Tirana Open 1 2015

From 6 until 13 May 2015, the festival Tirana Open 1, organised in Tirana, the Albanian capital, brought together over 100 artists, authors, musicians, directors, architects, and international curators, presenting rich and multidisciplinary exhibition programme, events and public interventions. In a city that used to be an old Roman centre, an Ottoman outpost, an archetype of the Italian 18th century, a Fascist Utopian dream, an example of Stalinist brutality, and a model of contemporary Absurd architecture, Tirana Open 1 reflected the incredible enthusiasm of Balkan art, exploring a mixing of different cultures and offering an alternative to urban development. “Tirana Open 1 is an invitation to a pass-the-word that Tirana is the urban square that has no cultural barriers, but only porous borders of cultural belonging,” according to festival co-director Helidon Gjergji. “By inviting international cultural institutions to participate in this city-wide happening, we hope to make the local institutions and citizens of Tirana feel a bit like visitors in their own city, and to make visitors feel like citizens of Tirana. This is not a role play, but a playful...

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Armando Lulaj to represent Albania at the Venice Biennale

From 9 May until 22 November 2015, the Albanian Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale is to host Armando Lulaj’s project entitled “Albanian Trilogy: A Series of Devious Stratagems”, curated by Marco Scotini. The exhibition is to take place in the arsenal of Venice and consists of a reflection on the social history of Albania by presenting memorabilia and trophies of the past. Mixing fictional and documentary elements, the project focuses on an important historical and political period in the construction of both Albanian and international identity. The exhibition is to feature three videos: It Wears as It Grows (2011), NEVER (2012), and Recapitulation (2015), realised specially for the Venice Biennale. Also presented will be archive documents as well as a large skeleton of a whale personifying the Leviathan, the principle of Hobbesian sovereignty. Armando Lulaj currently lives and works in Tirana, the Albanian capital. He has participated in numerous fairs, including the sixth Berlin Biennale (2010), the Baltic Contemporary Art Biennial in Szczecin (2009), the fourth Göteborg Biennale (2007), the Venice Biennale (2007), the Tirana Biennale (2005), and the Prague Biennale (2003 and 2007), and has had solo exhibitions in Tirana and in...

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Artist becomes Prime Minister

Tirana, 3 July 2013, Art Media Agency (AMA). Artist Edi Rama has been officially appointed the Prime Minister of Albania, giving new hope for Tirana’s development as an artistic capital. As part of her new role, Rama is to construct artist studios, organise residency schemes, and encourage artists, critics and gallery owners from across the world to join the country’s creative scene. The artist received a strong majority of votes after a powerful, intelligent and well-directed campaign. In this economically difficult period, Albania is one of the few countries witnessing economic growth. As mayor of Tirana ten years ago, Edi Rama changed the face of the city’s buildings by painting their façades in different colours. This initiative was captured in a film co-produced by Anri Sala, a contemporary artist who has collaborated with the current Prime Minister, and who exhibited as part of 2003’s Venice Biennale. Even as Prime Minister, Rama still considers himself to be an artist, and took part in an exhibition at Munich’s Rudiger Schoettle in January 2013....

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The Golden Age of Albanian photography: The Marubi dynasty and the rhapsodes of light 1858-1945

Paris, 1 September 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA). An exhibition entitled “L’âge d’or de la photographie albanaise : La dynastie Marubi et les rhapsodes de lumière 1858-1945” (The Golden Age of Albanian photography: The Marubi dynasty and the rhapsodes of light 1858-1945) will soon be held at the Maison Européenne de la photography. This event will be on show from 5 October 2011 to 8 January 2012. Albania is not known for its contribution to the history of art photography. Nevertheless, the exhibition seeks to highlight this neglected art form. The Maison Européenne de la Photographie will present a century’s worth of images from this country, mixing European culture with oriental influences. Albanian photography started with Pietro Marubi, an Italian emigrant fleeing political repression from his country. He opened Albania’s first photography studio in 1858. Three generations of Marubis will follow in his footsteps. For about a century, the Marubi family have amassed more than 120,000 negatives. Several dozens of photographers also worked in Albania during the end of the 19th and 20th centuries. The selection of pictures reveal the political, social, cultural and religious diversity of the country. Following several years of research, sixty photographs have been carefully selected for this exhibition. After fifty years of totalitarianism, Albania rediscovers and shares a very rich chunk of its memory and heritage. This event was organised in cooperation with the Albanian embassy in Paris with the support of the Franco-albanian friendship group of the French Senate. It has been supervised by Loïc Chavin and Christian...

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Roman shipwreck found off Albania

Vlorë, 23 August 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA). A Roman shipwreck containing wine jars was found off the coast of Albania by an American-Albanian archaeological mission in August. The wreck, dating back to the first century B.C. was discovered by the team’s submarine. The 300 wine jars were, alas, all empty, since the corks were gone. Its cargo is believed to have been the produce of southern Albanian vineyards en route to western European countries, including France. The 30-metre long wreck was found 50 metres deep near the port city of Vlorë, 140 kilometres south-west of the capital, Tirana. Team members retrieved an amphora for examination, before restoring it to the wreck. The site, whose precise location is being kept secret, will be left unexplored until the Albanian archaeological service is in a position to do so. The month-long mission ended last week and will be resumed next year. It aims to eventually cover the whole Albanian...

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