Albanian-born artist Adrian Paci, currently based in Milan, enjoys a growing international reputation. This exhibition, co-produced with the Jeu de Paume gallery in Paris, comprises paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs and videos that investigate socio-political issues such as collective history and personal identity under conditions of migration.
Adrian Paci’s art acts in response to the historical, political and cultural transformation that emerged out of the upheavals experienced in Eastern Europe. Starting from his own experience, and that of his family and friends, Paci addresses such issues as exile, identity, memory and collective history, in a way that is both moving and straightforward.
This inaugural Canadian exhibition devoted to the Albanian-born artist offers a selection of works produced since the late 1990s, including Albanian Stories, 1997, his very first video, in which we see his three-year-old daughter telling her dolls fairytales that mix up fictional characters from her stories with soldiers and members of the international intervention forces. Paci applies the same intensity to staging and filming various rituals: his own funeral wake in Vajtojca, 2002, a bride-to-be’s final moments with her family in Last Gestures, 2009, or people by the hundreds lining up to shake his hand outside the church of San Bartolomeo in Sicily in The Encounter, 2011. Reaching well beyond his personal experience as an exile, Paci’s works seek to create a space where opposites come together: the real and the fictional, tangible and political, conflictual and fabulous. One example of this is the video The Column, produced specifically for the exhibition, which originates from an incredible story. Paci learned that it might be possible to have a marble sculpture made on board a “factory boat” as it sailed from China to Europe. The video captures the fascinating images of this sea voyage on which five Chinese craftsmen are busily carving the marble.
Adrian Paci was born in 1969 in Shkodër, Albania. He lives and works in Milan, where he is a lecturer at NABA art academy. Paci represented his country at the Venice Biennale in 1999 and has taken part in numerous group shows since then: at MoMA PS1, New York, in 2005, Manifesta 3, Ljubljana, in 2000, Tate Modern, London, in 2008, and MAXXI, Rome, and the Lyon and Havana biennials, in 2011. He has been featured in solo exhibitions at a number of museums: Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Kunstverein, Hannover, Center for Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, Bloomberg Space, London, and Kunsthaus, Zurich.
Adrian Paci. Lives in Transit is a co-production of the Jeu de Paume, Paris, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal and PAC Padiglione d’Arte Contemporanea, Milan. It received support from Québec’s Ministère des Relations internationales, de la Francophonie et du Commerce extérieur and France’s Ministère des Affaires étrangères (Consulate General of France, Québec City) in connection with the 64th session of the Commission permanente de la coopération franco-québécoise.