For Venice Biennale Debut, Kosovo Taps Petrit Halilaj

Installation view of Halilaj's 'Several Birds fly away when they understand it' (2012) at Kunsthalle St. Gallen, 2012.

Installation view of Halilaj’s ‘Several Birds fly away when they understand it’ (2012) at Kunsthalle St. Gallen, 2012. (Courtesy the artist and Chert, Berlin)

The Balkan nation of Kosovo, which declared its independence in 2008, is going to the Venice Biennale for the first time this summer. This week the nation announced that it will send artist Petrit Halilaj to the event, with Kathrin Rhomberg handling curatorial duties. The upcoming biennale runs June 1 through Nov. 24, and the New Museum’s associate director, Massimiliano Gioni, is organizing the main show. (Thanks to Art Review for breaking the news.)

Here’s a bit of Ms. Rhomberg’s statement:

“Petrit Halilaj’s artistic practice is deeply rooted in a constant search of what reality is and how reality might be represented through art. His memories of a rural childhood, his personal experience of war, destruction, exodus and displacement are the very basis of his reflections on life and the human condition. …

“Petrit Halilaj’s art is unique, but this kind of transnational existence and experience that is at the core of his work, is not. On the contrary, to a varying extent it is an increasingly contemporary reality of everyone’s life and thus all the more radical, a starting point for Kosovo’s first appearance at the Venice Biennale.”

Mr. Halilaj, who was born in 1986, has a busy year ahead. He has solo shows coming up at Wiels, in Brussels, and the National Gallery of Kosovo. In 2014, he will have a show at the Fridericianum in Kassel, Germany.

A full list of artists representing nations at the Biennale is available here.