Venice 2018 – Visitors walking into The City is Everywhere exhibition are surrounded by infinite mirrors exploding 4 elements of a typical Albanian home in the 90’s. Under Milošević regime the Serb community had access to public spaces which were instead limited to Albanians. In response, they created a parallel system of public spaces in their private homes in the periphery of the city. The house became a school, a restaurant, a promotional activity space, an office, an art gallery, a hospital and a home at the same time.
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“The Pavilion of the Republic of Kosovo is a house always in the making; unﬁnished because it always acquires new public functions.” Explains curator Eliza Hoxha. The exhibition “goes beyond the dichotomous relationship between open and closed, public and private, personal and social, inside and outside, intimacy and transparency”.
The inside space is surrounded by mirrors to create an effect of extended space and openness as a metaphor of psychological freedom, but not the physical one as such, since the mirror is yet a physical barrier and juxtaposition. “You’re there but you’re not there, you’re free inside but still occupied”.
The ceiling is clouded by satellites marked with the names of their former owners who donated them for the exhibition. Deprived of media outlets and information in Albanian language, Albanian families bought satellite dishes. “One could pin down with precision the apartments that belonged to Albanians because of the satellite dishes hanging in their balconies. Very soon the urban landscape turned into a garden of white mushrooms”.
“Satellites are a metaphor of gloomy days where we found light, nourishing our souls with otherworldly information coming from those discs. Our mind was free and our heads were satellites.”
On the floor a carpet brings the home-like warmth of Albanian living rooms and represents the gathering space of our houses. The rug was crafted by a group of women from Gjonaj, a village in the Has region, by using the traditional loom weaving technique.
“As part of this generation, I experienced the ‘90s as a broken and fragmented mirror, unclear and disfigured images with many shortages;” says curator Eliza Hoxha. “Multiple truths scattered across the periphery, too much uncertainty and insecurity and suspended dreams, which today need to be brought together to solve the mosaic and understand the importance of each particle that constitutes the whole.”