Alban Muja

Publishing in catalog Arrivi e Partenze_Mediterrano, GIUDA edizioni (2012)

With irony Alban Muja pursues the infinite possibility of naming as a creative and autonomous act, an indisputable artistic form granted to all of us. 

In the multiple and transitory identitary drift that has overturned part of eastern Europe (and to which the remaining geography too is not insensible) the theme of names has become a disturbing and sometimes barbaric leitmotif, but it can also find an ironic lightness, a positive value, when observed with this young artist’s melancholic gaze.

In Tonys the camera immortalizes, in a snapshot that recalls traditional festivals or official occasions, a group of children born in 1999 whose parents named them “Tonyblair” in honour of the former British prime minister who vigorously backed independence for Kosovo and is considered a hero by Albanians in this part of the world. Palestina and Tibet also come out of the same inquiry: a young woman and man from Pristina who tell why they bear the names of foreign countries. Naming, says a son, is a sort of primary creative act, and in these deviations from tradition Muja seems to catch a glimpse of change: what prevails in these choices is a break with the tradition of naming children after deceased relatives; but there is also the search for history within history, for a hidden omen/nomen which sometimes plays nasty tricks. How does it feel to be an Albanian from Kosovo with the name of a nation that doesn’t exist? Official geography plays nasty tricks, and the fragile and precariously balanced identity of Kosovo seems, in the interpretation of Muja, to be a refraction of the Palestinian situation. In Blue Wall Red Door the name confuses places and orientation: the inhabitants use other systems, since in recent years the street names have changed continually and can no longer be an anchor for reaching one’s destination. 

Growing up in an artistic space subsequent to the international acclaim achieved by artists such as Anri Sala and Marina Abramovic, Muja shares the same concern about ethical impact and political reflection in the high sense of art, coupled with a new weapon, indubitably painless, which is irony. Also evident is concentration on the private, individual aspect of inquiry: micro-stories that forcefully emanate the international political dialectic, but at the same time they are tiny grains and not a beach. 

His works have appeared in public spaces in Vienna and Berlin and numerous galleries in the countries of former Yugoslavia.

Born 10. 09.1980 in Mitrovica, Kosovo, Lives in  Prishtina, Kosovo

Solo exhibitions (last 3 years) : 

2012 Its all about names, Muzej in Galerije Mesta KC Tobacna 001’, Ljubljana Slovenia 

2011 Politics of naming, Myymala2 Gallery Helsinki, Finland

2010 What’s In A Name?, UnionDocs NY, USA

From east to the southwest, Able Kulturverein, Berlin Germany          

2009 All around, Siz Gallery, Rijeka, Croatia 

Group exhibitions  (last 3 years) : 

2012 Cross-Time Stories, Wallach Art Gallery – Columbia University, New York

Archive V - Security and insecurity, Açıkekran Yeni Medya Sanatları Galerisi, Istanbul Turkey

White, CDA Projects, Istanbul Turkey 

2011 Pixxelpoint 2011, Nova Gorica Slovenia

Roaming, Teatro Margherita, Bari Italy

Not So Distant Memory, Delaware Contemporary Center for Arts, USA 

Cross Border Experience, Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana Slovenia 

Not So Distant Memory, Cyberfest, St Petersburg Russia

URBAN MAPS, Tina B, Prague Contemporary Art Festival, Prague Czech Republic

VIDEO/ COLLAGE: Architecture, DAZ / Architect’s association, Zagreb Croatia, exhibition of the YVAA, Slovak National Gallery, Bratislava Slovakia

Spaceship Yugoslavia, NGBK Berlin Germany 

Re-Locate’ Apartment Project, Istanbul Turkey   

LAMPEMUSA, Archeological Museum, Lampedusa Italy

PRIVATE | PUBLIC  taking space -- > making space, Skopje Macedonia 

255 804 km², Brot Kunsthalle, Vienna Austria 

6th VIENNAFAIR, Wien, Austria

Balkan Trafik, Brussels, Belgium

Supermarket 2011 – the artist-run art fair in Stockholm, Sweden 

Big Screen Project, The Center For Book Arts, ARTspace Media Art NY USA

2010 14 international short film, Winterthur Switzerland

Double bind, Center for contemporary art ‘Casa Masaccio’ Corso Italy 

Sings of Futility, -Multimeridijan ’10, Pula Croatia

Art forum Berlin, Germany 

Word for Word, Without Words’  Mestna Galerija / City Museum, Ljubljana Slovenia

SCREENSAVER, Open Video Projects, Gorizia - Italy

255.804 km2, Mestna Galerija / City Museum, Ljubljana Slovenia 

Qui Vive?, Moscow International Biennale, Moscow Russia

The Another Side of The Coin, Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana Slovenia 

LONDON LOVES, Vitrine Gallery. London UK

5th VIENNAFAIR, Wien, Austria

Contemporary art fair artbrussels Brussels, Belgium                                                       

Berlinale, 60 film festivale, Berlin Germany

5th Video Festival ‘Catodica, Trieste Italy

Biennale Quadrilaterale 3/Biennale OFF, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka Croatia 

  Spasticus Artisticus, Ceri Hand Gallery, Liverpool UK