20th Edition of Onufri Prize. The exhibition gathers together the entries by 12 shortlisted artists from different countries. It investigates some of the new artistic practices and areas of research, demonstrating their links to today's changeable political situation, as a mirror of our constant doubt.
On December 26, at 18.00 hrs, The National Gallery of Arts is pleased to open the group show Praise of Doubt. This show is the principal result of the 20th ONUFRI PRIZE, a competition organized annually by the National Gallery, and named after the prominent Albanian medieval iconographer Onufri. The prize is the most significant public award for the visual arts in Albania, and is held under the aegis of the Ministry of Culture. The goal is to promote and support the vital role that art plays in raising public awareness and ability to “take the pulse” of our times.
The exhibition gathers together the entries by twelve shortlisted artists from different countries, chosen from among the 130 applications who responded to the Call for Entries.
Praise of Doubt, proposed by Italian curator Claudio Cravero for the new edition of the Onufri Prize, investigates some of the new artistic practices and areas of research, demonstrating their links to today’s changeable political situation, as a mirror of our constant doubt. In the selected artworks, doubt emerges as something that inevitably affects us all. At the social level, especially in the last decade, for the new generation (born between the mid 1970s and late 1980s) doubt has become a basic feeling, a vital instinct telling that generation which way to move. Also in countries that are now considered as the former Eastern Europe, where new forms of democracy seem to clash with a desire to experience Western models, artists have to make a choice between remaining rooted in the cultural context they were born and grew up in, or moving permanently abroad. So, dreams of change, of utopia, are in stalemate. And in this state of suspension, what prevails is the persistent feeling of doubt, coinciding with “being in the present”.
Artists like Driton Selmani (Kosovo, 1987), Endri Dani (Albania, 1987) and Irgin Sena (Albania, 1982, he lives in New York) are “half way”, between a desire to create and build for their own countries, and a sense of delusion over former cultural and social promises. Nevertheless, in this global era of hyper-flexibility and hyper-speed, artists from Albania to Kosovo, but also from Italy to Egypt, are taking a new approach to tackle the present day. There is no particular significance to the medium employed, but rather to the in-depth search for meaning. Jasmina Metwaly (Poland, 1982, she lives in Egypt), Alban Muja (Kosovo, 1980), Ivi Topp (Albania, 1985, he lives in France) and Marzia Migliora (Italy, 1972) are torn between a political and a revolutionary era that does not seem to take them very far: it seems neither to delve into the past (in terms of nostalgia for yesteryear), but nor does it look to the future. This lack of long-term perspectives is influenced by “ghost tracks” from the remote past. Former dictatorships or various different coercive forms of politics, even though they are part of history, seem to wave from far beneath the surface.
Some of the doubts arising from Praise of Doubt comprise a sort of “free-zone”, where today’s artist condition must be defended as a “totipotent” and invulnerable space dedicated to freedom and transformation. This kind of “immunity” is visible in the statements by Ergin Zaloshnja (Albania, 1979), Flaka Haliti (Kosovo, 1982, she lives in Germany), and in the drawings by Elton Kore (Albania, 1981). In this connection, also the installations by Py Verde (Italy, 1981; France, 1986; they live in Belgium) and the video by Silva Agostini (Albania, 1979, she lives in Germany) suggest a place subordinated by a series of tensions and forces. They reflect perseverance and extreme physical exertion, reminiscent of a type-3 lever, where the effort is applied between the fulcrum and the load.
Praise of Doubt becomes a metaphor for being positively hesitant when we make a strong mental effort in the attempt to achieve effective, or ineffective, action.
On January 30th 2014, during a public event at Tirana’s National Gallery, a jury of well-known specialists in contemporary art and culture will award the ONUFRI PRIZE to 2013’s winner.
Opening December 26, at 18.00 hrs
National Gallery of Arts
"Deshmorët e Kombit" Boulevard Tirana
Wednesday to Sunday 10.00 - 18.00
Last admission 17.40
Monday, Tuesday closed
seniors & students 100L