Visual artist Adrian Paci has exhibited in major art institutions and biennials such as P.S.1, the Tate Modern and the Biennial of Seville. His work focuses on the social and political situation of his native country, but also speaks of shifting identities and the elements that shape our daily lives, such as politics, culture and religion.
Although the theme of exile is an important part of his work, since leaving Albania in 1997 and relocating to Milan to escape from the Kosovo War, it is not inclusive. His work is very autobiographical, but maintains an universal emotional pull that draws viewers in.
In Per Speculum, the artist presents a pastoral vision of children playing with light and reflection. The title of the film refers to the Bible’s First Letter to the Corinthians: videmus nunc per speculum in aenigmate tunc autem facie ad faciem 13:12 (‘We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face’). In one scene, the camera focuses on a group of children staring at the viewer. As the camera pulls away, we realize that what we have seen is only a reflection; a mirror standing on a grassy field with the children’s reflection. As we wait for something to happen, one of the children takes out a sling-shot from his pocket and shatters the reflection. In another scene, the same children play with shards of a mirror on tree branches, reflecting the sun to the camera. A broader take reveals the glares of the mirrors shining from different branches of the tree, creating a spectacle of light.
Touching more political themes is the video Centro di Permanenza Temporanea, where the artists films a group of people, mostly Mexican, standing on an aircraft stairway in an airport in California. The camera focuses on their faces, the eternal wait of the traveller. But when the camera pans out, we see that there is no plane for them to catch. They are stranded in the middle of nowhere, between one thing and the other. Curiously enough, the title of the work is taken from an Italian refugee camp.
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