contemporary art.