ABETARE – Petrit Halilaj

 

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ABETARE – Petrit Halilaj – Wallpaper installation, scans from a book

There was a special focus on the book, as an object and as inspiration, in this year’s Venetian Biennale di Arte. Christine Macel, Curator of the 57th International Art Exhibition, even referred to the nine main sections of the exhibition as chapters.  The Pavilion of Artists and Books, rooted in an exploration of artistic practice, opens with works that illustrate the continuum of  otium and negotium, idleness and action, the fits and starts of intuitive creative production.

The pavilion, there’s no physical separation between the conceptual pavilions they flow into each other room to room, highlights artists’ relationship with books and knowledge as both inspiration and object.

Halilaj’s piece is a deconstructed a book spread over the surface of a few walls.

A digitally printed wallpaper is made from images of pages from Halilaj’s childhood alphabet book. Ubiquitous across cultures, alphabet books are used to teach children the basics of language as well as a social behavior and norms, two kinds of knowledge imparted.

The original book was passed from family to family in an effort to protect cultural identity during a time of oppression and lack. Reproducing the pages in this way, across a wall, in ABETARE the information is disseminated all at once, urgently, as an announcement across the viewer field of vision. There is a radical nature to exposing information that was once passed hand to hand to avoid detection.

The images are printed on a plasticky vinyl maybe, self adhered to the wall. The all-over-ness and encompassing environment is disrupted only by the work’s location in a hallway to the bathroom.

Again, again, over and over – that’s when it starts to get interesting.

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Back in Italy

It’s my first time back to Italy since moving from Cortona to Arkansas last year.

It’s reall fantastic to be here and not be worried about finding work or transporting art. Right now I’m just here to help my students and enjoy the sea.

I’m here with three ladies from the States. We’re focusing on the contemporary art exhibited at the Venice Biennale of Art. 
First impressions of being back? My Italian is better than I remember and it’s easier to try new words when I’m not overwhelmed. I think Italian grocery stores are my favorite in the whole world. Truffle, artichoke, and yoghurt are some flavors that are way more present here than in Arkansas. No one walks with their phones out, actually not much phone use in public at all. Tiny cappuccinos are still silky amazing. I’ve missed being surrounded by layers of history and strata of materials.

Venice is spectacular as always and more dear than ever before. 

So very grateful to return.

Excellent and Weird Studio Videos

I like having something on while I work in the studio. Usually it’s a TV show that I’ve already seen… like all of The Office or Parks n Rec so that I can work without really noticing it. These two You Tube videos are also good studio fodder. Soothingly nerdy and mostly plotless.

Star Wars Nothing But Star Wars – Mixtape is a 1.5 hour series of clips and b-sides from the hight of Star Wars cultural infiltration.  It’s rich with weird bits and call-backs.

 

Jurassic Park Walk-through by Research Indicates is 3.5 hours of watching someone play one of the worst video games of all time and soothingly narrated. This clip is only the teaser / history chapter, it goes on in further chapters of restrained humor.

 

Industrially Printed Fabric

Just another day in the printing factory. A great video that explains large scale printing onto fabric. This process is amazing.

It’s essentially the same process I use to make my towels… except I don’t have a chemicals cloud…and I use antique fabrics…and all my colors come from plants… oh and it’s just me making them…from design to sewing.

So yeah, this is different. But wow is this amazing, so much respect for what they’re trying to do.