Elective Affinities: THE PROPAGANDA
with Edi Hila and Pierre Bal-Blanc

JUL
15
Talk
3–4:30 pm
Athens Conservatoire (Odeion), Vassileos Georgiou B’ 17-19, Athens

Edi Hila, Officer of the artists league, 1971, οil on cardboard, 59.8 × 40 cm
“He was to be the most frightening person of all time. He was an agent and informer of the secret services of the state, which controlled and knew everything about us, especially the artists and their works.”

After painting Planting Trees in 1971, Edi Hila was criticized by the Communist Party in Tirana for his expressionistic depiction of work and use of an aesthetic that did not conform to Socialist Realism. He was forced to take different jobs and he was drawing and painting behind closed doors. In this public gathering the artist discusses the different series of drawings and paintings done during socialism and exposed at Odeon in relation to the most recent series realized during the neo liberal political climate in Albania. The older series of drawings and sketches bear witness to a difficult period in the life of the artists during the dictatorship. Hila kept them in the secrecy of his studio for many years.

As art historian Zef Paci writes: “(The Drawings) convey the internal battles of the artist while he was living and working in the context of a freedom-killing climate of dictatorship. They are keepsake journals and do not represent an accurate reproduction of facts, but rather they are a reflection which seeks to artistically represent the events and the feelings that linger in his memory.”


Edi Hila is an artist, painter and educator living in Tirana. He has taken part in numerous international exhibitions including the Venice Biennale (1999), After the Wall at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm (1999), as well as Blood and Honey — The Future’s Balkan curated by Harald Szeeman at the Essl Museum in Vienna (2003) and the Liverpool Biennale (2010). He is an important educator having taught for several decades at the Fine Art Academy in Tirana.

Pierre Bal-Blanc is a French Curator based in Athens and Paris. He was the director of the Contemporary Arts Center in Bretigny, Paris. Bal-Blanc’s curatorial work mostly serves to “de-gentrify” the philosophical works of Pierre Klossowski (whose drawings he has also collected in The Death of the Audience, 2010), and by extension, the curatorial works of Bal-Blanc, focus on paradoxes of perversion and transgression, living and object, via industrialization and processes of production. He currently works as curator of documenta 14.

Posted in Public Education
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