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La Biennale di Venezia | Kosovo Pavilion  : Sislej Xhafa Lost and Found
Sislej Xhafa, lost and found (detail), 2017. Photo: Berin Hasi for Republic of Kosovo, National Pavilion of the 57th Venice Biennale. Courtesy GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Havana.

Kosovo Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Sislej Xhafa
Lost and Found

May 11–November 22, 2017


Professional preview: May 10–12
Opening: May 11, 11am

Kosovo Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Commissioner: Valon Ibraj, Cultural Diplomacy Officer at Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports
Curator: Arta Agani, Director of National Gallery of Kosovo
Organization: Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Republic of Kosovo

Republic of Kosovo is taking part in the 57th Venice Biennale for the third time. Artist Sislej Xhafa has developed a project entitled lost and found to represent Kosovo Pavilion. The artist is interested in the human element in inhuman conditions and the project lost and found questions primary matters such as freedom, social equilibrium and injustice as key concerns of humanity these days.

Kosovo as a country has been recognized by 114 countries until now. Art, as one of the strong positions of Kosovo, is being shown to the world thanks to several Kosovo artists that have been active in the international scene, and thanks to efforts of many representatives of Kosovo cultural institutions and independent organizations, all of whom strive towards a clear and unique signature of Kosovo arts and culture. Kosovar artists have recently reached international recognition in many fields: music, film, and visual art.

The name that connects all of the above aspects, and has represented this internationally—authentic, slightly controversial culture, is beyond any doubt—Sislej Xhafa. Xhafa is among the first artists to set a cornerstone of contemporary arts in Kosovo back in 2000. Xhafa has 20 years of successful international career recognized by many relevant world institutions, and he received numerous awards, attended many commissions, held personal exhibitions, did public interventions and installations that became landmarks of the cities they were made in. Xhafa is proudly taking his homeland Kosovo to the biggest arts event in the world—the Venice Biennale. Consequently, for Xhafa it was the right time to represent his home country Kosovo in the Venice Biennale, as his art has grown stronger than ever and his statements even bolder. Xhafa’s presence ensures an expressive visual voice that needs to be heard now from a new perspective.

“Right then and there, by looking at Xhafa’s work, viewers will perceive displaced fragments of reality and questions begin to emerge. Simply by being moved from their usual surroundings, these fragments emit complex codes of both nostalgia and revolt, programmed by profound emotion of the artist that absorbs each and every phenomena with unusual sensitivity before translating them into a loud visual voice.

Finally, the result that stands before us in Xhafa’s works is simplified into seemingly impulsive reactions to the environment that ensure clarity and sincerity of the emotion transmitted. This way it allows the viewer to perceive and accept this sincerity with ease, deciphering the codes that hide within the context.”
–Arta Agani, curator of The Kosovo Pavilion

Sislej Xhafa
Sislej Xhafa was born in Kosovo and is based in New York City. Xhafa is known for works that could be described as “actions” or conceptual strategies which challenge cultural stereotypes, preconceived prejudices and institutional structures. Often exploring the modes through which contemporary society functions, he investigates social, economic and political realities to ultimately critique consumerism and its driving mechanisms. Indeed, the tangible social results of economic theories are at the heart of Sislej Xhafa’s artistic research, questioning the legal status of his country of origin, Kosovo. Working in a variety of media from painting and drawing to sculpture and installation, his engagement with political dimensions is always indirect and implied, reflecting on social norms and strategies and the ways in which they are unconsciously manipulated. Sislej Xhafa just received the Academic Honoré from the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, Italy.

Republic of Kosovo Pavilion in the 57th Venice Biennale is made possible thanks to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports of the Republic of Kosovo.

Press Officer: Aferdita Krasniqi, / T +3774450081

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