A contemporary artist of international significance, Adrian Paci (Albanian born, 1969) gained recognition in Europe during the 1990s, with increasing visibility in the States beginning in 2005. Trained as a painter, Paci’s practice now extends to include videos, sculptures, photography, and installations. His contemplative works address themes of displacement, memory, preservation of the past, as well as cultural exchange.
The Civil War in Albania in 1997 prompted Paci to flee his homeland for Milan, Italy, where he continues to reside with his wife and two children. This life-altering event had a profound effect on the artist, leading him to make work that drew on his exile from Eastern Europe. In many ways, his approach to making images is about the exchange between two cultures, transcending personal history to reflect a broader collective understanding of the immigrant experience.
SAM is screening a focused selection of Paci’s videos dating from 1997–2007, including a work that brought him to the forefront of the contemporary art world. Albanian Stories (1997) is one of the first videos Paci made after immigrating to Italy. This video shows his then three-year old daughter Jolanda telling the tale of a cow, a cat and a rooster. Her mythic story is a blend of the real and imagined, as she conflates and collages her own memory of leaving their homeland of Albania with a children’s story she is reciting to the viewer. This playful, but no less moving, work was exhibited in the first Albanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1999.