In London, “Refractive Vibes” Reflects on the Light-Filled Sculptures of Helidon Xhixha

Considering Helidon Xhixha’s growing reputation as a sculptor, it seems an opportune time to consider how exactly he developed his innovative approach. In London, Contini Art Gallery offers “Refractive Vibes,” a new exhibition that looks at Xhixha’s body of work so far—a sort of midcareer retrospective, if you will.

From his workspaces in Milan and Dubai, the Albanian-born artist tends to focus on form over function, which he pairs with a keen interest in how materials interact with light. He fuses aspects of design and fine art, resulting in works that are both visually stunning and structurally compelling. In particular, his sculptures often play with the traditionally smooth surface of stainless steel, distorting and fragmenting it to illuminate the relationship between light and metal.

Contini’s generously sized Mayfair gallery proves to be the perfect space to showcase the often monumental scale of Xhixha’s work. Older and more recent works are strategically placed next to one another to form visual comparisons, creating a commentary on the evolution of his approach to sculpting.

For instance, in the downstairs gallery space, a mirrored stainless steel sculpture called Illumination (2014) sits next to Steel Wall (2008), a darker, more classical work made of iron. The more recent piece shows how Xhixha’s forward-thinking practice has flourished around the idea of sculptures as abstract forms of pure light and reflection.

Xhixha’s impressive CV—including public and private commissions across the world as well as a popular contribution to the 2015 Venice Biennale—is a testament to his status as an increasingly in-demand artist. This show serves as a kind of formal introduction to London’s contemporary art scene. In September of this year, Xhixha will showcase new work at the first ever London Design Biennale—the next step in his already formidable career.

 

—Lara Monro


Helidon Xhixha: Refractive Vibes” is on view at Contini Art UK, London, Mar. 16–May 31.

Follow Contini Art UK on Artsy.

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