I am honored to present this collection of 163 contemporary Albanian artists and their works. These works are all different, yet they continuously carry on a dialogue between them, as if they were pieces of a puzzle that fit into the socio-cultural complexity of Albania. A country used to being whithdrawn into itself and dream in front of the world.
Ervin Bërxolli - The Lost City of Tirana (2015) Always living in borderlands of empires – the Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, Fascist, Nazis, Soviet, and Chinese – the Albanian people have loved and hated them all, yet have established no special connection with any of them. Today, the Albanians are on the edge of Europe, living its utopia but lacking the European foundation. And still, they are living proof of ancient and modern values, in full harmony with those of every other European nation.
Albes Fusha - Remedios (2015)
This collection is a snapshot of the cultural, aesthetic, ethical and religious diversity of today’s Albania. As an imaginary mosaic, it presents to the young generation of Albanian artists the portrait (imago) of a world (mundi) which in turn is a polyphony of voices with its roots deep in a common identifiable feeling.
Mikel Temo - Inside Out (2015)
This is an almost one year work: a year that has been busy and moving, intricate yet captivating, full of meetings, conversations, colors, raki, coffee and drifting to and from the emptiness of period. There are many people that belong to this year and I want to be grateful to. Surely I cannot mention each one of them, but personally I will cherish every contribution.
Mikail Papuçiu - Fugit Ireparabile Tempus (2015)
First of all, I sincerely thank Mr. Luciano Benetton for trusting me with this project which deals with universal subjects, as opposed to today’s tendency to consider the job of those dealing with such subjects as too common. I think and believe that even Imago Mundi will have its period of doubt, but if it is true that time is master of all things, then it will reveal the value of this legacy for humanity.
Agim Muka - United Colors (2015)
I want to thank Valentina Granzotto, especially for the serenity she conveyed during our collaboration, which was really necessary given the stormy period.
Herald Pojani - Under Surveillance (2015)
I’d like to thank the artists, too – those that submitted their work, those that got lost along the way and even the ones that did not accept to take part. I have realized that while it is difficult to be an artist, it is almost impossible to be an artist in Albania. That is because this country lacks the proper institutions that elevate art into a system which can generate a hierarchy of values. No need to dwell into details. The experience of this last year enabled me to establish contacts with so many Albanian artists, part of them scattered abroad.
Nikolin Bujari - Untitled (2015)
This collection features our best contemporary artists, as well as promising young talents.
Aleksandër Filipi - Antiquam Moses (2015)
Also, I’d like to thank the curators, the assistants, and the staff of EJAlbum. Guys, thank you from the bottom of my heart! You made this publication what I dreamed of in the beginning: one of the best of the Imago Mundi series.
Anesti Taço - Double Dance of Myzeqe (2015)
Viktor Ferraj - Untitled (2015)
But the most special appreciation goes to Julinda Mbrica. Being the curator of this project – until her tragic departure in October 2014 – this Introduction should have been written by her. Julinda believed in this project since the very beginning till the building of the database. And this first important database of Albanian artists now belongs to the artistic community of the country. It all originated with one phone call from Oliviero Toscani. And I thank Toscani too, for giving life to this wonderful idea.
Maksim Bushi - Hybrid Brain (2015)
It is because of a dreamer like Julinda Mbrica that this small country in the Balkans has now an anthology of its contemporary art. I believe that the efforts and commitment of all members of the team are dedicated to her.
Bledar Gramo - Selfportrait (2015)
After the much needed words, I would like to add a couple of thoughts by subtraction, just like the old- time art masters advised. And if the layers are peeled off, this is what remains:
Edison Shahini - Selfportrait (2015)
Heldi Pema - Albania 1 Lek (2015)
Once aware of this project, I thought of Borges and his false Aleph. Curiously, this collection of thousands of artworks is a point through which we can gaze our world, just as Aleph of Borges in the cellar of the house of Beatriz.
Zeqir Alizoti - Albania (2015)
As my collection – I was considering it as mine – was taking shape, I could notice not only Albanian art and its miniature impressions, but also the image of Albania itself.
Olta Bello - Jerina (2015)
Elio Bajramaj - Concern of the Future (2015)
That was my Aleph, my fissure within which I gazed and imagined. That was even more.
Elsa Martini - Things That Will Bite You (2015)
Borges reminds us that our mind tends to forget. The tragic erosion of time makes Borges forget the face of his beloved Beatriz, while my Imago Mundi will do quite the opposite.
Mimi Memiaj - Abstraction “Bubble Attack” (2015)
It will be, or better say it already is, the Aleph through which I will gaze my eroded memory, so that I never forget the myriad of marvelous particles of my precious Julie...
Mustafa Arapi - Untitled (2015)
Editing and translation
EJAlbum staff and volunteers
Dedicated to Julinda Mbrica
Woman in Blue Dress