Fondazione Merz | Petrit Halilaj. Shkrepëtima

Fondazione Merz, Torino

A project by the winner of the 2nd edition of the Mario Merz Prize

 curated by Leonardo Bigazzi

29 October 2018 – 3 February 2019 – EXTENDED TO 17 FEBRUARY 2019

Fondazione Merz – Turin

Fondazione Merz is pleased to present Shkrepëtima, a newly commissioned solo exhibition by Petrit Halilaj (Kostërrc, Skenderaj-Kosovo 1986).

Of Kosovar origin, Halilaj is the winner of the art category of the Mario Merz Prize second edition, the biannual international award for art and music, inaugurated by the Fondazione Merz.

The exhibition in Turin is the culmination of an ambitious three-part project, curated by Leonardo Bigazzi, taking form in three different locations significant to the life and career of the artist. The first iteration was a performance – the largest public art project ever implemented by Petrit Halilaj – that took place on 7 July 2018 at the ruins of the Cultural Centre of Runik (Kosovo), the town where the artist grew up. This was followed by the presentation from 20 July to 19 August 2018 at the Zentrum Paul Klee in Bern (Switzerland), a point of contact between Shkrepëtima and the work done earlier by the artist with the RU series of works.

Finally, the project arrives in Turin in the form of an important and unprecedented final exhibition, the heart of which consists of a series of monumental installations recontextualising, within the exhibition space, the sets, costumes and stage objects of Runik’s performances. The Shkrepëtima project continues the artist’s investigation into the historical roots of the Kosovar town in which he grew up, reflecting on the potential of art and the value of memory. By intervening in the real world Halilaj intends to change the processes of the forming of collective history of his community, bringing it closer to its origins and calling into question some models that still regulate its social structure today.

The performance is the result of extensive research into the history of Runik, from its Neolithic origins to its recent past, and intended to act as a “spark” able to rekindle its cultural development. In the Albanian language the term “Shkrepëtima” means “flash” and, by extension, indicates a sudden and intense thought that works as an activator of consciences. The term also recalls the historical legacy of the homonymous multi-ethnic cultural magazine published in Runik between the 1970s and 1980s by the school’s teachers, who were directly involved in the local cultural programming.

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