Driton Selmani — One Thousand Nine Hundred Ninety-Nine III

Previuos Project
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Work No. 13539, (1999)
Acrylic on canvas, handmade frame
35 x 43 cm each

Selmani's artistic odyssey unfolds in the series "One Thousand Nine Hundred Ninety-Nine III," spanning the years 2020 to 2023. This profound exploration delves into the artist's familial history and the exigencies of survival during a harrowing chapter of human existence.

Initiated by a poignant conversation with his parents, Selmani embarked on a creative inquiry, urging them to enumerate the fundamental necessities required for sustenance and survival amid the tumult of war. The resultant list, an assemblage of items ranging from the banal to the ironic, serves as the conceptual scaffold for the ensuing paintings. Each canvas becomes a vessel for the transformation of these ostensibly mundane objects into carriers of narrative weight, breathing new life into the collective memory of strife.

These paintings, gestated from an intimate exchange, transcend mere representation, emerging as visual meditations on the temporal distance that separates the present from the visceral horrors of the past. Viewed through the prism of a retrospective gaze, precisely 24 years removed from the historical trauma, the series reframes the narrative of suffering, offering a nuanced reinterpretation that transcends the immediacy of its original context.

Selmani's meticulous rendering of the list's contents imbues the paintings with layered significance. The banality of everyday objects assumes a paradoxical quality, becoming conduits for a collective memory that defies simplistic categorization. Navigating the intricate terrain between irony and necessity, the artist reshapes the horror of war into a contemplative visual language that resonates with viewers in the contemporary moment.

"One Thousand Nine Hundred Ninety-Nine III" stands as a testament to Selmani's nuanced engagement with the complexities of historical memory, inviting viewers to reflect on the enduring impact of past traumas while pondering the transformative power of artistic reinterpretation.