• Sislej xhafa, venice 1997, courtesy the artist and bidoun (amended for website)

    Sislej Xhafa, Albanian Clandestine Pavilion, 1997, Venice Biennale, Courtesy the artist and Bidoun

13 February 2017

Sislej Xhafa to represent the Republic of Kosovo at the Venice Biennale 2017

Sislej Xhafa will represent the Republic of Kosovo at the Venice Biennale this May. His presentation for the national pavilion of Kosovo will be curated by Arta Agani, Director of National Art Gallery.

Xhafa is a Kosovar Albanian contemporary artist, based in New York. His work often takes the form of actions with the intent of challenging cultural stereotypes and institutional structures.

This will be the second time the artist has represented a nation at the Venice Biennale, in 1997 he staged an intervention in the absence of an officially recognised Pavilion of Albania. Presenting himself as the Albanian Clandestine Pavilion, Xhafa snuck into the site and toured national pavilions dressed as a member of the Albanian football team, carrying a small Albanian flag and broadcasting a recording of an Italy-Albania football match. He described this action as: ‘It’s a politics of interruption, upsetting the configuration of forces determining what is visible and what is not, what forms of speech are understood as discourse and which are only perceptible as noise, who is designated as a speaking subject and who is merely spoken to.’

The details of Xhafa's 2017 biennale presentation for Kosovo are yet to be announced.

The artist has also just been honoured by Accademia di Belle Art di Firenze