Onufri visual arts competition to feature 23 artists

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 20, 2015 11:46

Onufri visual arts competition to feature 23 artists

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  • German-Italian artist duo VestAndPage is curating the exhibition under the platform “The reason of Fragility, contemporary artists facing glass”

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TIRANA, Nov. 19 – Twenty-three Albanian and foreign artists will be showcasing their specially created works in Tirana in the 21st edition of the Onufri competition, Albania’s most important visual art event, in a comeback which will also feature Yoko Ono, the Japanese multimedia artist, widow of famous rock star John Lenon and New York-based Serbian performance artist Marina Abramovic among others.

The artists have been selected by VestAndPage, a German-Italian artist duo who is curating this year’s event.

VestAndPage was selected for their Sio2 curatorial platform “The reason of Fragility, contemporary artists facing glass” which the jury said has a universal and phenomenological spirit and overcomes the local condition or temporary transition period by especially focusing on the fragility of human relations both with each other as well as the environment around.

The duo known as VestAndPage is composed by German artist Verena Stenke and Venetian artist and writer Andrea Pagnes who have been working together since 2006, generating art in the mediums of live performance, filmmaking and writing, and as independent curators.

“It is exactly this concept that the exhibition aims to communicate, since in any way it may be judged, the experience of a vision of the essence of reality leads to a thought that art is not limited to the unsullied pleasure of pure aesthetic contemplation, but it is capable of generating a powerful reflection and consequent awareness on the multiple dimensions of meaning that are behind the human thought itself,” the curators say in their concept.

The seven Albanian artists, selected out of a total of 29 applications from Albania and Kosovo include Eros Dibra, Shqipe Jonuzi, Sead Kazanxhiu, Ermela Teli, Klodian Deda and artist duo Ermal Babci and Linda Doci. Armando Lulaj, who represented Albania in this year’s 56th edition of the Venice Biennale with the “Albanian Trilogy: A Series of Devious Stratagems” project is also part of the list of the invited artists.

The curators say the artists were selected for the critical engagement with a visual art and consumerist culture which is rapidly changing and raising questions and confirming the important changes in the private, social and political spheres through a clear artistic and conceptual assessment of the proposed concept, the glass, to explore understandings and interpretations of the work of art in itself.

The exhibition is scheduled to remain open at the National Art Gallery in Tirana from November 20 to January 3, 2016 when the competition’s winners are announced.

The Culture Ministry says last year’s absence of the Onufri exhibition was “a moment of reflection on the 20-year progress of the event with curators, artists and critics to coordinate energy on what has happened and what’s going to come.”

The visual arts competition is named after Onufri, a mid-16th century archpriest who was the most important painter of icons and murals of the early post-Byzantine era in Albania. His works influenced by the northern Greek painting of the Paleologus age, the Cretan School and western Gothic art can be seen in many churches in central Albania in Greece and in particular at the Onufri museum in Berat which was opened in 1986. Characteristic of Onufri’s works are strong colors, especially reds. Onufri’s two sons, Joan and Nikolla, were also icon painters of note.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times November 20, 2015 11:46