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Salzburger Kunstverein opens an exhibition of works by Adrian Paci
Adrian Paci, Broken Words, 2019, 5 channel videoinstallation. Courtesy of the artist, kaufmann repetto, Mailand/New York and Peter Kilchmann, Zürich. Produced with the contribution of Sant Egidio community, Rome.


SALZBURG.- Adrian Paci presents artworks that oscillate between experiences, history, fiction, poetry, and documentation; capturing the tensions between. His projects focus on what emerges after war, upheaval, flight or forced migration, often exploring themes of loss, displacement, and the struggle of identity to re-assert itself. Paci often works with displaced people, migrants and refugees. Collaborations recently conducted with refugees are combined in this exhibition with other works that examine and depict means of expression beyond language. While chronicling trauma and tragedy, his work altogether exerts a powerful, humanist empathy, exploring the limits of language, to bring about another level of expression and reflection.

Adrian Paci was born in Shkodër, Albania, in 1969. In 1997 he left for Milan, escaping the violence of the armed uprising in Albania. 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. Paci is known primarily for his work in performance and video, although he explores similar subjects in painting, photography, and sculpture.

Further, and in this exhibition specifically, Adrian Paci’s artwork explores profound territories outside language. Here we find a powerful and thoughtful analysis by the artist on matters of contemporary representation, the limits of language, topics of current socio-political spheres, and the unavoidable matter of a global humanitarian crisis. Paci folds these matters together through a combination of different formal approaches with a particular focus on displaced individuals. The exhibition could thus easily also be titled Broken Bodies, but Paci decidedly skirts more conventional means of tackling these difficult topics. This artwork presents critical representation of individuals’ experiences in a precise manner that confounds mass media’s hegemonic tendencies to isolate human tragedy and trauma into packable stories or even convenient ideological terms, or to even dismiss them altogether. This text will later explore these notions briefly in comparison to other contemporary artists’ work in order to flesh out this distinction.

Born in Albania and now long living in Italy after fleeing his homeland in the 1990s, Adrian Paci has a history of working with displaced people, especially migrants and refugees, or those caught between institutional or geo-political networks. Paci himself is an exiled chronicler of these experiences. His artwork has reflected his own experiences of migration, and has often derived out of collaborations with newcomers to foreign lands. His research and projects have also focused on what emerges after war, upheaval, flight, or forced migration, often exploring themes of loss, displacement, and the struggle of identity to assert itself in uncertain contexts. What emerges between all these topics is a depiction of the human condition. Paci presents artworks that oscillate between experiences, histories, fiction, poetry, and documentation; always capturing the tensions existing between. Recently he has broadened his scope from more personal reflections to an approach that more outwardly examines collective experiences. He has namely sought out new collaborations with individuals affected by the current refugee crisis. We experience in this work a powerful, humanist empathy in the video portraiture of his subjects, both in his treatment of the topic and as well as each person he works with.






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