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Flaka Haliti National Gallery of Kosovo

Last Time When I Googled You, You Looked Different

2014
Prishtina, KO
National Gallery Pristina
Type: Consulting
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Flaka Haliti NG

Credits
  • All artworks by Flaka Haliti
  • Curated by Markus Miessen

 

Flaka Haliti is not interested in the recent debate on the political per se. She avoids and escapes the fashionable. Her credo goes more like: less political to be more political. In Haliti’s work, one easily understands that the personal itself becomes the subject of the political.

The exhibition at the National Gallery sets out to present a frozen moment of a personal journey. However, it exists as a moment that spans different phases of Haliti’s artistic production, ranging from the immediate reaction against situational realities to the reflective and projective practice, which drives her work today. As opposed to her recent show at MUMOK in Vienna, the exhibition in Prishtina is devised and conducted as a more personal endeavour, which – of course – is strongly linked to and driven by the geographical context in which it is taking place.

One of Haliti’s works, “Untitled”, a series of upside-down placed concrete pillars becomes even more emphasized and consolidated by the very context in which it appears here in Kosovo. The pillars are modeled after the very concrete structures, which resemble the presence of the United Nations. At the National Gallery, the installation evokes that the building itself is resting on the concrete pillars as if they were meant to be a form of institutional support. Simultaneously, these objects of militarized security could be read as a wall, which blocks the perspectival panorama that would potentially open up an unobstructed and coherent view towards the almost comical impression of Haliti’s unlimited sky of clouds, titled “I See a Face. Do You See a Face.”. This could be understood as the ultimate intrusion from the outside: the United Nations not only assuming the role of a body, which has been mandated to secure the geographical borders, but that has administratively infiltrated the very institutional backbone of a country. Haliti is both demilitarizing and deconstructing the use and meaning of those forms.

The most perceptive absurdity and relevance as to Haliti’s biography presents itself in the work titled “My Balls”. The piece presents bull’s testicles. It was originally placed in the Muslim Mulliqi award show, the most important contemporary art award in Kosovo, at the National Gallery in 2007. In the context of “Last Time When I Googled You, You Looked Different“ Haliti’s seminal work is now being re-installed for the first time, seven years after the fact. Arguably, Haliti’s mission seems to be accomplished, that is to say to break the habit of male domination in Kosovo’s contemporary art scene.
Whereas “My Balls” should be understood as a starting point of Haliti’s trajectory, “I See a Face. Do You See a Face.” and “I was like you before I got stoned by the fresh air” present astute examples of Haliti’s most recent production. In the context of the exhibition at the National Gallery “I was like you before I got stoned by the fresh air” should be read as a body or identity transformation in reference to the title. It invites the audience to read and experience the stone primarily as a speaking subject and not an object.
In an age of all-encompassing digital existence, “Last Time When I Googled You, You Looked Different” allows for Haliti’s rendering of automated versus outsourced emotions to fully unfold – one, which lies somewhere between truth and reality. Exploring this thin line of the production of contemporary reality, her work interrogates both the illusion and danger of distance – physical, emotional and otherwise. Haliti understands illusion as a projection: a projective practice that attempts to bridge the gap between daily life and that, which is perceived as reality. One can approach it from a distance and make sense (or not) of it by focusing on the very titles of her works: to produce a title as a form of producing a work.