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adrian paci

He started his career as a painter, having graduated from the traditional Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana. He lives and works in Milan. His art bears a stigma of his childhood and adolescence spent in Albania, followed by emigration to Italy. Paci belongs to a group of artists who made their debut in the early 90s, termed "a generation of transformation" by Edi Muka. In his works he explores his autobiographical story as well as collective narrative. The fall of communism in Albania constitutes a turning point for the artist, from which diametrical social changes began, the issue constantly debated in his works. In Turn On (2004), the metaphorical film presented at the Venice Biennial in 2005, Paci returns to his hometown Szkodra and films a group of the unemployed who illuminate the streets with a generator. In Albanian Stories (1997), his three year old daughter tells fairy-tales to her doll, followed by a diagnosis on the condition of contemporary Albania which is far from the child's vision. In Klodi (2005), a man called Klodi stands in front of the camera and tells about his experience of an illegal immigrant.

Piktori (2002) discusses an artist's place in society. A painter, who forges labels of good brands and documents for a diplomat, uses his talent to earn the living.

In Vajtojca Paci portrays his ritual, imaginary funeral.

For Back Home the artist invited his friends who also immigrated to Italy. They pose against the background of the painted decoration showing their family houses back in Albania.

^ Adran Paci, Cappella Pasolini, mixed media, 2005

^ Adran Paci, Klodi, video, 2005

^ Adrian Paci, Cappella II, photography, 2004

^ Adrian Paci, The Princess, photography, 2003

^ Adrian Paci, Home to Go, mixed media: plaster, marble, dust, tiles, rope; 2001

^ Adrain Paci, Apparizione, video, 1997

^ Adrian Paci, Albanian Stories, video, 1997



Adrian Paci:

"...I'm not interested in autobiography or becoming a spokesperson for Albanians. But you could very well contradict me by reminding me that I began my career at international events with the video Albanian Stories , where the protagonist is my daughter. And my latest video Klodi, (...) is the story of young Albanian. Yes it's true. But it's not autobiography or "Albanianess" that I want to stress. My intimacy with the material I manipulate is essential. I'm not able to go to a place I don't know about and immediately invent something. My relationship with Albania is made up of closeness and distance at the same time. The human, political, economic, and social dynamics of Albania in these past fifteen years have certainly involved me one both an intellectual and personal level. But investigating this dynamic isn't , for me something autobiographical or nostalgic . instead, it's a chance to analyze those identities that are in crisis-that creative struggle for survival, that joyful and tragic living at the same time."

"Adrian Paci does not shy away from the seemingly banal. With a slightly twisted humour, he tackles major existential and societal issues which he chooses to express in an apposite form. An example is his participation in the group exhibition, Tillsammans (Together), with Swedish, Cuban and Albanian artists, in conjunction with the Tirana Biennial 2003. An open email discussion was the point of departure for the project; all the participating artists had experienced various forms of socialism. The Swedish Institute provided some funding but could only do so for the Swedish artists. Adrian Paci created an installation with generators, which is a common feature of Albanian daily life, where power cuts occur at least a few times a day. He provided energy for the Swedish artworks during the frequent power cuts on condition that the Swedes paid for it - a national contribution set into circulation".

Ann-Sofi Noring, from the catalogue.

"Paci's videos, photographs, paintings, and installations continue of image making oral poetry, and social ritual. His videos unfold spontaneous narratives that draw from the improvised participation of their subjects and are shaped by the artists lucid editing. Often delegating camera duties to others, Paci leaves for himself the role of screenwriter who narrates the story . The story in fact is the most important component in his work. Relying less on the conventions of video art than on the traditions of theater- reaching back to its roots in ancient religious rituals, as in his 2002 video Vajtojca (The Weeper) - Paci's narrative makes use of illusion and the viewer's empathic identification with the story participants. In his narrative he resolves the play between representation and reality in un expected denouements that are pervaded with a candid sense of the present, often lanced with humor but always witness to a moment of existential fracture".

Paola Morsiani, No Simulacra, from the catalogue.

"Narrative in Paci's work is not just a way to personalize his art also about "coming across incredible stories and deciding not to remain indifferent". Apparizione (Apparition, 2000) is a split screen video in which his daughter sings a folk song while smiling relatives in Albania respond. The work evolved in response to the story of an elderly women who tried to overcome her longing for her absent niece by playing a tape of the girl's voice in the corridor, going into the bedroom and pretending that she was playing next door. Back home (2001) s a series of photographs of immigrant families posing front of painted backdrops of houses and interiors they have abandoned in Albania- a reversal of he photographs of successful new lives are typically sent beck home by migrants everywhere. Much darker are his rather crass photographs Exit (1999), depicting dawn passport control exit, stamps on his daughters' pale shoulder blades. When he had these difficult images developed, Paci's local photo lab reported him to the police as a possible Albanian child pornographer. The video Believe me I'm an artist (2000) is a re-staging of Paci's police interview, in which his visa potentially at stake. The artist attempts to explain his motivation to an officer who can't or does not want to understand".

Dominic Eichler, Strong Current, from the catalogue

Adrian Paci

b. 1969, Szkodra, Albania
1987 - 1991 studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Tirana
1992 participated in Art and Liturgy course at the Beato Angelico Institute in Milan
1995 - 1997 lecturer of art history and aesthetics at the University in Szkodra
in 1997 decided to emigrate to Italy with his family due to political reasons
from 2002 has cooperated with the Franceska Kaufmann Gallery in Milan and the Peter Kilchman Gallery in Zurich
from 2003 a lecturer of visual arts at Accademia Carrara di Belle Arti in Bergamo and at the Iuav University in Venice
from 1997 has lived and worked in Milan

selected one-man shows:

First At Moderna, Moderne Museet, Stockholm, S
P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, USA
Perspective 147: Adrian Paci, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, USA
the Peter Kilchman Gallery, Zurich, CH
Galeria Exit, Peje, Kosovo, SCG

Slowly, the Francesca Kaufmann Gallery, Milan, I
Turn on, Galeria Via Farini, Milan, I

A Toll on Rituals, Baltic Art Center, Gotland, S
the Peter Kilchman Gallery, Zurich, CH

Sorella Morte, Adrian Paci, the Francesca Kaufmann Gallery, Milan, I
True Stories, Galeria Irida, Sofia, BG

Albanian Stories, Bildmuseet, Umea, S
Home Sweet Home, Aropia, Milan, I

Permanent Instability, the State Art Gallery, Tirana, AL

selected group exhibitions:

Shoot the Family, touring exhibition, USA, CAN

Always a Little Further, Venice Biennale, Venice, I
Biennale of Goeteborg, G÷teborg, S
Irreducible, Miami Art Center, Miami, USA

In den Schluchten des Balkan. Kunst aus dem SŘdosten Europas, Kunsthalle Fridericianeum Kassel, Kassel, D
Draft, Kunsthalle Zurich, Zurich, CH
Blood and Honey, Sammlung Essl, Vienna, A
Se Bashku, Tirana Biennale 2, Tirana, AL
G2003, Museo delle Ossessioni, Vira, CH
Looking Awry, Apex Art, New York, USA

In Search of Balkania, Neue Galerie Graz, Graz, A
Exit: Nuove Geografie Della Creativita Italiana, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo per l'Arte, Torino, I
Community of Surplus, 5th Werkleitz Biennial, Tornitz, D
The Horse Would Know But The Horse Can't Speak, Premio Furla, Fondazione Querini
Stampalia, Venice, I
It's Ain't Much But It's Home, Binz 39, Zurich, CH
Videolounge, Fondazione Andriano Olivetti, Rome, I
Boundless, Belgrad Home, Collegium Artisticum, Sarajewo, BIH

Tirana Biennale 1, National Gallery & Chinese Pavillion, Tirana, AL

Manifesta 3, III Biennale Internazionale d'Arte Contemporanea, Lublana, SLO

XLVIII Biennale, Venice, I

Permanent Instability, Pa˝stwowa Galeria Sztuki, Tirana, AL


- Chiara Bertola, Adrian Paci, Toward uncertainty, David Winton Bell Gallery, Brown University, Providence 2002 (exhibition catalogue).
- Milovan Farronato, Adrian Paci, "Tema Celeste", XI - XII 2002.
- Chiara Parisi, interview with Adrianem Paci, The Horse Would Know, But The Horse Can't Talk, Premio Furla, Venice 2002 (exhibition catalogue).
- Stefano Casciani, Giovane, Chi? Exit Nuova geografia della creativita italiana, "Domus", XI 2002.
- Emanuela de Cecco, Adrian Paci, GAMC, Bergamo, 2002 (exhibition catalogue).
- Francesca Pasini, Albanian Stories, "Linus", IV 2002.
- Michael Nungesser, Beautiful Strangers. Albanian Kunst, "Kunstforum" , XI - XII 2001.
- Jan-Erik Lundstrom, interviw with Adrianem Paci, "Tema Celeste", XII - I 2001-2002.
- Jan-Erik Lundstrom, Project for a Revolution in Le Mois de la Photo a Montreal, Montreal 2000 (exhibition catalogue).
- Igor Spagnol, Adrian Paci 2000+Arteast collection, Orangerie Congress und Messe, Innsbruck 2000 (exhibition catalogue).
- Francesca Pasini, Acqua & arte un inedito connubio, "Il Secolo XIX", 13.XI.2001.
- Daniele Astrologo, Adrian Paci, "Collezioni edge", winter - spring 2001.
- Gezim Qendro, The Missing Chorius of the Tradition, "PamorArt" 2001.
- Suzana Varvarica, Adrian Paci, "Pamorart" 2000.
- Laura Frigerio, Un mondo d'arte, "Corriere della Sera" 28.III.2001.
- Edi Muka, Aperto Albania, "Flash Art International", I - II 2001.
- Edi Muka, Happy People in Home Sweet Home, Galeria Artopia, Milan 2001 (exhibition catalogue).
- Edi Muka, Adrian Paci. Borderline Syndrome in Manifesta 3, Lublana 2000 (exhibition catalogue).
- Edi Muka, Beautiful Strangers, Galeria Ifa, Berlin 2000 (exhibition catalogue).
- Michele Robecchi, Adrian Paci in AA.VV. Tirana Biennale 1, Tirana 2001 (exhibition catalogue).
- Michele Robecchi, A Real Game in Kasseler Dokumentarfilm und Videofest, Kassel 2000 (exhibition catalogue).
- Michele Robecchi, Il Muro di Adrian Paci, "Flash Art Italia", II - III 2001.
- Joanna Sandell, Flykten fran Albanien som konstprojekt Kultur, 10.III.2001.
- Sandra Smallenburg, De haab eb de koe gaan naar Italie, "NRC Cultureel Suplement", 2000.
- Sarah Kent, Light Fantastic, "Time Out", 30.VI -7.VII.1999.
- Kim Levin, Border Crossing, "Village Voice 59", 1.VIII.2000.
- Sasa Glavan, Permanent Instability in This is your shadow on my wall, Kluże 1999 (exhibition catalogue).

[Translated by Ma│gorzata Sady]

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16 XI - 31 XII 2006
shahram entekhabi
It’s Been a Long Way, Baby...

23 III - 22 IV 2007
wael shawky
The Forty Days Road. Wet culture - Dry Culture

27 IV - 03 VI 2007
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Woman and Dead

06 VII - 02 IX 2007
jesper alvaer, isabela grosseova
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07 IX - 21 X 2007
adrian paci
Spaces in-between

13 XII - 27 I 2008
loulou cherinet

The conference is a part of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue in Poland


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