Albania

Paris : Adrian PACI "Lives in Transit", February 26–May 12, 2013

Saturday 16 February 2013 by en

The work of Adrian Paci (born in 1969 in Albania) underlines one of the paradoxes of human intelligence, which consists of becoming aware of reality through irreality. Often inspired by subjects close to him, stories arising from his everyday life, Adrian Paci lets them slide poetically towards a fiction, which in its turn creates one or more wider realities. The exhibition at the Jeu de Paume gathers extremely diverse works (videos, installations, paintings, photographs and sculptures) made since 1997 and shows the numerous interconnections that operate between these different media and means of expression.

In 1997, Adrian Paci escaped violent riots in Albania to take refuge, with his family, in Italy. On his arrival in the country, he temporarily abandoned painting and sculpture in favour of video, thus exploring new cinematic languages and means of expression. His experience of exile, the shock of separation and adaptation to a new place define the context of his first videos, through which he attempts to discover the roots of his past.

Paci’s work is strongly informed by his own experiences and by social and political events in his native Albania. Through his choice of subjects he uses the image as a conceptual tool capable of expressing the feeling of loss, the affirmation of identity and the transience and displacement of life inherent in the human condition. His work revisits the history of art and cinema by the most audacious paths. [...]

Paci’s work is equally characterised by its capacity to create a tension between the conflictual and the marvellous, but also by the coherence of themes and the transposition from one medium to another. Adrian Paci is conscious of the stakes at play between contemporary artistic creation and possible forms of resistance.

“ If the world were clear, art would not exist,“ wrote Albert Camus in The Myth of Sisyphus. Paci defies the intangible in his projections of snapshots of everyday life, creating a connection that is both comfortably familiar but strangely distant. Although video is his favoured tool, he is more than a video artist: his extremely well-made films take us into a space where the human condition governs metaphor, in keeping with a poetic logic that is specific to the artist, going beyond rootedness in any order of reality. [...] The videos force the spectator to fill in the blanks of a story whose sole parameters are the verticality of a world and its contents. They let through the outlines of a story, creating an itinerary through different types of space and atmosphere, one that institutes a kind of dialectics between reason and emotion, making manifest the extent of existential possibility.

Gradually, Adrian Paci has distanced himself from his personal experience to treat collective history, in projects that put the emphasis on the consequences of conflicts and social revolutions, revealing how identity is conditioned by the socio-economic context. Working with non-professional actors, men and women in difficulty, he explores many of the existential and social problems of our epoch: migration, mobility, loss, displacement, globalisation, cultural identity, nostalgia, memory...

After representing Albania at the Venice Biennale in 1999 and exhibiting at the MoMa PS1 in New York in 2005, his work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions: Moderna Museet in Stockholm, Kunstverein, Hanover, Tel Aviv contemporary art centre, Bloomberg Space in London and Kunsthaus Zurich. Among numerous group shows, he has participated in Manifesta 3 in Ljubljana (2000), Venice Biennale (2005), Tate Modern, London (2008), Maxxi Rome, Lyon Biennial and Havana Biennial (2009).

* The quotes are taken from the catalogue of the exhibition Transit, coedition Mousse Publishing, Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art and the Jeu de Paume (pages 26 to 27).

CURATORS : Adrian Paci, Marta Gili and Marie Fraser

PARTNERS : Exhibition co-produced by the Jeu de Paume, the Montreal Museum of Contemporary Art and the PAC Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milano.

In partnership with A Nous, Courrier international, paris-art.com, France Culture.

More information on this website :

- Paris : Conversation Adrian Paci, Marta Gili & Marie Fraser - Museum "Jeu de Paume"


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