press release

The exhibition Thirty One highlights 31 works by artists from the Kontakt Art Collection that have been selected by Kosovo-based artist Petrit Halilaj and Hans Ulrich Obrist. The number of artists corresponds with the opening days of the exhibition and is meant to be a starting point from which to facilitate new, unanticipated approaches to the collection that will lead to a concept for a future exhibition of the Kontakt Art Collection.

Since its establishment as an association in 2004, Kontakt. The Art Collection of Erste Group and ERSTE Foundation, has focused on art from Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe that has accompanied the social and political developments over the past several decades and contributed significant artworks to the history of European art since the middle of the 20th century. The collection's intent is to reflect on conceptual forms of art production within Europe's changing political geographies. There are several categories of interest that developed within the art scenes of the 1960s and were taken up by the following generations: the reflection of and approach to modernist structures, the redefinition of material in space, issues of the political and the public, as well as matters of the body on both a performative and a gender-emancipative level. Reflections on these developments in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe serve as the focal point for assembling and expanding a collection of artworks in a variety of media and formats.

The exhibition Thirty One presents works that play an integral part in European art history but claim an exceptional status within a politically heterogeneous terrain. With Thirty One, the National Gallery of Kosovo in Pristina hosts a distinctive overview of the works in the Kontakt Art Collection, which have been arranged and assembled by its director, Erzen Shkololli, in accordance with the concept by Petrit Halilaj and Hans Ulrich Obrist. Additionally, Halilaj created commentary drawings and a model display artwork to address the future exhibition. And finally, a catalogue with the drawings and comments by Halilaj will be published, thus introducing an additional artistic level as part of the exhibition.