The artist Adrian Paci (born 1969) from Shkodra in north-western Albania achieved wide recognition through a video that is basically comprised of a single shot: The artist arranged 18 day labourers from his hometown Shkodra into a group picture on the steps of a stadium. They all sit next to a generator that supplies current to light bulb. Their “task” is solely to turn on the generator and then to hold the shining light bulb. The day goes by, and the radiance increases as if nothing had happened. Their faces show only their apathetic dedication to this Sisyphean-like negation of work. The video that veers between Beckett’s absurdist theatre and a sociological study captivates by means of its interleaving of collective, social, and aesthetical poetic dimensions.
Paci’s work deals with subject matters such as migration, globalisation, and cultural identity in seductively simple archaic images: the choice of media – video, installation, painting, or sculpture – seems secondary next to the desire to counter a complex social present with images that incise themselves on the retina.
The exhibition conceived especially for the Kunstverein Hannover gathers works from all the artist’s creative phases since 1997 that deal with the topic of biographical, cultural, and national identity. They are completed by two new films created for Hannover or shown here for the first time in an institutional setting respectively. Especially the film “Per Speculum” opens up new aspects in Paci’s work medially as well as contextually. The elaborate 35-mm production develops its magical as well as dream-like visual language in the hills of Southern England. Boisterous, playing, laughing children in trees and on meadows, a mirror that is destroyed with a targeted throw, the world that is reflected and lies shattered… seductive, simple images that show everything and don’t really resolve anything.
Paci above all shows works in Hannover that define a complex, and in an aesthetically productive sense baffling space between document and staging, between his own family and actors, between re-enactment and reality. Paci’s relative Clodi thus describes his odyssey between Albania, Mexico, Italy, the United States and back again in an eponymous piece. The history of a very private disaster on the search for luck and the Promised Land is an oppressive mirror image of current affairs as well as a wonderfully clownish self-dramatization of a gifted self-promoter. Like in all of Paci’s works, the truth lays at a wonderful place between the individual pictures and realities. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue and an edition.