Home Magazine Petrit Halilaj solo show at Fondazione Merz

Here we are with a new, special guide dedicated to bringing you informations of the most important art shows from all over the world. This time we want to lead you inside the suggestive environment created by Petrit Halilaj for his latest personal exhibition titled "Shkrepëtima" at Fondazione Merz in Turin.

As the art category winner of the second Mario Merz Prize - a biannual international award for art and music, inaugurated by Fondazione Merz - the artist conceived this exhibition as the culmination of an ambitious three-part project, curated by Leonardo Bigazzi, taking form in three different locations significant to the artist's life and career. Find out more about this edition of Artissima Art Fair 2018 and all the collateral events.


Shkrepëtima, 2018. Produced by Fondazione Merz and Hajde! Foundation. Ph. Majlinda Hoxha


In particular, on July 7th 2018 he made a performance comparing himself to the entire local community of Kosovo, the city in which he grew up, in the ruins of the Cultural Center of Runik. Then, between 20 July and 19 August, he was welcomed at the Zentrum Paul Klee in Ber(Switzerland) to underline a link between Switzerland and Italy as prioritised by the Mario Merz Prize mission. Finally, in Turin, with a site-specific installation of videos, drawings, sculptures and sounds, the experience of this long and intense work ends with a series of monumental installations re-contextualising within the exhibition space the sets, costumes and stage objects of the performance in Runik. As Mario Merz's daughter stated:


When we come to choose the winning artist  - it is because we believe that we can build a project in the round. We started the construction of this project to culminate here in the space of the Foundation that we try to keep as versatile as possible, in the sense that we try to deliver it to the artists so that they can take advantage as they wish. 


Petrit Halilaj was born in Kosovo in 1986 and he now lives and works between Germany, Kosovo and Italy. His work is deeply connected with the recent history of his country, and the consequences of the political and cultural tensions in the region post-war. His work is inspired both through a comparison with a collective memory and the artist's personal experience, so it is usually the result of an intimate process and a shared moment with someone he loves. Just few years ago, Halilaj had a huge solo show at Pirelli Hangar Bicocca, Milan, entitled "Space Shuttle in the Garden", curated by Roberta Tenconi, the same place where now is possible to visit the equally vast Marzio Merz retrospective “Igloos”, about which you read more on Kooness. 


Exhibition view: Petrit Halilaj. Shkrepëtima, 29 October 2018 – 3 February 2019, Fondazione Merz. Ph Renato Ghiazza 


What is most striking in the work of Petrit Halilaj - one of the most interesting young artists on the conemporary international scene - is his personal relationship with his reality. What we can see in the Turin exhibition really has produced concrete effects on the lives of Runik people. If you never been in Turin read more about beautiful art institutions of the city as the Castello di Rivoli

"Petrit - explains Leonardo Bigazzi, curator of the entire project - is an artist who is able to intervene directly on the real and understand the distinction between what can be discussed in the public space and what the art, the context and the contemporary art system, allows  to transport on a different level. So that's why the two moments, the moment of the performance and the moment of the show are complementary, because those that were the emotions translated into the performance at Runik are present here in Turin, but at the same time there is a different level of reflection , and it is a level of reflection that opens here, starting from the context of Runik, to a broader reflection on what is the potential of art ".


Petrit Halilaj, Shkrepëtima, 2018, Ink drawing on archival document of the Koperativa of Runik
Courtesy the Artist; ChertLüdde, Berlin; kamel mennour, Paris/London; Fondazione Merz, Torino


Petrit Halilaj was also the first artist chosen to represent Kosovo at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013, and also in the Arsenale area for the Venice Biennale “VIVA ARTE VIVA” in 2017, curated by Christine Macel. Don't miss the opportunity to learn all about the latest news from the Venice Biennale 2019.

Finally, the performance is the result of extensive research into the history of Runik, from its Neolithic origins to its recent past, and is intended to act as a “spark” able to rekindle its cultural development. In the Albanian language the term “Shkrepëtima” means “flash” and, by extension, indicates a sudden and intense thought that works as an activator of consciences. The term also recalls the historical legacy of the homonymous multi-ethnic cultural magazine published in Runik between the 1970s and 1980s by school teachers, who were directly involved in the local cultural programming.


Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the art world.