Erzen ShkololliPejë, Kosovo, 1998
Artist Talk, 6 April, 3.30 pm
During the opening there will be a conversation between Charles Esche and Erzen Shkololli. The conversation will focus on his work within the context of the war as well as the artistic developments in Kosovo since their independence. Please make reservations using the reservation form. Location: Auditorium museum.
Pejë, Kosovo, 1998
Looking at the long banner, genderless red figures jump out at the viewer. Most of the schematically drawn figures have their hands up, interspersed with coffins, houses and flowers all in strong colours on a black background. The works have an almost Matisse or COBRA-like quality to them, European artists from the 1950s who were also active in the immediate aftermath of a war. They might also seem emotionally flat given the subject matter, devoid of compassion and without depth or perspective, yet this flat colour creates a
very clear form. Shkololli’s naive or infantile forms install a certain degree of discomfort, faced as we are by the beauty of the colour and composition while confronting childlike images of death.
Alongside Shkololli’s patchworks, drawn postcards printed in seductive colours are placed on a table. These postcards are some of hundreds painted by children in the refugee camps in the immediate weeks after the war as part of a humanitarian rehabilitation project. Erzen worked with the children, in an attempt to normalise their experiences whilst at the same time coming to terms with his own experiences. The postcards have the same mysterious quality as the patchworks - at once beautiful and disturbing.
Erzen Shkololli (born 1976, Pejë, Kosovo), is an artist and curator. Currently he is the director of National Gallery of Kosovo, co-founder of EXIT Contemporary Art Institute in Pejë.