• Sislej xhafa, lost and found, 2017, courtesy galleria continua, photo oak taylor-smith (3)

    Sislej Xhafa, lost and found, 2017, Courtesy GALLERIA CONTINUA, Photo Oak Taylor-Smith

10 May 2017

Sislej Xhafa, Pavilion of the Republic of Kosovo at 57th Venice Biennale

Sislej Xhafa's consistent pursuit is to find the human element in inhuman conditions. His daring, minimalist approach to the concept of a national pavilion addresses issues that have long concerned Kosovo, yet are also global and urgent. lost and found is Xhafa’s response to the plight of families whose relatives have been missing since the end of the Kosovo War. The conflict ended in 1999 but, of the many thousands that disappeared, 1,664 people remain unaccounted for.

For Xhafa, the issues raised are not constrained by the geography of the Balkans but extend to current conflicts, the disappeared and displaced everywhere. The work consists of a space that is seemingly empty but for a small shed wrapped in plastic. The shed is constructed of generic wooden pallets commonly used for transporting goods, a sign on the shed reads lost and found, a solitary telephone sits inside but never rings. 

For Xhafa, the power of art lies in its ability to question. With lost and found he wants to provide a space whereby searching and questioning, visitors can participate in raising the profile of human rights issues. His presentation for the national pavilion of Kosovo is curated by Arta Agani, Director of National Art Gallery.

Sislej Xhafa, lost and found, Pavilion of the Republic of Kosovo at 57th Venice Biennale, is on view at Arsenale, Venice until 22 November 2017.