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Contemporary positions from Albania and Kosovo on view at Ludwig Museum Budapest
Armando LULAJ: A Series of Devious Stratagems – It Wears as it Grows, 2011. Colored short film with sound, 18 min. Courtesy of Debatikcenter Film, Artra Gallery, cinqueesei.

BUDAPEST.- One of the priorities at Ludwig Museum Budapest is to keep track of the contemporary art scenes and new tendencies of the Central and Eastern European region and the post-socialist countries. The exhibition presenting a selection of contemporary positions from the art scenes of Albania and Kosovo in the summer of 2016 is part of this tendency. Focusing on the art practices of the last 10-15 years in the two areas, the exhibition juxtaposes the freshest voices from the two countries.

For long, the art scenes of Albania and Kosovo were evolving separately, their cultural heritage, however, overlaps in several respects; such is the common language spoken by the majority in both states, as well as the traditions deeply pervading both societies. Albania and Kosovo took fundamentally different courses in the second half of the 20th century; the former suffering from Enver Hoxha’s despotic regime for decades, the latter as part of Yugoslavia. In spite of this, such phenomena as dictatorship, war, or economic and social crises have had considerable impact on the recent past of both areas. With the collective presentation of the art fields of Albania and Kosovo, the exhibition explores the relation of the two scenes to each other and to international tendencies in the new millennium.

The period starting in 2000 opened up a new chapter for both countries, which is emphasized by the curatorial selection. This was the time when new possibilities arose for both Kosovo(not yet an independent state back then) and Albania to join the universal arts scene – although Albania had already made some attempts to revitalize its contemporary arts in the 1990s, in the first free decade after many years of dictatorship. While both scenes – each carrying its own visual heritage on its shoulders – began evolving further in the context provided by new possibilities that made international tendencies accessible, the new generation of each country kept a curious eye on the neighboring contemporaries, attempting to “fill in” the artistic vacuum developed during the lost decades.

The exhibition does not aim to be complete: it provides no retrospective overview of the evolution of the two cultural milieus, nor does it examine the activity of artists from a historical aspect. An array of 25 artists, the selection grasps the dynamics pervading the two scenes: the exhibition at once presents works that can be considered milestones, statements that facilitated the international presence of each scene, and projects engendered as imprints or witnesses of long processes. It is through these positions that the selection explores the phenomena that have functioned as the driving force of in each country and its artists.

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