Closing remarks

Closing remarks

Tirana Open

Cauleen Smith, THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY TWO (still), 2012. Video, 78 minutes. Courtesy of the artist.

May 18, 2015

Tirana Open 1
May 6–13, 2015


Reflecting the increasing vibrancy of the arts in the Balkans, Tirana Open 1 brought together over 100 international artists, authors, musicians, filmmakers, architects and curators who presented a rich multi-disciplinary program of exhibitions, events, and public interventions. 

Reflecting on a city that is at once an old Roman center, Ottoman outpost, Italian Novecento archetype, Fascist utopian dream, an example of Stalinist brutalism, and finally, a model of contemporary (non) architecture run amok, Tirana Open 1 explored its locale as a vibrant lab of cultural hybridity and an alternative model for urban development and audience engagement.  

Tirana Open 1 is an invitation to a pass-the-word that Tirana is an urban square that has no cultural barriers, only porous borders of cultural belonging,” says festival co-director Helidon Gjergji. “By inviting international cultural practitioners to participate in this city-wide happening, we hope to make local institutions and the citizens of Tirana feel a bit like visitors in their own city, and to make visitors feel like citizens of Tirana. This is not a role play, but a playful reality.”  

paMUR, the festival’s contemporary arts section, presented a special guest project by celebrated artist William Kentridge, alongside a juried competition of video art by prominent international and local artists, grantingthe Danish Junkiou Award toChicago-based artist Cauleen Smith for her work The Way Out  Is the Way Two: Fourteen short films about Chicago and Sun Ra, 2012 (curated by Julie Widholm Rodrigues, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago). Ibro Hasanović‘s 30 Nov ’93 – Pieter Brueghel in the Letters of my Father (curated by Adela Demetja, Tirana Art Lab, Tirana) received a special mention by the competition’s jury Cathryn Drake, Michele Robecchi, and Edoardo Bonaspetti

Participating artists included Yuri Ancarani (Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin), Olivo Barbieri (MAXXI, Rome), Henry Chapman (T293 Gallery, Naples), Donika Cina (Galeria e Vogël, Tirana), Alberto Di Fabio (Gagosian Gallery, London), Nathalie Djurberg (Museo Pascali, Polignano a Mare), DZT Collective (Tirana Institute of Contemporary Art), Yllka Gjollesha (Zeta Gallery, Tirana), Elis Gjoni (Art Kontakt, Tirana), Felix Gmelin (Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art, Prishtina), Aurora Kalemi (Zenit Gallery, Tirana), Santiago Mostyn (Moderna Museet, Malmö), Alban Muja (Tulla Culture Center, Tirana), Marzena Nowak (Galerija Gregor Podnar, Berlin), Matilda Odobashi (FAB, Tirana), Anri Sala (Hauser & Wirth Gallery, Zurich), Sissi (MAM Foundation, Tirana), Stefanos Tsivopoulos (Thessaloniki Center of Contemporary Art), The Two Gullivers (Marina Abramovic Institute, Hudson, New York), Nasan Tur (Blain/Southern Gallery, London), Nico Vascellari (The National Gallery of Arts, Tirana), Kostis Velonis (Kunsthalle Athena, Athens), Driant Zeneli (Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella). 

Artist Adrian Paci (Shkodër/Milano) delivered a featured artist talk. The Music Venice Biennale and Italian contemporary opera company Cantieri Teatrali Koreja toured to Albania its acclaimed production Katër i Radës. Il Naufragio. The festival also featured concerts by prominent bands Fanfara Tirana and Gipsy Groove hosted by Tulla Sounds. Film selections included DocuTIFF, showcasing pioneering documentary cinema organized by the Tirana International Film Festival (TIFF) and a side-program of four recent Israeli films presented by The Academy of Film and Multimedia (MARUBI). Polis University featured an architecture program alongside Urban Laboratory Tirana Albania (ULTRA) which mounted its annual festival of commentary and ideas on urban life and the built space in the context of Tirana’s ever-changing nature of urban space, curated by Elian Stefa and featuring, among other projects, “Mapping Identity” by Antonio Ottomanelli.

Tirana Open 1‘s expansive book fair exhibited stands by the majority of Albania’s book publishers, daily reading events, with a special guest talk by celebrated Italian journalist, Roberto Saviano. The fair presented the Adrian Klosi Prize for best non-fiction book, awarded to Mustafa Nano for his work PaxAlbanica.

Tirana Open 1 was directed by Arlinda DudajHelidon Gjergji & Vladimir Myrtezai-Grosha and presented under the auspices of Edi Rama, Prime Minister, and the Ministry of Culture, Republic of Albania.   


Tirana Open 1 closing remarks
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May 18, 2015

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