It doesn’t always have to be beautiful,
unless it’s beautiful.
30 May–30 July 2012
Art Gallery of Kosovo
Agim Ramadani 60
T 00381 38 225627, 227833
Adrian Paci, Albert Heta, Arben Elshani, Aya Ben Ron, Bert Theis, Danica Dakic, Deimantas Narcevicius, Dren Maliqi, Driton Hajredini, Edi Hila, Fatos Kabashi, Johanna Billing, Josef Darbenig, Laurent Mareschal, Luan Bajraktari, Majlinda Hoxha, Mark Lewis, Mehmet Behluli, Orhan Kurtolli, Özlem Günyol & Mustafa Kunt, Petrit Halilaj, Praneet Soi, Qëndresë Deda, Sejla Kameric, Shpend Havolli, Tanja Lazetic, Vadim Fishkin, Vangelis Gokas, Yael Bartana.
The 9th Muslim Mulliqi Prize Exhibition is curated by Galit Eilat and Charles Esche. The Muslim Mulliqi Prize is the most significant exhibition for contemporary visual arts in Kosovo and aims to be one of the most interesting contemporary art projects in southern Europe.
The exhibition features 29 artists. They were selected from a national open call together with invited international artists. The concept of the exhibition began with the idea of how to reinterpret the idea of beauty using today’s social and aesthetic forms. The curators were inspired by the idea of the Kaleidoscope. The word ‘kaleidoscope’ is derived from the Greek kalos ‘beautiful’ + eidos ‘form‘ + scopeo ‘to aim or watch’ and means ‘aiming at beautiful forms.’ This ambition runs through all the works in the show, but the kaleidoscope not only aimed at beautiful forms but also produces a new, artificial idea of beauty through its fragmented images reflected through mirrors. In the beginning, the kaleidoscope was a competitor for photography and related ‘tele-views’ such as the telescope, later the camera, and eventually television that captured reality and projected it at a distance. The first produced imaginary images while the other precisely recorded what it ‘saw.’
The idea of production and fragmentation is related to the curators’ personal experiences in Kosovo. While the pressures from history and the present are evident, there is equally a real energy to produce new realities and to see beauty in the possibilities that might lie ahead. Indeed, the close historical relation between truth and beauty—the one being found in the other—inspired the choice of the title and the focus on beauty in everyday reality.
As well as each person’s own perception of their own environment, there are other people that tell the stories to a wide public through the media. This is true in Kosovo, where the dramatic changes in recent years have been subjected to the harsh lens of the press. In our contemporary culture, we could speak of the media as a telekaleidoscope, a single machine that gathers, produces, projects, and fragments our view of reality at the same time. In this environment, it seems important to discover where beauty might be found outside its traditional expression, and to learn how to see and value what is in the immediate locality. This is what the individual vision of the artist can bring to the situation and help others to see what was previously invisible.
The artworks in the exhibition are principally intended to be a way to understand what we might mean by ‘aiming at beautiful forms’ in the early 21st century, both here in Kosovo and further afield. In today’s art, beauty can emerge in a moment of discussion, in light falling on a suburban landscape painting, or in the movement of a hand in a video. The exhibition also responds to the transfixing visual beauty of an image of crisis or collapse that lingers even after we know the real stories behind the moment.
Together, this exhibition will hopefully allow visitors to discover that ‘no ordinary beauty’ that goes all the way back to the spinning kaleidoscope and its aiming at beautiful forms.