Petrit Halilaj. Shkrepëtima
with a text by Leonardo Bigazzi
format: 23 x 27 cm
date of publication: October 2018
This small publication has been printed on the occasion of the exhibition Shkrepëtima by Petrit Halilaj (29 October 2018 - 17 February 2019) held at Fondazione Merz.
The Shkrepëtima project presented at the Fondazione Merz continues the artist’s investigation into the historical roots of Runik, the little Kosovar town in which he grew up, from its Neolithic origins to its recent past. The exhibition is the culminating and conclusive moment of the project, entirely produced by the Fondazione Merz. The first and fundamental chapter of the project was the performance held on 7 July 2018 in the ruins of the Runik Culture House, which for over thirty years had been the symbol of the cultural identity of its citizens. This show was followed by another, at the Zentrum Paul Klee in Berne, Switzerland (20 July - 19 August 2018).
The exhibition presents a new series of sculptures and monumental installations that re-contextualise the settings, costumes and stage props of the performance inside the exhibition space. In the work of Halilaj the ruins of the Culture Centre take on a voice to recount history, becoming the expression of a precise will to remember the past in a context in which the desire for removal of memory is very strong. Through his dreamlike and visionary language, Halilaj has achieved a surprising balance between the weight of the history of these fragments and the physical lightness arising from their suspension.
Inside the Fondazione Merz, a former 1930s industrial structure, the artist has reconstructed the proportions and volumes of Runik’s Cultural Centre using the wooden stage sets of the performance. Halilaj has managed to relate the two buildings and two very different realities, which certainly represent a point of reference for the communities that were born and grew around them. His intervention reminds us not only of the centrality of the places of memory in the construction of our identity, but also that their potential is not necessarily limited to a city or a nation, and can be expressed in various forms, generating a space of shared reflection.