by Adrian Paci
20/07 — 25/08/2019
Artist: Adrian Paci
Curator: Abhijan Toto
Venue: Gallery VER Project Room
From 20th July – 25 August 2019
Interregnum is a special solo project by the Albanian artist and filmmaker Adrian Paci, featuring the single-channel video work of the same name. Interregnum, meaning a time between regimes, where the old is mourned, and the new is yet to emerge, speaks to periods of uncertainty left after the passing of popular, yet oppressive leaders. Paci weaves together footage of public mourning from news broadcasts and from state archives in his native Albania, China, Serbia, Russia and other countries – in each instance the men being mourned are the brutal dictators of each state: Hoxha, Mao, Stalin. Paci invites us to examine the moment where the world’s attention turns to these countries, at the collective intake of breath when change seems possible.
Born out of Paci’s engagement with Albania’s recent violent history, and his own experience of exile following the Pyramid Crisis of 1997, the film explores the relationship of scales: of the micro and the macro, of individuals that cast large shadows, and collectives whose shadows vanish. The figure of the mourned ruler is conspicuously missing in the film, as the camera zooms, peering at faces of the mourning citizens, and zooms out to follow the long snaking queues their bodies form as they march single-file towards the object of grief. Paci brings to question who, or indeed what, is being mourned in these moments, and how nation or a public is suddenly produced around an apparent loss. The film thus invites us to think about moments of public mourning in history the viewers has experienced, and the interludes, and possibilities they produced.
Courtesy of the artist, kaufmann repetto, Milano / New York, and Peter Kilchmann, Zurich. This exhibition is produced in association with Protocinema, Istanbul. With special thanks to Mari Spirito.
Adrian Paci was born in Shkodër, Albania, in 1969. From 1987 to 1991 he attended the Akademia e Arteve in Tirana, Albania. He lectured in art history and aesthetics in Shkodër from 1995 until 1997, at which time he left his home country for Milan, escaping the violence of the armed uprising that roiled Albania that year. Paci’s position as an exile holds a central place in his oeuvre. His work frequently addresses themes of geographical separation, nostalgia, and memory, and conveys a keen sense of the mutability of life and art. Recent solo exhibitions of his work have been held at the National Gallery of Arts, Tirana, Albania (2019); Kunsthalle Krems (2019); MAXXI, Rome (2015), among others, and he has participated in exhibitions at the Guangdong Museum of Art, Moderna Museet, Tate Modern and in the Venice, Havana and Busan Biennale among others.
Abhijan Toto is an independent curator and writer, and co-founder (with Pujita Guha) of the Forest Curriculum and is based in Bangkok, Thailand. He has previously worked as Assistant Curator at the Dhaka Art Summit and the Samdani Art Foundation, Bangladesh; Bellas Artes Projects, Manila and Bataan, the Philippines; and with Council, Paris; and Asia Art Archive. He has been awarded the 2019 Lorenzo Bonaldi Curatorial Prize at the GAMeC Museum, Bergamo, Italy. Selected recent exhibitions include Realigning the Asian Art Biennale, part of Southern Constellations, Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana (2019); The Exhaustion Project: There Is Still Work To Be Done, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2018); History Zero, Mumbai Art Room, Mumbai (2017).