A reflection on Albanian social history, a single narrative corpus articulated over three distinct moments: Albanian Trilogy is a sort of time capsule of the past, with strange memorabilia and trophies which presents, contemporaneously, fiction and documentary material.

Albanian Pavilion at 56th Venice Biennale

Armando Lulaj
Albanian Trilogy: A Series of Devious Stratagems

9 May–22 November 2015

Preview: 6–8 May
Opening and press conference: 6 May, 4:30pm

Pavilion of Albania

Combining evocation and documentation, the project concentrates on a historic-political phase that was extremely important for the building of an identity that was not just Albanian but international. On display are three videos and archival materials, as well as an enormous whale’s skeleton, which is both protagonist and silent witness—an incarnation of the giant-Leviathan, the Hobbesian principle of sovereignty.

For Armando Lulaj (b. 1980, Tirana) Albanian Trilogy represents the conclusion of many years of research into the period of the Cold War in Albania and, in particular, on the relative themes of collective memory and historic experience, brought together in a film trilogy in which three mythical fetishes symbolize sea, air and land.

The first work in this series is It Wears as It Grows (2011), the second piece of the trilogy is the well-known project NEVER (2012), while the third video, Recapitulation (2015) was created specifically for the 2015 Venice Biennale. Lulaj’s work plays, above all, on the lapses in history: as the curator, Marco Scotini, states: “it reveals a friable terrain where one expects to find potent and unmovable representations.”

In Albanian Trilogy, Lulaj’s artistic research into the specters of socialism and Scotini’s curatorial research on the politics of memory arrive at an important common result.

The publication, in the form of a historical atlas, published by Sternberg Press and designed by Dallas (dallasdallas.xyz), is seen as an extension of the exhibition and includes contributions by Boris Groys, Hou Hanru, Armando Lulaj, Elidor Mëhilli, Edi Muka and Jonida Gashi, edited by Marco Scotini.

Armando Lulaj (b. 1980, Tirana) lives and works in Tirana. He has participated at the 6th Berlin Biennial (2010); 8th Baltic Biennale of Contemporary Art, Szczecin (2009); 4th Gothenburg Biennial(2007); Albanian Pavilion, 52nd Venice Biennale (2007); Tirana Biennial (2005) and the Prague Biennial(2003 and 2007). His personal exhibitions amongst others are: Fiend (with John Tilbury) National Theatre, Tirana (2013); Silent Soziale Corruption, Lothringer13 and Städtische Kunsthalle München (2010).


Marco Scotini, is Director of the Department of Visual Arts and Curatorial Studies of NABA in Milan, Editor in chief of the magazine No Order: Art in a Post-Fordist Society published by Archive Books (Berlin), Director of the Gianni Colombo Archive (Milan), Artistic Director of the PAV and Curator of Piero Gilardi Foundation in Turin. Amongst the latest exhibitions he has curated are: Da Capo: Deimantas Narkevicius, MSU, Zagreb (2015); Too early Too late. Middle-East and Modernity, Pinacoteca Nazionale, Bologna (2015); the Disobedience Archive (The Park), Salt, Istanbul (2014); Vegetation as a Political Agent, PAV, Turin (2014).

Image: Courtesy Albanian Pavilion.

Read more about Venice Biennale