My country on my back, 2012
6 Handcrafted knives, 6 Helium balloons, 400 cm wide, variable heights
Installation view: Exchiesetta, Polignano a Mare
In My Country on My Back, it seems that the unstable equilibrium caused by conditions that make possible its suspension, together with a refined circular space that determines the features of the work, alludes to a perpetual scale of attack – or defence – typically a strategy of tension. Driton Selmani’s Black balloons, hung in a state of suspension inside a former small church from the 13th century and visible only through a glass that blocks the access to the expository space by shaping its character, casts a shadow over collective rites, celebrations and childhood games. The lightness of these balloons, in contrast to the dimness of their material, is held by the brightness of craft-made sharp blades that slowly fluctuate in the space, as if willing to tell of the brutality that can arise from human survival instincts, seemingly ready to strike back. The linguistic game that gives the opera its title further exemplifies the research of the young artist from Kosovo into the social-political matrix, with the only aim being to analyse the juxtaposed meanings of space and time as well as the polarization between what is seen and what is hidden. To paraphrase one of Antonio Gramsci’s notorious concepts, in this case we deal with what is called interregnum: a suspended system in which we encounter “a variety of morbid phenomena”. Knives are an indication of some of these deformations that narrate tautological conflicts, vicious conflicts and wars amongst kin. Such ambiguities still, in the old order of things, remain inexplicable and are situations from which the young cannot emerge due to economic, political, social and religious tensions that happen to be stratified in the collective memory of experiences, in which the life of the individual remains suspended. These suggestions, born from the direct experience of the artist during the recent historical events in his native country, have the capacity to put various geographical areas in relation to one another under a crisis that produces uncertainty and that extends, through the Adriatic Sea, to the entire European continent.