Adrian Paci, Still: Centro di Permanenza Temporanea, 2007, Video, colour, ound, 5’30’’, Courtesy Galerie Peter Kilchmann, © 2010 Adrian Paci

A Study of the Human Condition in a Collapsing Albania in the 1990s

Adrian Paci, Still: Electric Blue, 2010, HD video, colour and sound, ca 15’30’’, © 2010 Adrian Paci.

Adrian Paci, Still: Electric Blue, 2010, HD video, colour and sound, ca 15’30’’, © 2010 Adrian Paci.

Adrian Paci, Still: Electric Blue, 2010, HD video, colour and sound, ca 15’30’’, © 2010 Adrian Paci.

Adrian Paci, Turn on, 2004, Colour photography, 151 x 196,5 cm, Courtesy Galerie Peter Kilchmann, © 2010 Adrian Paci.

Adrian Paci, Secondo Pasolini, 2010, Acrylic colour on wood and metal, 240 x 240 x 130 cm, © 2010 Adrian Paci.


Kunsthaus Zurich
Heimplatz 1
CH 8001 Zurich
+41 (0)44 253 84 84
Adrian Paci, Motion Picture(s)
June 4-August 22, 2010

Electric Blue is the title of the new video work created by Adrian Paci especially for the Kunsthaus exhibition. The title is that of an erotic TV series from the former Yugoslav channel, that was one of the few entertainments available under communism. This work, produced in collaboration with the Kunsthaus Graz, is situated in Paci’s hometown of Shkoder (Albania). The artist had already used that location for the production of his video Turn on, which was shown at the 2005 Venice Biennale and marked Adrian Paci’s international breakthrough.

Kunsthaus Zürich shows videos and paintings by Albanian artist Adrian Paci in the first museum exhibition in Switzerland of the work of Adrian Paci. New videos and a painting inspired by Pier Paolo Pasolini are at the centre of the exhibition Motion Picture(s). The works reflect pivotal moments of humanity and condense the consequences of conflicts and societal rupture.

In Electric Blue Paci tells the story of a man who attempts to secure the economic survival of his family in the chaotic collapsing state that was Albania in the 1990s. But the video, approximately 15 minutes in length, is far more than a historical document. It grapples with primordial questions of humanity, of failure; with the impact of war and societal rupture on humans; with the yearning for an escape from poverty; with love, sex and passion. In this video, the artist, born in 1969, manages to create striking and impressive images of the "Condition humaine" that imprint themselves on the memory.

Adrian Paci was originally trained as a painter. For this reason curator Mirjam Varadinis chose an entirely new painting, Secondo Pasolini (2010), which transfers the medium of film into that of painting, for his first exhibition in a Swiss museum. For this large-sized work Paci virtually dismantled the famous film Racconti di Canterbury (1972) by Pier Paolo Pasolini by detaching single frames and painting them. This attitude — between moving image and freeze frame, film and painting — is characteristic of Paci’s work. Earlier on the artist had created similar works containing references to Pier Paolo Pasolini. That the famous director should play a central role in Paci’s examination of painting and film is self-evident, since the director himself had cited paintings of the Italian Renaissance in his films.

A second video in the exhibition is closely related to the history of painting. The video is entitled Britma (2009). Britma means scream and refers to Edvard Munch’s famously iconic painting. Paci’s video features two children, obviously excited. One of the children seems to be screaming. It holds a stone in its hand, ready to be thrown. But the blurriness of the shot makes a clear understanding of the context impossible. Is it one of so many images from crisis areas, where children throw stones at soldiers? Or are the two children simply playing? Paci leaves the question unanswered. In extreme slow-motion the image changes almost imperceptibly. Only those who watch closely notice that with time the blurriness increases and the face of the child begins to approximate Munch’s Scream, until it dissolves into a totally abstract colour landscape of digital brush strokes. In addition to this entirely new piece, the exhibition will also feature Paci's earliest video work, Albanian Stories (1997), and his more recent She (2010).

Adrian Paci, Still: Britma, 2009, Video, colour, 5’18’’, © 2010 Adrian Paci.

Adrian Paci, Photo © Viviana Milani.

Adrian Paci, Still: Electric Blue, 2010, HD video, colour and sound, ca 15’30’’, © 2010 Adrian Paci.