Albanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
Albanian Trilogy: A Series of Devious Stratagems
9 May–22 November 2015
Curator: Marco Scotini
Albanian Trilogy represents for Lulaj the conclusion of many years of research into the Cold War period in Albania, specifically on the themes of collective memory and historical experience. The first work in this series is the film It Wears as It Grows (2011). The second work in the trilogy is the well-known project NEVER (2012), which has been widely exhibited internationally. The third work, Recapitulation (2015), will be produced especially for the Bienniale.
Lulaj’s and Scotini’s project was selected through an open call for proposals by an international jury chaired by Boris Groys and including Kathrin Rhomberg, Adrian Paci, Albert Heta, and a representative of the Ministry of Culture. The jury, whose decision was unanimous, motivated their selection as follows:
“With Albanian Trilogy: A Series of Devious Stratagems, Armando Lulaj pursues the investigation of available readings of Albanian history from the Cold War to the present day by reintroducing once highly representative and politically charged images and narratives still ingrained in the people’s visual memory, in a way that goes far beyond a subjective questioning of one nation’s history to forcefully account for a general analysis of the ruins and failures of modernity.
Lulaj’s ability to create connections and contexts that are not obvious but at the same time persuasive, the visual appeal of the works themselves as well as the installation, which manages to be both playful and monumental at the same time—a rare achievement, ensure that Albanian Trilogy: A Series of Devious Stratagems will be able to engage a wider public, apart from those who are interested in and informed about Albanian history.”
Armando Lulaj (b. 1980) lives and works in Tirana. He is a playwright and creator of writings and videos on danger areas and conflict images. Among his most important solo exhibitions: UNTITLED, Galleria Cavour, Bologna (2014); Fiend, National Theatre, Tirana (2013); Cold Wind 2, Art Fair Bologna (2013), Cold Wind, Volta8, Basel (2012); No More Feelings, Paolo Maria Deanesi Gallery, Rovereto (2012); No Mercy, Artra Gallery, Milano (2011); Silent Soziale Corruption, Lothringer13 and Städtische Kunsthalle München (2010). He has participated in many international exhibitions, including Lost in Landscape, MART Museum, Rovereto (2014); The Empty Pedestal, Museo Civico Archeologico. Bologna (2014); Utopian Days, Total Museum of Contemporary Art, South Korea (2014); 63rd Berlinale Film Festival, Berlin (2013); 6th Berlin Biennial (2010); 8th Baltic Biennale of Contemporary Art, Szczecin, Poland (2009); 4th Gothenburg Biennial (2007); Albanian Pavilion, 52nd Venice Biennale (2007); Tirana Biennial (2005); and Prague Biennial (2003 & 2007).
Marco Scotini is Director of the Department of Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies at NABA in Milan. He is Editor-in-Chief of the magazine No Order: Art in a Post-Fordist Society (Archive Books, Berlin) and Director of the Gianni Colombo Archive (Milan).He has been recently appointed as Artistic Director of PAV, Turin.
His writings can be found in periodicals such as Moscow Art Magazine, Springerin, Flash Art, Domus, Manifesta Journal, Kaleidoscope, Brumaria, Chto Delat?/What is to be done?, Open!, South as a State of Mind, and Alfabeta. He is the editor of a book dedicated to film, documentary and archive, Politics of Memory (Rome: DeriveApprodi, 2014; Archive Books, 2015). His most recent exhibitions include Da Capo: Deimantas Narkevicius, MSU, Zagreb (2015); the ongoing project Disobedience Archive: Berlin, Mexico DF, Eindhoven, Karlsruhe, Nottingham, Bucharest, Riga, Zagreb, Atlanta, Boston, Umea, Copenhagen, Turin, Madrid, Istanbul (2005–14); Vegetation as a Political Agent, PAV, Turin (2014); The Empty Pedestal: Ghosts from Eastern Europe, Archeological Museum, Bologna (2014); A History of Irritated Material, with Lars Bang Larsen, Raven Row, London (2010) and Gianni Colombo, co-curated with Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, Castello di Rivoli, Turin (2009). He has curated more than 100 solo shows and retrospective exhibitions of artists from Eastern Europe, Latin America and Middle East and collaborates with Armando Lulaj since 2001.
Image: Armando Lulaj, It Wears as It Grows, 2011. Original Cachalot skeleton as displayed at the former Natural History Museum in Tirana. © Armando Lulaj.