diary curated by Denis Isaia / www.igiornidimezzo.blogspot.com
Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani is pleased to present “This is a Castle!”, a solo exhibition of works by Driant Zeneli, which is opening the 2010-2011 season. Asking himself “How many Ferdinand Chevals will there be in Albania in future?”, Driant Zeneli invited the gallerist and the curator Denis Isaia to follow him on a journey through the new castles of Albania. He as- ked the gallerist to photograph him and, in turn, to be photographed by her in front of these new construc- tions, leaving it to the curator to interpret the story of this experience in a diary.
Just as anonymous figures in Socialist Realism pictures convey the values of work and collectivism, so through the large photos in the exhibition the artist and gallerist illustrate the dreams, whims, and contradic- tions of the mediaevalist revival with which Albania is interpreting its own cultural “Renaissance” and its own approach to capitalism.
Inspired by an eclectic imagination and a desire for uniqueness and possession, individual Albanians have begun constructing castles to house catering and entertainment establishments. Most of these castles are built by returning emigrants, and they compete in number and eccentricity to become the new, successful landmarks of a post-communist landscape, and – possibly with quite another premonition – to replace the bunkers built by the Chinese in the 1960s. Even though gathered together in the space of an intuition, the project tells the story of the social, commercial, and architectural changes that are sweeping through the country, and of the imbalances that are moving from the west towards the south and east, only to return in a sinister new form.
Driant Zeneli (1983, Shkoder, Albania) is a young artist who is Albanian by birth and upbringing, though he completed his studies in Italy, where he now lives. His investigations have made their mark among emerging artists with the actions he organises and then records on video and in photographs, and with the irony with which he observes the evolution of contemporary society and the mechanisms of human nature. The 2008 winner of the Onufri International Contemporary Art Prize, Tirana, which is awarded to the most important emerging artists in Albania, and the Young European Artist Trieste Contemporanea Award, Trieste, in 2009, he has taken part in group exhibitions in Albania, Italy, and other countries. These include “Albanian Artists in Dada Museum”, Janco Dada Museum, Ein Hod, Israel; “Così vicina. Così lontana. Arte in Albania prima e dopo il 1990”, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce, Genoa, Italy; “Three Stories of Balance on the Threshold of Fiction”, De Bunker, Den Haag, Netherlands; “Traccia 01”, Galle- ria Martano, Turin, Italy. Special projects include: “This Will Be My Space!”, White Project Gallery, Pescara, Italy; “The Dream of Icarus Was to Make a Cloud”, Studio Tommaseo, Trieste, Italy; and “More to Come”, Upload Art Project, Trento, Italy.