Helidon Xhixha's Distorted Sculptures Connect to the History of Pietrasanta
Contini Art UK is proud to introduce Shining Rock, Helidon Xhixha’s newest exhibition featuring works that reflect a pivotal moment in the artist’s life, as he transforms his style by incorporating and experimenting with new mediums. This exhibition, curated by the Italian art critic Luca Beatrice, will be running from June to September of 2016 in Pietrasanta, Tuscany.
Having been brought up by a family of artists, Xhixha was quick to discover his passion and purpose. He studied art at the Brera Academy in Milan, which affirmed his interest in modern art, and later completed his graduate degree at Kingston University in London. The artist’s diverse background and unique experiences have helped shape who he is as a person and thus as an artist.
Xhixha's early works focused on the organic and natural world as well as on evoking a sense of monumentality. Xhixha soon developed a style in the form of steel sculptures, which portrayed metal bodies with a seamless surface that had been distorted. In doing this, the artist juxtaposed order with chaos as well as steel, a solid material, with light that cannot be touched. Jackson Pollock is an artist that influenced Helidon Xhixha on his journey as an artist, largely due to his paintings’ rhythmical, spontaneous nature and abstract forms.
Xhixha’s most renowned works are his dynamic stainless steel sculptures with lustrous and contorted surfaces. These contortions serve to manipulate the direction of light and bend it in interesting ways. In the exhibition at Pietrasanta, the artist has tested and pushed the limits of steel to produce his works while experimenting with marble and bronze. He specifically chose these mediums, as Pietrasanta is known to have the highest quality of marble and premium metal foundries.
Michelangelo and his contemporaries also used this particular kind of marble, which is known as Carrara marble. These great masters produced beautiful, realistic, and emotionally-charged sculptures by understanding the properties of marble and taking advantage of them. Therefore, to respect the material and its culture, Xhixha produced works using the marble and bronze from this region and combining it with his unique style. This sets the course for a change or, rather, an evolution of style.
In addition to this new direction in the artist’s practice, Xhixha has also included some of his more familiar pieces. Pillars of Light depicts stainless steel pillars or columns containing his signature distortion; the piece was brought from the 2015 Venice Biennale exhibition to Pietrasanta. This particular work fits in with the theme of the Pietrasanta exhibition especially due to its placement in the church of Sant’Agostino, which then formed a bond between the history of the place with the style of the artist. This union is what Xhixha has tried to convey in his latest works.
The philosophy of alchemy is one that permeates the exhibition. This age old belief marks the idea of transition and represents the purpose behind the exhibition. It signifies a time for the artist to transition into a new style through intense experimentation and conceptualization. Despite the change in material, Xhixha’s works in the Pietrasanta exhibition still depict distorted, abstract figures that evoke energy, restlessness, and spirit. These works, similar to Xhixha’s previous ones, also assimilate into the shared environment and interact with it producing an unparalleled experience for the viewers. This exhibition opened up the town of Pietrasanta to the world, while still emphasizing and preserving its historic past.
—Lia de Souza Sanchez