Sunday, November 30, 2008

'Free your mind' video

'Free your mind' Video 9:45 min 2004

One of the first projects that I completed is a video entitled Free your mind. The video of Marina Abramović was my starting point and it gave me the idea for my work.  However, I was not very happy with the first form of the idea and, therefore, I continually tried to find a way to differentiate my work from that of Marina. What should an artist do to respect the source of his inspiration, the work of a famous colleague who has made a name for herself, and at the same time, to distance himself from that work and that name, and to become himself?   For a moment, I thought about how I could free myself, not from the influence, but from the torture of trying to find myself in the work of another artist, if I repeated out loud the famous name, until it lost its meaning.   Then, I realised that this is a way to be freed from every name and influence.  I started to spontaneously call the names of the artists that came to my mind and who have influenced me in one way or another.  I felt that I was doing some kind of exorcism.  In a way, I was respecting those names, but at the same time, I was freeing myself from a weight, from all that I had accumulated on my mind in the form of preferences and influences, by taking them off of me and converting them into empty sounds, which one after another, were lost in time and space...

'Speak UP' video


'Speak UP' video 0:43 min

If you speak English, is there a need to speak any other language? The majority will say it would have been good but not necessary,but then what about Albanian, a language spoken by a small nation?

The author of the ’Speak UP’ video, in a way, doesn’t agree with it. He invites one of his colleagues from a far away country and starts teaching her some of most frequent words of communication in Albanian.  The girl on the video didn’t memorize much, and therefore the video didn't last long, less than a minute. Author is questioning the public opinion on, whether we have to learn onlyone language and use it as the only mean of communication.

'Prime Minister' video

'Prime Minister' Video 2:30 min

The idea of this video was supposed to be the regime that we are currently facing, but then it turned out being a double regime. Two boys, in this case my young cousins, must agree with the tradition of circumcision ceremony that satisfies the whole family but not them; the whole ritual confuses them. In this video I have presented two stories; that of a surgeon, who left the  profession to become a prime minister, and that of an Imam who sings for the  boys which are again facing a regime – in this case the religious one. Many years ago I have been also circumcised.  I bought a bicycle with the money that I earned from the ceremony. Maybe this is the only chance when the kids get money for the use of their personal requests. 

'Museum of Contemporary History' C-print

'Museum of Contemporary History' C-print 2004

 I was born in the city in which bridges have a different function; instead of connecting, they divide.

I was born in the city where these bridges divide two communities that are totally different from one another -- serbs in the North and albanians in the South – both with different views.

I was born in the city identified by the “Iber” bridge.

I was born near the bridge which is defacto a Museum, a Museum of Modern History, even though dejure is not so.

I was born near the “Ibri” river

I was born in Mitrovica.

'Meat Shop' performance

 'Meat Shop' performance 2005

National Gallery of Art, Tirana Albania  

The work of Alban Muja, entitled “meat shop”, start from a displacement of the context of a daily action like to go to buy meat.  The action consists in fact in inviting a butcher to move his activity on the sidewalk in front of the National Gallery.  This kind of action show how the artist see the society, “another" look outside the same social system and for this reason deep and careful in catching those small particular that, emphasized, transform one small situation in the manifestation of a global problem. Muja places this accent in almost all his artistic production like in "Museum of Contemporary History" where a simple landscape photography becomes, with the intervention of the artist, a document on present and past history of Kosovo, or like in "Free your mind" where pronouncing all the names of the personages of the art world that he remembers, he constructs a bridge between his memory, his informations and all the things that the artistic “power" promotes and recognizes like art. 

In meat shop, the work thought purposely for 1/60insurgent space, the artist elevates to art work a moment of every day life (buying meat), involving the artistic institution (the National Gallery) and the political power.  The happening will be, in fact, three days before the political elections that, like in the best (or the worse one) tradition, construct a facade useful in order to demonstrate all the good things that were made or are being made, in order to convince people not to interrupt this process.  Alban Muja shows the hidden facade, that no one wants to show, the died meat, ready to being consumed, but first of all, the common action of a common person, that kind of person of which all speaks about but nobody really cares about them, except at the moment of the vote. Instead, the Alban Muja’s art bring in foreground, just this common and "poor" moment giving it a very important place in the cultural life, elevating it to global problem.

 Stefano Romano 

'Tourist city’ - art action in public space

Tourist city’ - art action in public space 2007

Novi Sad, Serbia

With the changes of ascendancies in Balkans the political changes happened quite frequently towards the society which was not of the same nationality as the one of the effective politics. Hence, this action of mine, came during the time of his residency in Novi Sad (Vojvodina), Serbia.The city was then leaded by a radical political force, which has changed even the names of the streets, writing them only in Cyrillic, while adjusting them only with their radical solicitations, respectfully with the alphabet easy understandable just for a part of town community. Preliminarily those street name tables, as anything else, were written into two and some case in three languages, while showing its multi-ethnicity and not its radicalism, as the city leaders were, which in a paradoxical way came to power. I undertook his action in the main city streets, while converting their names into Latin writing, for all the people which don’t understand Cyrillic writing, while making the orientation much easier for the tourists visiting the city. I disposed tables in some of the main streets of the city, and meantime some were damaged just a few hours after the action 

'Window seat' drawing project

window seat”  20 drawings 2007

 “Windows seat” is a sequence of drawings created by Alban Muja during his last year flights to US.

“My first impression about US made 10 thousand meters above and while approaching the Continent, was that I’m looking at an artistic work.”

Seated near the window, Alban Muja was looking at the crossings of strange lines, sometimes straight, while sometimes fractured, although like painted by a hand of a skittish child. A thick line in horizon was restraining the sea from the land and, at the same time, the light from the darkness. It looked like the race among water and earth, aiming to occupy as much space possible. Sometimes the earth thrust into the sea or created a row of islands, while sometimes the sea thrust far inland, were it often converged with the curved lines of rivers which were flowing from the edge of the utterly dark horizon. Alban had nearby a black marker pen and few paper sheets; hence he began making sketches of those compositions. Later, when the plane was flying above urban areas, he noticed in front of him a lot of geometrical shapes of an urban world, which were, all separately, aiming to be adjusted, although altogether they’ve created an abstract composition.

“Occasionally I was seeing forms of expressive abstraction, while occasionally those of a geometrical abstraction”.  In both cases, the flurries of creation were slamming – those of Nature (or God, if you prefer), or those of Men.“Thereupon, during every other journey from the East to the West Coast, or vice versa, I was always looking to get a seat near the window – ‘Windows Seat’. And, I continue to fill my sheets with drawings of America, from above”.

Shkelzen Maliqi