Adrian Paci: The Column
- When 7 Jan - 13 Feb 2016
Cnr Oxford St & Greens Rd Paddington
An epic video installation by internationally acclaimed Albanian artist Adrian Paci.
Albanian artist Adrian Paci explores some of the huge themes of the 21st century, such as globalisation, migration and exploitation.
Trained as a realist painter in the Albanian capital Tirana, Paci started to shoot photos and moving image only in the late 1990s, when Albania underwent a dramatic phase of political turmoil and he fled to Milan. His films respond to collective histories of contemporary humankind. Featuring the people whose stories they tell, they reveal how identity is conditioned by social and economic circumstances.
The Column traces the epic journey of an immense length of marble, extracted from the ground and taken to sea. En route from China to Italy and over the course of a grand voyage, workers toil to chisel and carve the block of marble into the shape of a classical column.
“The concept for The Column was born from this exasperated economic strategy, whereby time must be condensed to the point in which delivery coincides with production… The Column has its roots in a poetic intuition: an idea in search of form will only be able to develop at a distance from its origins, much like commercial goods are increasingly conceived in one place and manufactured in another through the elaborate and methodical exploitation of cheap labour, seen, in this case, on-board ‘sweatshop ships’” (Adrian Paci)
The exhibition at UNSW Galleries is The Column’s Australian premiere. The project was originally created for the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume in Paris, and was subsequently exhibited at the 2014 Venice Architecture Biennale and Busan Biennale, and in 2015 at the Architectural Association in London.
This exhibition also includes two other works by Paci that speak to urgent issues of our time. Centro di Permanenza Temporanea is a dream-like, cinematic vignette that evokes the hopelessness felt by refugees as they attempt to travel between countries, while Turn On prompts us to reflect upon our resource-intense lifestyles. The return of Turn On to Australia exactly a decade after it was installed in the 2006 Sydney Biennale is a fitting reminder of how little progress has been made on environmental policy in that time.
Presented by UNSW Galleries in association with the Sydney Festival.