solo show / Bazament Art Space, Tirana / April 19 – May 10, 2018 http://bazament.al
Press release / Ledia Kostandini has been occupied by a set of postcards for the past seven years. As if sent to her from the past, these seemingly marginal flaps of paper have sent her on countless journeys, seeking traces of a bygone Albania and discovering a new land along the way. Her solo exhibition at Bazament marks the first time that Kostandini presents these personal works to the public.
In 2011, Kostandini unearthed a collection of postcards sent to her grandfather, aunts, uncles, and her father, over a period of forty years. The well wishes arrived annually at their home in Pogradec, Albania, always for the new year, from all corners of the country. Sent during Albania’s political isolation between the 1950s and the 1990s, the postcards appear as mere formalisms. But collectively they transform into intimate tidings, with their life stories written on the backside of each card—enumerating essential banalities like profession, status, family life, and personal and professional friends and acquaintances. Like the tension of the postcard’s public intimacy, Kostandini’s work opens up a private world only to remind you that it was always public.
Each work in Let Us Meet in Between stages time twice, and space once. In a personal exploration of shifting time, Kostandini has re-photographed, with extreme precision, the exact view of every card. This doubling echoes a lived reality: her grandfather died immediately following a heart attack on the night of 31 December 1982; he was buried the next day. But his remote death did not to stop the cards that had already been postmarked. The installation at Bazament reveals this lived paradox of past, present, and future.
The world, and especially the world of Albania, was very different when the postcards were originally received. Years later, Albania appears nearly unrecognizable from its past. As Italo Calvino similarly observed about the “invisible” Maurilia: “just as the old postcards do not depict Maurilia as it was, but a different city which, by chance, was called Maurilia, like this one.” Albania, like Maurilia, becomes a fiction of its own making.
photo credits: Bazamentartspace, GertaXhaferaj