Sislej Xhafa: Lost and Found

Sislej Xhafa: Lost and Found

The Republic of Kosovo Pavilion at the Venice Biennale

Sislej Xhafa, lost and found (detail), 2017. Photo: Berin Hasi for Republic of Kosovo, National Pavilion of the 57th Venice Biennale. Courtesy GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Havana.


March 4, 2017
Sislej Xhafa
Lost and Found
May 11–November 22, 2017
Professional preview: May 10–12
Opening: May 11, 11am
The Republic of Kosovo Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
Museo Storico Navale della Marina Militare Riva S. Biasio
2148 30122 Venice Italy

The Republic of Kosovo has selected Sislej Xhafa for its third participation in the 57th Venice Biennale.

Xhafa is an internationally recognized conceptual artist with an extensive oeuvre that spans the last 20 years. His work provides a cornerstone for Kosovar contemporary art and proudly sets a benchmark for future generations of artists, helping establish a strong, distinctive artistic voice for the republic.

With a politically and socially charged conceptual practice that draws on multiple mediums, Xhafa’s consistent pursuit is to find the human element in inhuman conditions. As such, for the Kosovo Pavilion, he presents lost and found, an open-ended riddle in an austere architectural form. The pavilion provides a platform to find answers as well as further questions about universal issues of human rights and freedom, social injustice and threats to individual safety.

Xhafa’s daring, minimalist approach to the concept of a national pavilion addresses issues that have long concerned Kosovo, yet which are becoming increasingly global and urgent: from basic human needs such as lack of food, shelter and education—to societal concerns such as the uncertainty of our shared future and increasing restrictions on personal freedom. His presentation urges us to embark on a quest of discovery—both within ourselves and around the site—to find codes and unlock further clues, offering a chance to consider specific losses as well as identify and retrieve what is missing from ourselves.

The Pavilion is curated by Arta Agani, Director of National Gallery of Kosovo, who describes the work:

“The viewer will perceive displaced fragments of reality and questions begin to emerge. Simply by being removed from their usual surroundings, these fragments emit complex codes of both nostalgia and revolt, instilled with profound emotion by the artist that absorbs each and every phenomena with unusual sensitivity before translating them into a loud visual voice.

“Finally, the result that stands before us in Xhafa’s works is simplified into seemingly impulsive reactions to the environment that ensure clarity and sincerity of the emotion transmitted. This way it allows the viewer to perceive and accept this sincerity with ease, deciphering the codes that hide within the context.”

In light of recent events—both internationally and domestically in Kosovo—there has been no better time for Xhafa to represent his country and present such vital and acutely topical work through the world’s most high profile artistic platform.

Sislej Xhafa

Sislej Xhafa was born in Kosovo in 1970 and is based in New York City. Xhafa is known for works that could be described as “actions” or conceptual strategies which challenge cultural stereotypes, preconceived prejudices and institutional structures. Often exploring the modes through which contemporary society functions, he investigates social, economic and political realities to ultimately critique consumerism and its driving mechanisms. Indeed, the tangible social results of economic theories are at the heart of Sislej Xhafa’s artistic research, questioning the legal status of his country of origin, Kosovo.

Working in a variety of media from painting and drawing to sculpture and installation, his engagement with political dimensions is always indirect and implied, reflecting on social norms and strategies and the ways in which they are unconsciously manipulated.

Sislej Xhafa has received numerous awards, recently incusing the Academic Honoré from the Academy of Fine Arts in Florence, IT. He has a successful international career recognised by many leading museums and institutions and many of his public interventions and installations have become landmarks of the cities for which they were commissioned. He is represented by GALLERIA CONTINUA, San Gimignano / Beijing / Les Moulins / Habana; and BlainǀSouthern, London and Berlin.

Press Officer: Aferdita Krasniqiaferdita.krasniqi [​at​], T +37744500811

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The Republic of Kosovo Pavilion at the Venice Biennale
March 4, 2017

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