Flaka Haliti – I was like you before I got stoned by the fresh air.

Prince of Wales

  • 11.09.2015. - 11.10.2015

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Von Maria Inés Plaza, Via Sleek Magazine (EN) 06. Oct 2015

Immigration, geopolitical borders and emotional tours de force: these ubiquitous issues are the precondition for the works of Flaka Haliti.

“I was like you before I got stoned by the fresh air” is the artist’s first solo show, after a prominent installation at the Kosovo Pavilion in Venice this year, and a residency in Fogo Islands. The title of the show mirrors the artwork that awaits on the ground floor of Prince of Wales: a large c-print photograph of a found stone with particular marks that remind scorching scars left by scratching nails. And it’s the title in combination with the piece that renders it poetically monumental.

Beyond the small, yet imposing room, the momentousness of a simple, specific situation is staged by the neon yellow paint of the walls, which lingers in the minds of visitors while giving an artificial impression of the space. Only the black footprints on the yellow floor remind us that this very real.

The intense yellow meets the quieter blue reflection that descends from the upper room, and the stairs announce the neon piece above that evokes the gaze as a silent agreement: “I see that you have seen that I have seen”. The aesthetical choice of leaving the sentence in its abstract instance, links to the ambivalence of a further series of Haliti of solitary clouds in the air: “I see a face do you see a face”. Haliti’s neon pieces may lack the boldness or eroticism seen in other artists’ (eg Tracey Emin’s “People like you need to fuck people like me” or Martin Creed’s “Whatever”) but it’s exactly this vulnerability and ambiguity that make her work so roughly beautiful.

Images
Courtesy of Prince of Wales