• Art Studies
    No. 21 (2022)

  • Art Studies
    No. 20 (2021)

    In this issue of the Art Studies journal, we continue our investigation into the relationship between the archive and post- socialist and contemporary art. This year too, discussions of the archive as such, as well as of archival practices and projects, continue to be haunted by the specter of the disaster as a form of disappearance or annihilation.
    In the opening article, Vjosa Musliu and Brunilda Pali contemplate the reasons that push survivors of armed conflict, ethnic cleansing and genocide, to tirelessly collect and stubbornly safeguard documentation of the war crimes and massacres committed against their communities, in spite of the personal cost to them. Musliu and Pali read these kinds of archival practices and projects against an expanded conception of political praxis, connecting the act of living with and caring for the dead in the present to the act of projecting into the future as the horizon for the restoration of justice. In the following article, Anxhela Hoxha (Çikopano) reflects on the negative impact that the atrophying of archival practices and the ransacking of the archival holdings of Albanian theaters, especially during the first decade of the so-called Albanian “transition” in the 1990s, has had on the collective memory of Albanian theater and the ability of researchers of the history of Albanian theater to carry out their work. Agron Mesi, on the other hand, looks into an archive that, fortunately, has been preserved to the present day but which nevertheless remains largely ignored by scholars and the wider public alike. It is the collection of the photographic work of Kolë Idromeno, which is preserved in the archive of the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and the Study of Art.
    Further on, Alban Hajdinaj reflects on his artistic practice as an attempt to disrupt the linearity of dominant historical narratives and the archival practices that support them, in a conversation with contemporary art historian Alessandro Gallicchio. Eschewing the ideology of progress in its socialist as well as neoliberal variants, Hajdinaj underscores the importance of using the past as a tool to understand the present and warns of the potential dangers of its abandonment and rejection. In his review of Arian Leka’s Realizëm Socialist në Shqipëri (Akademia e Shkencave e Shqipërisë, 2020), Raino Isto argues that grasping the significance of Socialist Realism in the past and unlocking its potential to function as a critique of capitalist society and culture in the present, requires an engagement with the multitudinous forms and diverse manifestations of Socialist Realism and the radicalness of its aesthetic project, as well as the ideological or propagandistic dimension of Socialist Realism. In her review of the exhibition Open Archive (Erzen Shkololli, National Gallery of the Arts of Albania, 2020-2021), the author of this introduction argues that the aestheticization and depoliticization of the works of
    Socialist Realism can be instrumentalized to conceal the ideological underpinnings of contemporary artistic narratives and normalize the neoliberal paradigm they are based on. In the concluding article to this issue, Diana Malaj reflects on her visit to the exhibition Ambitions (Adela Demetja and Eli Krasniqi, National Gallery of Kosova, 2021) together with the other members of the activist collective ATA, raising a question that is rarely asked of exhibitions in the contemporary Albanian context, namely, to whom does an exhibition speak and who is thereby excluded from being its audience?
    The thematic focus of the following issue will be that of beginnings in all their forms – “good”, “bad”, failed, unfinished, etc.

    Jonida Gashi
    (Editor in Chief)

  • Art Studies
    No. 19 (2020)

  • Art Studies
    No. 18 (2019)