The precarious life of Adrian Paci

Hürriyet Daily News
August 1, 2010

The precarious life of Adrian Paci

The precarious life of Adrian Paci

The Istanbul Modern is hosting a new exhibition until Aug. 22, titled “Precarious Life,” by Adrian Paci.

“Precarious Life” is the title of this solo exhibition, featuring Adrian Paci’s work from 2000 to 2008. Its title refers to the lives of individuals portrayed in each one of the videos, and to the thin thread of uncertain survival, albeit sustained by the strength of tradition.

Each work focuses on part of Paci’s life as the artist tries to reflect his life within the different periods of time.

“A Real Game,” which was created in 2000 shows Adrian Paci’s four-year-old daughter telling her life story to her father, unexpectedly introducing adult notions such as “birth certificate,” “banks,” and “Italian Embassy.”

Another of the works, titled “In Vajtojca,” which he created in 2002,  stages his own funeral, hiring a professional mourner to cry at his wake. The video ends with a handshake between the artist and the mourner.

“Piktori” from 2002, is a meditation on the artist’s role within society during periods of political upheaval and instability. After the fall of the dictatorship, a number of kiosks carrying the title of “painter” started to appear in many Albanian cities. In these small, unauthorized kiosks, artists produced oil paintings, portraits from photographs, fake car plates, and false documents, such as birth certificates, university diplomas, visas for traveling abroad, and death certificates. The video follows one of the protagonists during this brief “artistic movement” and political circumstance.

“Klodi,” which Paci shoot in 2005, is based on a dramatic, and at times absurd, tale told by Klodi, an Albanian exile. His story, which parallels Adrian Paci's own experiences as an emigrant, details his adventures of crossing borders in search of something that in the end becomes almost unattainable.

“PilgrIMAGE,” which was made in 2005, builds a visual bridge between the inhabitants of Shkoder and a holy icon – the Madonna del Buon Consiglio in Genazzano, Italy. According to legend, the icon was transported to Italy by angels in the 15th century. This video ideally reunites the citizens of Shkoder with the holy image and, reciprocally, the icon with its followers through the simultaneous projection of an assembly of Albanian worshipers in the church of Genazzano.

“Nobody is Romantic Anymore” tells the story of an Albanian man working as an artist in New York. Through the painter’s eyes, we become aware of his ideal of freedom in the United States, as well as his urge to create. 

Adrian Paci was born in Shkoder, Albania in 1969. After the civil war in Albania, he relocated to Milan, Italy in 1997, where he has lived and worked ever since. Although originally trained in Tirana as a painter, in Milan he began experimenting with the medium of video. This allowed him to develop and articulate an ongoing narrative exploring the consequences of political shifts in his country, as well as commemorating its traditions and customs.