From the Curator, Kathrin Rhomberg
“Being invited to contribute to the realisation of Kosovo’s first appearance at the Venice Biennale is a great privilege for me, all the more so, due to the symbolic significance attached to the decision that Kosovo be represented at the Venice Biennale for the very first time. The invitation comes with a high degree of responsibility, which I would have been more anxious about, were it not for the artist Petrit Halilaj, who has been chosen to represent Kosovo in Venice this year.
Petrit Halilaj’s artistic practice is deeply rooted in a constant search of what reality is and how reality might be represented through art. His memories of a rural childhood, his personal experience of war, destruction, exodus and displacement are the very basis of his reflections on life and the human condition. The artist moves back and forth between different countries, between Kosovo, where he grew up and where his family and many friends are; Italy, where he studied; and Berlin, where he temporarily lives. This transnational way of life not only adds to his experience but is also representative of Petrit Halilaj’s specific way of exploring art and reality, and of his continuing attempts to translate or even transform the one into the other. His art can be seen as building bridges between different worlds and realities, ideologies, different generations and phases of life.
Petrit Halilaj’s art is unique, but this kind of transnational existence and experience that is at the core of his work, is not. On the contrary, to a varying extent it is an increasingly contemporary reality of everyone’s life and thus all the more radical, a starting point for Kosovo’s first appearance at the Venice Biennale.”