Kunstraum Innsbruck

Petrit Halilaj

17 Sep - 05 Nov 2011

17 September - 5 November, 2011

Petrit Halilaj's artistic oeuvre is rooted in the artist's memories of his childhood in Kosovo, which he mentally arranges inside a utopian room. Halilaj builds an archaic world, whose whimsical and grotesque elements are owed rather to the progress of human civilisation than to tradition, e.g. when he presents a house made from plywood slabs, a chicken coop turned rocket, or several cubic metres of soil.

The archaic, as it were, intransigently protrudes into the world of the present, as a system with its own logic and its own laws. Which amounts neither to a form of nostalgia and romanticism nor does it constitute a document of migration. The result − objets trouvés and places displaced, metamorphosed − are not so much metaphorical moments, as with Joseph Beuys or Arte Povera, as signals from sub-conscious areas that take the form of an image or sculpture.

The series of sculptures entitled "Can we do something together, just this and then free forever" and the outdoor installation "Because it is for you my Dear, and the Sky doesn't see you and we can fall. Yes I am doing it for you, to see if you are free too" insist on the theme of time, memory and reminiscing.

The "Because it is for you my Dear and the Sky doesn't see you and we can fall. Yes I am doing it for you, to see if you are free too" is composed of a big iron structure mounted on the roof of the building and visible from the inside only through the four windows in the ceiling. The big structure is constantly turning anti-clockwise, thus symbolizing time going backwards. The big painting portrays a sky, changing from night to day in a constant loop.

The series of sculptures titled "Can we do something together, just this and then free forever " represents five threes, cut in half and loosing their precious content (colour pigments). The three here also is meant as a symbol of time and a testimony of knowledge and memory, now broken and showing all its precious content.

The whole project is an attempt to look back in time and re-discover the lost moments and broken situations hidden by our memory. In a very intimate sense, as is often the case with Halilaj's approach, the exhibition is dedicated to the artist's private sphere, his family in particular, with whom he shared his childhood, his first understanding of things, and also the tragic moments of the war in Kosovo. The exhibition aims to open up a possibility back in the past, to reflect more on the things left behind and go straight to our personal, private, intimate and embarrassing history. “I want to go back to the point, I want to go on.”

Petrit Halilaj was born in Scenderaj, Kosovo, in 1986. At the age of thirteen, he fled with his family to Albania where his talent as a draughtsman was spotted in a refugee camp. Later he was able to study art at the Brera Academy in Milan and to find a second home in Italy. With the project "They Are Lucky to Be Bourgeois Hens" (three versions of which were shown in Istanbul, Berlin and Pristina), his participation in the Berlinbiennale with house and chickens, as well as his slide show installation "Cleopatra" at the New Museum in New York he has made a name for himself. Today, Halilaj lives and works in Pristina, Bozzolo (Mantova) and Berlin.

The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue/artist book published in cooperation with the Chert Gallery, Berlin.

Tags: Joseph Beuys, Petrit Halilaj