Here to Remind You (Pavo cristatus, Anas platyrhynchos), 2022

Originally displayed in monumental size under the dome of the Crystal Palace in Madrid, a pair of bird’s legs worked as the fulcrum of Halilaj’s nest-like installation, seemingly anchoring and transcending the space at once. The legs represented the artist’s desire to integrate the palace’s interior with its exterior, by transforming the architecture of the space into a giant fabled bower bird nest.

In Here to Remind You (2022), the work is a scaled-down version of the same sculpture, crowned with a unique feather delicately transforming each sculpture into a special character of the artist’s personal mythology. Even in their gigantic scale, the legs retained a certain tenderness, such as the gesture of two toes gently touching each other, symbolizing the union of two elements supporting each other and becoming one. This gesture is reiterated in the smaller version of the sculpture.

Birds are a recurring figure in Halilaj’s work, a metaphor of the ability to freely overcome geographical boundaries and sociocultural barriers. An attentive observer may notice that most of the artist’s birds are deprived of their most conspicuous feature: wings. This gesture perhaps further aligns the birds to the human realm, and indeed, birds have for long carried meanings of intimacy and relationships for the artist.

Photos by Marjorie Brunet Plaza.