Edi Hila

Edi Hila, Boulevard 3 (2015), oil on canvas, 94.5 × 143 × 3 cm, photo: Blerta Hoçia

Edi Hila, Comers, from the series “A Tent on the Roof of a Car,” 2016–17, various materials, installation view, Athens Conservatoire (Odeion), Athens, documenta 14, photo: Mathias Völzke

Edi Hila, Boulevard 1–6, 2015, oil on canvas, installation view (detail), Torwache, Kassel, documenta 14, photo: Michael Nast

Edi Hila

Athens, February 18, 2016

Letter of invitation to documenta 14, part 2

Dear Edi Hila,

I very much appreciated, as did Adam, our meeting in Tirana during the opening of your exhibition Mirages of a Boulevard in the government office, and of being able to deepen my knowledge of your work during the visit to your studio. The exhibition was remarkable on several levels: the quality of the paintings and their particular tone, of course, but also the precision with which you echo the experience we had outside on the boulevard when encountering Gherardo Bosio’s building and again, inside, of the furniture by Gio Ponti in the foyer. It’s quite clear that the complex of public buildings in the center of Tirana planned by the Florentine architect during the Fascist regime inspires, in a critical way, the installation decisions for your paintings on the ground floor of this building, which has since been renamed Albania’s Center for Openness and Dialogue (COD). In these paintings, resembling the backdrops of a tactical war-game video, it is the subtle and deep pictorial material that draws one’s gaze into this world without shadow and without any sign of humanity. The experience of emptiness they evoke becomes tangible, timeless, and transcends the totalitarian ideologies that succeeded one another in your country, where you were born in 1944; with an unhindered capitalism following on from one of the darkest forms of communism. I wonder if nearly two decades of teaching painting at the Tirana Academy of Arts has contributed to the feeling of disembodiment that your work engenders, and I hope we might speak soon about your other recent exhibitions, among them Potential Monuments of Unrealised Futures at the Architectural Association, London, and your presentation at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2014. I will be happy to be able to continue our exchange and, along with the rest of the documenta 14 team, welcome you next April in Athens prior to Kassel.

Yours sincerely,
Pierre Bal-Blanc

Posted in Public Exhibition
Excerpted from the documenta 14: Daybook


with Edi Hila and Pierre Bal-Blanc

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…