From 4 June to 22 August 2010, the Kunsthaus Zürich
will host the first museum exhibition in Switzerland of the work of Albanian artist Adrian Paci. New videos and a painting inspired by Pier Paolo Pasolini are at the centre of the exhibition Motion Picture(s). The works reflect pivotal moments of humanity and condense the consequences of conflicts and societal rupture.
Electric Blue is the title of the new video work created by Adrian Paci especially for the Kunsthaus exhibition. The title is that of an erotic TV series on what had been Yugoslavias state channel, one of the few entertainments available under communism. This work, produced in collaboration with the Kunsthaus Graz, is situated in Pacis hometown of Shkoder (Albania). The artist had already used that location for the production of his video Turn on, which was shown at the 2005 Venice Biennale and marked Adrian Pacis international breakthrough.
Haunting Images of the Condition Humaine
In Electric Blue Paci tells the story of a man who attempts to secure the economic survival of his family in the chaotic collapsing state that was Albania in the 1990s. But the video, approximately 15 minutes in length, is far more than a historical document. It grapples with primordial questions of humanity: with failure and the impact of war and societal rupture on humans; with the yearning for an escape from poverty; with love, sex and passion. In this video, the artist manages to create striking and impressive images of the Condition humaine that imprint themselves on the viewers memory.
Painting Inspired by Pasolini
Adrian Paci (born 1969 in Shkoder, Albania) was originally trained as a painter. For this reason, curator Mirjam Varadinis chose for his first exhibition in a Swiss museum an entirely new painting, Secondo Pasolini (2010), which transfers the medium of film to that of painting. For this large-sized work Paci virtually dismantled the famous film Racconti di Canterbury (1972) by Pier Paolo Pasolini by detaching single frames and painting them. This attitude between moving image and freeze frame, film and painting is characteristic of Pacis work. Paci had created similar works containing references to Pier Paolo Pasolini early in his career, and it makes sense that the young artists examination of painting and film should prominently feature the renowned director, as the latter had himself cited paintings of the Italian Renaissance in his films.
The Scream: A Video-Painting
A second video in the exhibition is closely related to the history of painting. The 2009 video is entitled Britma, which means scream and refers to Edvard Munchs famously iconic painting. Pacis work features two children, obviously excited, one of whom seems to be screaming. It holds a stone in its hand, ready for throwing. But the blurriness of the shot makes a clear understanding of the context impossible. Is it one of so many images of regions in crisis, where children throw stones at soldiers or are the two children simply playing? Paci leaves the question unanswered. In extreme slow-motion the image changes almost imperceptibly. Only the most attentive viewers will notice that, with time, the blurriness increases and the face of the child begins to approximate that of the figure in Munchs Scream, until it dissolves into a totally abstract colour landscape of digital brush strokes.
In addition to this entirely new piece, the exhibition will also feature Paci's earliest video work, Albanian Stories (1997), and 'The Last Gestures (2009), his four-part video installation. In a painterly fashion akin to that of Pacis other works, The Last Gestures captures the very end of a brides leave-taking from her birth family, a ritual deeply ingrained in Albanian culture. Indeed, Paci is less interested in the representation of a particular reality in his homeland than in the ritual character of the gestures comprised by this custom.