My country on my back

11/06 – 07/07/2016

The first solo show by the kosovan artist Driton Selman. This irksome and evocative land art installation is the result of the young artist's socio-political research. Every element is deliberately and unstably suspended in the precious surrounding of the Church of Saint Stephen. Handcrafted knives are tight to stretched ropes under some big black balloons floating in space. This image recalls the unresolved ambiguity of the current models of civil, political and religious society. The dagger, in fact, hints at a constant fight to survive, it does away with distances between bodies and translates into a material and physical conflict.

Its “gravity” lays in the fact that it keeps men in a state of primordial brutality. It is the reason behind all expressions of indifference, behind every failed attempt at freeing society of violence.

The title of the artwork, My Country on my back, also conveys the feeling of betrayal and deep mistrust felt by Kosovan people, who have just experienced the dramatical fights for independence and who are still today living through anti-government demonstrations, an economic crisis and the threat of terrorism.

This is a Country that, “behind our backs”, seems to be on the verge of stabbing us and of offending our dignity. It is a Country that cannot fly nor look up, which constantly suffers its losses and fears for its freedoms. Selmani’s black balloons throw a shadow on the memory of parties and childhood games. This country on the other side of the Adriatic Sea and of the small medieval church in Polignano a Mare, is not a close and friendly land.

About the artist:
Driton Selmani born in Ferizaj, Kosovo (1987), works in Prishtina.
Selected Exhibitions: 2016, Young and emerging art scene from Kosovo, Lukas Feischtner Galerie, Vienna, Austria; 2015, Parallel Sprawl , Modelariumi i Arkitektures, Modelariumi i Arkitektures, Kosovo; Panorama, Tulla Culture Center, Tirana, Albania; 2014, Daf/ Def/ Deaf, AfG, Vienna, Austria; Praise of Doubt, Onufri Prize XX, National Art Gallery, Tirana, Albania; Here.Now.Where? A participatory project of sonic ambulation in Marrakesh taxis, 5th Marrakesh Biennial, Marrakesh, Morocco; Anonymous lives, Batman Üniversitesi, Batman, Turkey; 2013, Alternative Nomadi, Fabbrica del Vapore, Milan, Italy; Strange things happening in the Neighbourhood, Hotel Gracanica, Prishtina; Monumental Sculptures from Yugoslavia in Kosovo, Stacion Center for Contemporary Art, Prishtina, Kosovo; Errors Allowed, Mediterranea 16 Young Artists Biennial, Ancona, Italy; 2012, I am what I used to be, Studio 5 Arts University Bournemouth, Bournemouth, United Kingdom; Sex Lives of the Poor and Unknown, Polymer Culture Factory, Tallin, Estonia; Dust, The Gallery, Arts University Bournemouth, United Kingdom.

My country on my back, 2012, 6 handcrafted knives, 6 helium balloons 158 in diam., installation variable dimension
My country on my back, 2012, detail
My country on my back, 2012, detail
Wanderlust, 2016, intervention on Domenico Modugno statue in Polignano a Mare, performance, custom made life vest 47x67 in
Wanderlust, 2016, intervention on Domenico Modugno statue in Polignano a Mare, performance, custom made life vest 47x67 in
Driton Selmani