STARTUP 2 - Page 91

Fireworks in my Closet SISLEJ XHAFA

After the solo in 2012 held at the French venue of Les Moulins, Galleria Continua is happy to host, for the first time in its exhibition space in San Gimignano, the works by Sislej Xhafa.

Ironic and subversive, Sislej Xhafa always manages to draw inspiration from the complexity and contradictions of reality.

Fireworks in my Closet includes new works created by the artist for this event and conceived bearing in mind the space on the lower floor of the former cinema theatre: the stalls, the stage, the gallery, the garden. These works, that greatly differ from one another, ironically and light-heartedly address issues such as migration, identity, marginalisation, violence in politics and society, questioning the complexity, unity and diversity of our modern society. Sislej Xhafa moved to Italy in 1993 and studied at the Florence Academy, then relocated to the United States, where he now lives. He left his homeland, devastated by dictatorship and war: he is a native of Kosovo, referred to by Albanians, the ethnic group he belong to, as Kosova. Renowned internationally for his research within social, economic and political environments associated to the numerous complexities of contemporary societies, Xhafa is interested in the phenomena of illegality and social strategies, and marks out the way in which they are unconsciously manipulated. The artist expresses himself by experimenting all media without partiality, from sculpture and drawing to photography, performance and video art. Ironic and subversive, Sislej Xhafa always manages to draw inspiration from the complexity and contradictions of reality. It was he, indeed, who suggested a clandestine Albanian pavilion at the Venice Biennale, used the Ljubljana train station as an Exchange where people’s dreams and hopes were sold instead of shares, decorated the waiting room of a police station in Ghent like a grand palace, offered a change in perspective to the visitors of the 2013 Venice Biennale, inviting them to perch on the branches of a tree to get their hair cut in a makeshift shop.

Sislej Xhafa, 2016, suitcase, tree branches, suitcase: 20 x 65 x 39 cm

Courtesy: the artist and GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana. Photo by: Ela Bialkowska, OKNOstudio