Paul Voggenreiter (Germany)
Designer in Residency
Tirana Art Lab – Center for Contemporary Art is one of Albania’s leading contemporary independent art institution. Founded as a non-profit organization, on the initiative of Adela Demetja in 2010, TAL aims at promoting emerging artists and contemporary art from Albania as well as from Central, Eastern, and South Eastern Europe. The center is process and research oriented. Through different events like, residencies, exhibitions, workshops, performances, lectures and talks, as well as publications, TAL has managed to create a space for emergent critical and reflecive thoughts. The center initiates and supports new productions by national and international artists, and projects critically engaged with artistic, cultural and social issues of transitional and contemporary societies. From 2014-2018 TAL operated from an independent multifunctional space located in the centre of Tirana. Its unique laboratory consisted of an exhibition space, a space for artists in residence and an open public library of contemporary art books. At the moment TAL does not have a physical location but collaborates with local partners for its exhibitions.
From 2014 TAL has refined its holistic conceptual, operational and managerial practice based on the concept of rhizome. It is deeply rooted, both in the Albanian cultural context and new experimental methodologies in terms of research, production and management. In this manner TAL tries to resist politicization, polarization and neo-colonial practices which pervade contemporary local and/or global cultural scene. The concept consists in three practical strings: inside-outside (equal relationship/partnership with other foreign/Albanian institutions), bottom-up (equal relationship/partnership with the public/private culture system institutions) and polyphony (artists-public relationship/partnership in production of cultural goods). Therefore the practice of TAL (research, production of art/culture, and management) maintains a strict connection with the sensitive horizontal issues, such as transparency towards the public/private collaborations, involvement of beneficiaries in the process of cultural goods, non-profit/public interest, socio-cultural suitability, effects on vulnerable groups (youth, elderly, minorities, precarious workers), and impact on gender relations.
Throughout the years, TAL has grown into a contemporary art centre, engaged in a wide range of activities and collaborations with other art institutions, museums, and academic structures in Albania, the South Eastern Europe Region and the international landscape. Through one of the members TAL was the the first Albanian institution to have collaborated with Institut national d’histoire de l’art – Paris, France. Thanks to the expertise and capacities of its members TAL was the first art and cultural organization in Albania supported, in the framework of an international partnership project (Heroes We Love ), by the Creative Europe Programme. Also as leading partner TAL was supported in 2016 by Allianz Kulturestiftung. TAL is currently part of the large scale international collaboration project Beyond Matter EU in partnership with ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Centre Pompidou, Ludwig Múzeum – Kortárs Művészeti Múzeum, Tallinn Art Hall, Aalto University, École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne, EPFL (associated partner). Co-founded by the Creative Europe Program of the European Union. These supports followed the continuous collaboration, in all these years, with other foreign institutions and supporters, such as Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism, Museum of Yugoslav History Belgrade, UGM | Maribor Art Gallery, Institut für Ausladsbeziehungen, Alliance Francaise, Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Robert Bosch Foundation, Pro Helvetia, European Cultural Foundation, Goethe Zentrum Tirana, Swiss Cultural Fund Albania and a large number of embassies in Albania. TAL has been supported also by the Albanian Ministry of Culture, Municipality of Tirana, Albanian National Historical Museum and other public/private national institutions. TAL has collaborated with local partners including Tulla Cultural Center, Bulevard Art and Media Institute, Galeria e Bregdetit Vlorë.
Adela Demetja is a curator born in Tirana, Albania living in Tiran and Frankfurt am Main. She holds a master in "Curatorial and Critical Studies" of Städelschule and Goethe University, Frankfurt/Main. Demetja studied from 2002 to 2006 at Academy of Art in Tirana. She is the director of Tirana Art Lab – Center for Contemporary Art, which she established in 2010. As an independent curator she has curated numerous international exhibitions and collaborated among others with institutions like National Gallery of Arts Tirana, National Art Gallery of Kosovo, Maxim Gorki Theatre Berlin, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art USA, Project Biennale D-0 Ark Underground Konjic, Action Field Kodra Thessaloniki, Lothringer 13 Kunsthalle Munich, Villa Romana Florence, Haus am Lützowplatz Berlin. She curated the Albanian Pavilion at 59th Venice Biennale represented by Lumturi Blloshmi.
Eni Derhemi born 1992 in Tirana, is an Albanian artist and curator. She holds a Bachelor Degree in Design & Arts from the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano and a Masters Degree in Visual Arts from the University of Bologna. Since 2010 she has lived and worked in the creative sphere between Albania, Italy and Germany. She has been a collaborator in different projects of Tirana Art Lab - Center for Contemporary Art since 2016. In 2020 she co-founded Ecumene Project, where she has the role of project director, curator and researcher.
PROJECT ASSISTENT / ASSISTENT CURATOR ERIDA BENDO
Erida Bendo born in 1996 in Kolonjë, Albania, is an architect and computational designer. Always curious about the multi-dimensional aspects of the built environment, from interior spaces to cities, her interests lie in understanding natural phenomena, as the driving force in her explorations of generative design and rule based systems. Erida holds a Masters in Architecture from the Polytechnical University of Tirana and a postgraduate master in advanced computation for architecture and design from the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia.
PROJECT ASSISTENT / ASSISTENT CURATOR JIRI GRUBER
Jiří Gruber is a Czech intermedia artist and theorist. He studied at the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University and at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Brno University of Technology. He also completed study internship at the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe. His approach is long term multidisciplinary and with an emphasis on collaborative practice. He lives and works between Brno, Tirana and Belgrade.
Edlira Mali, Fisnik Ismaili, Dr. Frederik Stamati, Nikolin Bujar, Redi Saliasi
Romeo Kodra, Matilda Odobashi, Sonja Lau
Adela Demetja (Director)
T (AL): +355 (0)692314995
T (DE): +49 (0)176 67606668
During Exhibitions: Wed-Sat 4-8 pm
We are looking for a new location
Rr. Muhamet Gjollesha
P.64, Sh.6, Ap.54
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From its beginning in 2010 until 2014 TAL organized different types of events in the cities of Tirana, Shkodra and Pogradec in art spaces and public spaces. From 2014 to 2018 TAL operates from an independent multifunctional space located in the centre of Tirana. Its unique laboratory consisted of an exhibition space, a space for artists in residence and an open public library of contemporary art books. Meanwhile we are looking for a new space to relocate TAL starting from 2020.
Tirana Art Lab hosts an international residency program that is open to artists, curators and theoreticians from all fields of contemporary culture. The residency gives the participants the opportunity to spend a distinct amount of time in Albania, to meet and to collaborate with artists and experts from the region, and leads to the production of a new work informed by the research on site. The duration of the residency depends on the respective project proposal.
Designer in Residency
Artist in Residency
June – July 2018
Artist in Residency
March – April 2018
Artist in Residency
September – October 2015
Artist in Residency
April – May 2015
Artist in Residency
March – April 2015
Artist in Residency
April – June 2013
Artist in Residency
April – May 2014
Artist in Residency
Pipifax – Through the Looking Glass and what we found there
May – June 2011
Artist in Residency
Monument Ginger Society Tirana
April – May 2011
Double Feature is an exhibition format introduced by Tirana Art Lab with the aim of systematically displaying in our premises, two artistic positions to the Albanian, the regional and international audience. By exhibiting two artistic positions together, we would like to construct the ground for contextualization of the artists and their works as well as build up a historical narrative necessary for the developments of contemporary art in Albania and the Region. The structure of the event enables us to pair artistic positions with every exhibition differently, making it possible to create mutual connections and references for both the positions. Especially in the Albanian context such exhibition format is needed and can be very successful. The small scale of the project enables us as organizers to engage deeply with the artists, the works and the context as well as enables the public to have a greater accessibility to a small-scale showcase. We primarily aim in conceptualizing; curating and delivering exhibitions with a high artistic quality and relevance as well as to motivate and create a space for discussion starting for the discourses initiated by the art works. Double Feature is a series of exhibition that will bring together national and international positions; positions from different disciplines; positions belonging to different generations. The creation of a dialogue between the two positions in relation with the history of art will be ensured by detailed exhibition text, artist talks, documentation through publication, interviews, photo documentation, video material etc.
Performative Exhibition is a new format initiated by Tirana Art Lab – Center for Contemporary Art with the intention to disclose exhibiting and to make public through performativity not only the process of artistic creation and curating, but also find ways to include in the exhibiting process and the means of production behind and beyond the event itself. The concept of “Performative Exhibition” aims to find new ways of exhibiting and curating which break with the temporary / unique features of the contemporary exhibition and propose enduring ways of working together.
The program is eager to tackle new hybrid formats of contemporary music and visuals arts by means of new audio-visual productions, concerts, talks and screenings.
"Curating with Care" is an alternative educational program initiated and developed by Tirana Art Lab - Center for Contemporary Art. The first edition of the program is promoted and supported by Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Tirana and curtated in partnership with Spazio Taverna Rome.
The program was created as a response to the need for additional educational opportunities for young local culture workers in the field of exhibition making from a local perspective.
"Curating with Care" is a program that reflects on curating, taking into consideration the developments and conditions of art production in Albania and the Southeastern Europe region. Its primary goal is to offer knowledge and practical information to culture workers, equipping them to challenge and bring new perspectives to the local and international art scene. Additionally, the program aims to create a connection with international discourses about contemporary curatorial practices, particularly new strategies and modes of curating that aim to offer meaningful, sustainable, and relevant approaches in curatorial practices.
Double Feature is a new event format introduced by Tirana Art Lab with the aim of systematically displaying in our premises, two artistic positions to the Albanian, the regional and international audience. For the Double Feature #02 we will bring together the works of Albania-Greek artist Alma Bakiaj and the German artist Viola Bittl. This second Double Feature is dedicated to painting and introduces for the first time the oeuvre of two contemporary abstract painting positions to the Albanian audience.
Alma Bakiaj works with different mediums including painting, installation, photography and video art. In her practice she focuses on the research, observation and analyzes of different human conditions taking as a starting point her life and everyday experience. Her paintings are detailed observations on a specific behaviour, gesture, movement or act, allowing her at the same time to deeply engage with the subject and reach a certain level of abstraction resulting in what one could call “uncertain images”. What interests her is the involvement of the human condition as something incomplete, flawed and vulnerable. The white and black geometric shapes are not random data. They are the equivalent of all the relationships and connections of the human being with the world, representations of the creation and the cycle of life, desires and fears against unknown forces, and a “domino effect” of the society. For Bakiaj art is a process of self-effort of understanding the world through universal human values, always with a look to the outside world and the inner desires and the second one is her space of creation. Her paintings aim at minimizing the apparent surfaces of objects, through a formal system levels and angles. She uses the technique of blurring of objects through a monochromatic colour. The objects do not have a normal configuration. They create multiple vanishing points. The shapes and lines vibrate together. If we could extend them mentally, they would create intersections. Each one of Bakiaj’s paintings observed separately constitutes an “uncertain image” while many of these pieces brought together have the potential to bring the viewer one step nearer to understanding the universe; as the sum of infinite connections and relationships of all the living beings contained in it. The exhibition will bring for the first time in Albania a collection of Bakiaj’s paintings created in recent years.
Though abstract to a high degree Viola Bittl’s paintings compositions and situations constitute little life sequences. The relationship between the objects, the way in which they approach, avoid, touch or keep distance from each other, their placement and attitude toward the background, can be read as the resembling of interhuman relation and their position within their surroundings and the world at large. Modest, obvious, reduced and silent, can her paintings appear at first glance; they hide themselves. They only reveal to the curious viewer what they conceal from the superficial eyes of random observers. Their strength lies in their depth, beneath the surface, between the accurate layers that Viola Bittl has painted with such sensibility that at times we have the feeling we are staring beyond smooth skin surfaces. Her paintings usually small at scale are territories that develop backwards. Transporting us, from the surface to the depths behind the image, they have the potential to make the canvas (as a layer between creation and reality) disappear and can give the viewer the freedom of a contemplative journey, so needed in our contemporary reality of rapid consumerism. During her residency at Tirana Art Lab, Viola Bittl has produced new works on paper, which will be on display at the show. For the works on paper she uses a special technique, that of painting with nail polish and oil pastel, colours that allow her to maintain the transparency as a persisting characteristic of her oeuvre.
Alma Bakiaj born in 1984 in Albania moved as a child with her family to Thessaloniki Greece, where she perused her art studies. She graduated in Painting in 2008 from the Arts Department of the school of fine art at Aristotle University in Thessaloniki and studied further Critical Theory in Contemporary Art Practice at Chelsea College of Arts and Design at University of Art London. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from School of Plastic Arts at University of Ioannina, Greece. Her works have been showed in solo and group exhibitions, among others in institutions like Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art Thessaloniki, Action Field Kodra Thessaloniki, Embassy Tea Gallery London, The Crypt Gallery London, Antonopoulou Gallery Athens, XV Biennale de la Méditerranée BJCEM, Museum of Contemporary Art Thessaloniki. Bakiaj lives and works between Thessaloniki and London.
Viola Bittl born in 1980 in Bavaria, Germany. She studied at the Art Academy in Munich by professor Sean Scully and further studied and graduated in 2011 from Städelschule in Frankfurt/Main by Professor Christa Näher. In 2013 she was a scholarship holder of Else-Heiliger-Fonds, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Berlin and her works have been shown in solo and group exhibition among others in institutions like Kunsthaus Wiesbaden, Eigen+Art Lab Berlin, LeRoy Neiman Center for Print Studies, Columbia University New York, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Berlin, basis Frankfurt am Main, Zollamt, Museum of Modern Art Frankfurt/Main.
Curated by Adela Demetja & Romeo Kodra
We would like to thank Institut für Auslandsbeziehungen for making possible the travel of artists Viola Bittl.