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Petrit Halilaj

Born 1986 in Kostërrc (Skenderaj-Kosovo),
lives and works in Berlin (Germany) and Pristina (Kosovo)

Petrit Halilaj’s oeuvre is pervaded by the experience of ethnic conflict and exile, which he addresses by rejecting any kind of pathos and by examining the collective narratives that forge concepts of nationhood and cultural identity from a critical yet optimistic perspective. In the form of a large installation, Shkrepëtima recontextualises the sets, costumes and stage props of a
one-night performance that the artist gave in 2018, located in the ruins of the House of Culture in Runik, the small Kosovo town where he grew up. The building — a library, theatre and cinema but also a farmers’ cooperative — embodied the town’s multi-ethnic cultural identity for 30 years until it was closed down by the Serbs and then partly destroyed in the late 1990s. The result of a research project and collaboration with local people, Shkrepëtima (“spark” or “lightning bolt” in Albanian) takes its title from a cultural magazine published there in the 1970s and ‘80s. It continues the artist’s work on the historical roots of Runik, from its Neolithic origins to its recent past; and more generally considers the potential of art to transform reality.

With the support of the Fondazione La Quadriennale di Roma
With the support of ChertLüdde, Berlin ; kamel mennour, Paris/London ; Fondazione Merz, Turin.

Petrit Halilaj, Shkrepëtima (détail), 2018. Courtesy de l’artiste et [of the artist and] ChertLüdde, Berlin ; kamel mennour, Paris/Londres ; Fondazione Merz, Turin. © Blaise Adilon