Curator Kathrin Rhomberg selected Petrit Halilaj to represent Kosovo at the 55th Venice Biennial 2013.

Petrit Halilaj
Kosovo Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale of Art

  • Curator: Kathrin Rhomberg
  • Commissioner: Erzen Shkololli
  • Organization: Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports 
of the Republic of Kosovo, National Gallery of Kosovo

“Being invited to contribute to the realisation of Kosovo’s first appearance at the Venice Biennale is a great privilege for me, all the more so, due to the symbolic significance attached to the decision that Kosovo be represented at the Venice Biennale for the very first time. The invitation comes with a high degree of responsibility, which I would have been more anxious about, were it not for the artist Petrit Halilaj, who has been chosen to represent Kosovo in Venice this year.

Petrit Halilaj’s artistic practice is deeply rooted in a constant search of what reality is and how reality might be represented through art. His memories of a rural childhood, his personal experience of war, destruction, exodus and displacement are the very basis of his reflections on life and the human condition. The artist moves back and forth between different countries, between Kosovo, where he grew up and where his family and many friends are; Italy, where he studied; and Berlin, where he temporarily lives. This transnational way of life not only adds to his experience but is also representative of Petrit Halilaj’s specific way of exploring art and reality, and of his continuing attempts to translate or even transform the one into the other.

His art can be seen as building bridges between different worlds and realities, ideologies, different generations and phases of life.

Petrit Halilaj’s art is unique, but this kind of transnational existence and experience that is at the core of his work, is not. On the contrary, to a varying extent it is an increasingly contemporary reality of everyone’s life and thus all the more radical, a starting point for Kosovo’s first appearance at the Venice Biennale.
—Kathrin Rhomberg

Petrit Halilaj was born in 1986 in Kostërrc (Kosovo). He lives and works between Kosovo, Berlin and Bozzolo, Italy. Recent solo exhibitions include Who does the earth belong to while painting the wind?!, Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, St. Gallen (2012); Art Basel Statements with Chert, Berlin (2011); Kunstraum Innsbruck, Innsbruck (2011); Back to the Future, Stacion, Prishtina (2009); and Petrit Halilaj solo exhibition, Chert, Berlin (2009).

Recent group exhibitions include SUPER Visions – Zeichnen und Sein, Museum Schloss Moyland (2013); New Public, Museion, Bolzano (2012); 30 Künstler 30 Räume, Kunstverein Nürnberg, Albrecht Dürer Gesellschaft (2012); Temoraneao, Nomas Foundation, Rome (2011); Ernste Tiere, Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn (2011); Ostalgia, New Museum, New York (2011); STRUKTUR & ORGANISMUS, Marillenhof – DestillerieKausl, Österreich (2011); Maladresses ou La Figure de l’idiot, the Institute of Social Hypocrisy, Paris (2010); Based in Berlin, Atelierhaus Monbijoupark, Berlin (2011); and 6th Berlin Biennale for Contemporary Art, Berlin (2010). Upcoming solo exhibitions are in program at Wiels, Brussels (2013); National Gallery of Kosovo (2013); and Museum Fridericianum, Kassel (2014).

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