Refugees leave their home, friends, relatives, often their entire family behind because, for whatever reason, they see no future for themselves where they are living. They leave for the unknown, for a foreign land, without their own language, without the community of family and friends. A drastic change of existence full of uncertainties begins.

Emigration, being lost in a foreign world, the loss of communities, the search for a new identity, and the yearning for what was lost and for those lost are central themes in the work of Albanian artist Adrian Paci. To express them, he creates strong iconic pictures, videos, and sculptures. In his early video installation Apparizione (2001), made shortly after his emigration from Albania in the late 1990s, he filmed his little daughter trying, in Italy, to sing an Albanian children’s song. In a second projection, opposite to the first one, we see the family that stayed behind in Albania trying, all together, to help her put together the verses of the song—at once simple and impressive. One of his best-known works, a key piece relating to the currently so topical and politically charged subject of migration, Centro di Permanenza Temporanea (2007), is a memorable, precise, and relatable depiction of the dilemma of being unwanted and the forlornness of those who go away.

At the Kunsthalle Krems, Adrian Paci will be showing works that particularly are about the loss of communities, for example, his new video piece Interregnum, in which he edited together file footage from the mourning services of the “great dictators” of the 20th century like Mao, Stalin, and others—an almost unimaginable document of that momentary acute human grief fueled primarily by a sense of loss of a long-existing community.

The exhibition is retrospective in character, covering a range from the early works of the 1990s all the way up to most recent pieces, including some especially developed for the exhibition, such as the video Prova, in which he starts out from a previous work, Turn on (2004), and continues to work with the protagonists from back then, work-seekers from Shkodër, Albania. Aside from a number of video works, Paci also shows drawings and paintings as well as the iconic sculpture Home to Go (2001).

Adrian Paci was born 1969 in Shkodër, Albania. He emigrated to Milan, Italy, in the late 1990s. Today, Paci lives and works alternately in Milan and Shkodër. Adrian Paci twice represented Albania at the Biennale di Venezia, in 1999 and 2005. He exhibited internationally in major art venues such as MoMA PS1 in New York, Folkwang Museum in Essen, Germany, and Jeu de Paume in Paris.

Curator: Andreas Hoffer

Adrian Paci. Lost Communities
November 24, 2019–February 2020
Kunsthalle Krems

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