September 15, 2020 - Secession - Edi Hila: The Sound of the Tuba / Emily Wardill: Night for Day
September 15, 2020


Edi Hila, A tent on the roof of a car, 2017. Photo: Jens Ziehe. Courtesy: Kontakt / The Art Collection of Erste Group and ERSTE Foundation.

Edi Hila: The Sound of the Tuba
Emily Wardill: Night for Day
September 18–November 8, 2020

Press conference: September 17, 11am, Please register*
Opening: September 17, 4–8pm

Friedrichstraße 12
1010 Vienna
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 2–6pm

T +43 1 587530710
F +43 1 587530734
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Edi Hila
The Sound of the Tuba
Edi Hila’s career as an artist is inextricably bound up with the specific political history of Albania. In the early 1970s, the young artist was barred from exercising his profession, and almost 20 years went by before he was officially permitted to take up art again and exhibit his work.

His “second career” began after the collapse of the People’s Socialist Republic of Albania (1944–1990). The works Hila created after the regime change attest to the need to reinvent himself as an artist in utterly changed circumstances, but they also document the upheavals that transformed an entire country and its people. Hila is an astute observer: his pictures are about change, about hope and frustration, about the inventiveness and creativity of ordinary people, about the fight to survive and the struggle for democracy, about social values and aspirations. Architecture and the urban environment provide him with the settings of his scenes. Many works visualize social shifts indirectly, by capturing their reflections in everyday life, in buildings, in the fabric of the city. Working in series allows him to repeat and vary a theme in order to chart it in all its facets while experimenting with different formal and compositional solutions. Earthy tones in harmonious combinations increasingly predominate in his palette; subtle nuances blend into each other and disintegrate the forms, sometimes to the edge of abstraction, lending the pictures a dreamlike and mysterious ambiguity.

In the exhibition The Sound of the Tuba, Hila presents around 20 paintings from different series he has worked on in recent years as well as a small selection from his output of the late 1990s. The presentation traces a historical arc, connecting today’s global migrant and refugee flows to the major wave of emigration after the fall of the Albanian regime and politically motivated deportations in the early years of Albanian communism. Juxtaposing historic and contemporary realities, Hila’s pictures render the singular features of each as well as surprisingly rich parallels between them, inviting the viewer to reflect on the present situation.

Edi Hila was born in Shkodra in 1944 and lives and works in Tirana.


Emily Wardill
Night for Day
Emily Wardill’s films, photographs, and objects probe the complexity of perception and communication, the question of how reality appears authentic to us, and the displacements of substance and form effected by the individual nature of the imagination. Her work has won acclaim for the sensual and psychologically fraught yet fractured narratives which she constructs.

In her exhibition Night for Day at the Secession, Emily Wardill debuts her most recent film project, an installation of film and sculptures that weave into one another, and the film I gave my love a cherry that had no stone (2016).

For Night for Day (2020), Wardill constructs a feigned mother-son relationship. Her source material is a series of extensive interviews with Isabel do Carmo, a revolutionary resistance fighter against the fascist regime in Portugal that fell in 1974, and two young men, Alexander Bridi and Djelal Osman, astrophysicists who run a startup in Lisbon that develops software enabling computers to recognize moving images. These different strands allow Wardill to, as she puts it, “think about what would happen if a communist revolutionary gave birth to a techno utopian, if gender as performativity was thought through the lens of women making the political decision to live clandestinely in Portugal for a large part of the 20th century and if the ‘Last Woman’ were the fembot from The Tales of Hoffman.”

Emily Wardill was born in the UK and lives and works in Lisbon.

Artist’s books are published in conjunction with each exhibition.

The exhibition program is conceived by the board of the Secession.

*Register for press conference: presse [​at​]

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The Sound of the Tuba
Emily Wardill
Night for Day
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