The Echoing Silences of Metal and Skin, a sculptural installation by Doruntina Kastrati curated by Erëmirë Krasniqi. 

This marks the first time that the Kosovo Pavilion has chosen to showcase a project that addresses the issues of women in unregulated economies. Aligned with the 60th edition of La Biennale di Venezia—which focuses on foreignness as an internalized state and as a condition created as a result of inequality, exclusion and global crises, the Kosovo Pavilion creates a language for an experience particular to estrangement of women in the context of production, whose larger context is a society that still shapes its national, historical and cultural narratives through a patriarchal lens.

Departing from her immediate surroundings, her mother’s experience at the Turkish Delight factory, with whom Kastrati communicated almost exclusively through notes that she left for her each day on a piece of paper outlining the day’s duties and obligations, her project, The Echoing Silences of Metal and Skin, brings into public view her mother’s and other women’s narratives, who work at the margins of society. Factory work is repetitive and performed only while standing. In this line of work, close to one third of women undergo knee replacement surgery; the metal objects surgically implanted in their knees are material traces of their long working hours yielding little pay. Intending to prompt reflection on why and how exploitative labor practices have been able to persist, the artist will do so abstractly, through a showcase of large-scale sculptures, emphasizing the embodied characteristics of materials, particularly metal. The work is accompanied by sound.

The Echoing Silences of Metal and Skin includes a research-based publication that features oral histories with former employees of the Turkish delight factory in Prizren. The interviewees are Fitnete Veselaj Kastrati, Shaije Dulaku, and Mimoza Mici. Their narratives are accompanied by photographic documentation by Majlinda Hoxha. Designed by Nita Salihu Hoxha—Studio Permanent. 

The International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia and the International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia are two of the most important international platforms for contemporary art and architecture. They alternate every year and are open to the public from May to November, each edition visited by 800,000 people.

The Republic of Kosovo has participated in the International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia since 2013. Past pavilions featured solo presentations by Petrit Halilaj (2013), Flaka Haliti (2015), Sislej Xhafa (2017), Alban Muja (2019), and Jakup Ferri (2022). Their presentations addressed identity politics, the 1999 Kosovo War, missing persons in Kosovo, and the way these experiences have been mediatized. The works that have previously been showcased in the Kosovo Pavilion resonate with one another and continue to influence the formation of collective narratives. Building on this precedent, Doruntina Kastrati’s sculptural installation encounters the estrangement of working-class women through inquiries into counter-histories, first-person narratives, and corporeal experiences.

The Kosovo Pavilion in the 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia is commissioned by Hana Halilaj, curator at the National Gallery of Kosovo, and organized by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport of the Republic of Kosovo.

Doruntina Kastrati is a visual artist based in Pristina, Kosovo. Her artistic practice spans across sculpture, installation, and moving images. In 2014, she was awarded the Young Visual Artist Award from the National Gallery of Kosovo, and she won the Hajde x 6 Award from the Hajde! Foundation in 2017. She has been in residence at the International Studio and Curatorial Program (ISCP) in New York (2015), Art House in Shkodër (2018), and Initiators in Athens (2018). Recent solo exhibitions include: A picture of pistachios destroying the railroad tracks to cut off the path of delights at Eugster in Belgrade (2023) and Here (Air Carries Poison But Yet We Breathe) at ChertLüdde in Berlin (2021). Selected group exhibitions include But you, yourself, with your own hand must open this door at Westfälischer Kunstverein, The Grand Scheme of Things at Manifesta 14 Prishtina (2022), Informator at the Hessel Museum of Art (2022); Life, Without Buildings at ETH Zürich, (2022), What if a Journey at the Autostrada Biennale (2021), Bigger than Myself – Heroic voices from ex-Yugoslavia at the MAXXI Museum (2021), Not Fully Human, Not Human at All at Kadist Foundation and Kunstverein Hamburg (2021-2022), Tirana Patience at the National Gallery of Arts in Albania (2020), and Public Heroes and Secrets at The National Museum of Kosovo (2020).

Erëmirë Krasniqi is an art writer, curator, and researcher based in Pristina, Kosovo. Krasniqi received her M.A. from Dartmouth College and B.A. from Bard College Berlin. As an independent curator, she has led and curated projects for the National Gallery of Kosovo, National Gallery of Arts in Albania, and 39th EVA International. Her curatorial and research practice engages with archives, oral history, and critical fabulation to account and redress absences in the historical record. Her research interests range from histories of socialist modernist art to grassroots expressions that challenge dominant historical narratives. From 2017 to 2024, Krasniqi was the executive director of Oral History Initiative, a digital resource which engages new forms of cultural production, supporting and advocating the essential work of media archives. 

Press preview for the Kosovo Pavilion: April 18, 2024, at 2:00 p.m.

Official opening of the Kosovo Pavilion: April 18, 2024, at 3:00 p.m.

 

Opening hours
Tuesday-Sunday, 10:00-18:00

Museo Storico Navale della Marina Militare
Riva S. Biasio, 2148,
30122 Venezia VE, Italy


Media:
Zaida Violan, Bureau N, International Press and PR, [email protected] 

Rina Meta, Communications Coordinator, [email protected]

Physical copies of textual materials about the Kosovo Pavilion can be sent to:

Galeria Kombëtare e Kosovës
Str. Agim Ramadani, no. 360
10000 Prishtinë, Kosovo
redirect: Pavilion of the Republic of Kosovo

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