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Potential Monuments of Unrealised Futures

14th Architecture Venice Biennale
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potential monuments of unrealised futures

The Republic of Albania participates in the 14th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, with the Pavilion Potential Monuments of Unrealised Futures, exhibiting works by two Albanian artists: the series of paintings entitled “Penthouse” by Edi Hila, and the video and installation “The Column” by Adrian Paci. The Pavilion curated by Beyond Entropy Europe (Stefano Rabolli Pansera and Jonida Turani), is commissioned by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Albania and was realised thanks to the contribution of the Ministry of Culture, the Albanian Cabinet and the generous support of the artists, their galleries, collectors and private foundations.

Through the artistic research of Edi Hila and Adrian Paci and in line with the theme “Fundamentals – Absorbing Modernity: 1914-2014”, Potential Monuments of Unrealised Futures reveals a new reading of the interrupted trajectories of modernity in Albania. The Pavilion explores how architecture has been absorbed thanks to a reflection on the social and cultural dynamics inherently presented in the work of the two artists. The unrealised futures are the promises of modernity; partially realised, yet not completed. The invited artists weave real and constructed references, past and present, fiction and reality of the contemporary urban space beyond the traditional lexicon of architectural representation. Focusing their gaze on buildings, on the processes of construction and on unfinished architectural elements, the artists change the traditional architectural point of view.

In the potentiality created by the fragmented and not concluded plans, the conditions of a new spatiality lie based on the concept of potentiality considered as a value to be preserved. The unrealised projects of modernity become potential monuments. With the series “Penthouse”, Edi Hila focuses his gaze on the unfinished architec-tures diffused in peri-urban contexts. The domestic architectures dispersed in the landscape are elevated onto plinths becoming imagined architectures loaded with rhetorical and monumental elements such as arches, pediments and pilasters. “Penthouse” reveals new conceptual models for transforming the traces of modernity as possible spaces for a new monumentality.

The work The Column by Adrian Paci is articulated in two elements: the projection of the video and the column resting horizontally just outside the exhibition space. The video shows the transformation of a block of marble into a Corinthian column on a factory-ship in the ocean. The column, universal architectural element, emerges from the labour of a group of workers, who, covered in dust, become an extension of the sculpture. Once completed, the column, detached from its context, is not erected but remains horizontal, in a state of impotence, of perpetual tension and potentiality.

Through the concept of potentiality, the exhibition Potential Monuments of Unrealised Futures suggests new strategies for inhabiting the contemporary Albanian territory. Albania has faced a phase of tumultuous urbanisation that saw the rise of migration from the countryside to the cities that began in the early 1990’s, after the collapse of the totalitarian regime. The capital, Tirana, is the paradigm of a territorial condition that is recurring in the entire country, a country that stands between a ‘developing/transitional’ and ‘developed/static’ world. The traditional architecture, adopted in order to define a national identity, the imposition of Soviet urban plans and finally, the contemporary speculative wave, have produced a chaotic ensemble in which entropy exists not only towards the countryside, as in many other areas in Europe, but mostly within the city itself.