Art Basel Statements
Solo presentation with Chert, Berlin
15 – 19 June 2011
Kostërrc (CH), 2011 consists of a hole (600 x 400 x 230 cm high) made in the Kostërrc hill in Kosovo. This hill is property of the Halilaj family and the original location of the house where the artist was born. The soil taken from the hole is transported to Basel, to nearly fill the booth at the fair. This “land for sale” relates both to many personal and intimate questions which are integral to the artist’s research, as well as to social and cultural problematics linked to the newborn state of Kosovo and its migration phenomena (with a particular relation to Switzerland).
The huge effort required to move the soil also becomes a symbol of the difficulties of migration and integration, of the strong attachment to a culture which may become a self-detriment when preserved in another culture. With the gesture of bringing a piece of Kosovo to Switzerland, a country where one of the larger foreign community is actually from Kosovo, the artist not only tries to move its land into other surroundings – following the dream of many of its inhabitants – but he also brings the Kosovo community in Switzerland a little piece of their land. The process shows all the difficulties related to migration, and the near-impossibility of preserving an integrity from one context to another.
Later this summer, the piece will be on view at the Bonner Kunstverein in a different version. Some inherent characteristics of the building compelled to modifiy the presentation. For the institutional context, the “land for sale” has been removed and solely the apparatus produced by the artist for this project remains visible. This presentation shows traces of the activity of the artist. It displays loss and absence and draws a parallel with the original hole in the ground of the Kostërrc hill in Kosovo. In this sense, the piece, which appears as a strong gesture and heavy statement, reveals its poetic and resigned side, mirroring a human desire and ambition which transcends any physical boundaries.
Kostërrc (CH), 2011 is composed of:
Soil: circa 60 tons, divided into 66 big bags
Grass: 600 x 400 cm of grass sod, divided into 110 pieces, each one circa 30 x 60 cm
18 meters of fair wall
12 meters of metal structure wall
Hole: 600 x 400 x 230 cm