8 – 23 Mar 2003


Sisley Xhafa

The artist Sislej Xhafa subverts and questions certain norms, cultural and societal conventions by means of his interventions and installations, all of them characterised by a kind of playful brutality.

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On the 7th of March he sets up a performance in the Warmoesstraat which illustrates how ‘he, like most Albanian artists, has learned to corrode the surface of utopia with the acid of irony and nonsense.’ (Edi Muka) The interventions of this nomadic Albanian artist (who currently resides in Pisa and New York) – photographs, performances video’s, installations, drawings and objects – comment upon certain contemporary tendencies and developments.

Xhafa’s work is often linked to themes such as migration, integration and illegality. He departs from the conclusion that the major migrationwaves from the South and the East, have had an immense (positive or negative) impact upon the reality in Western Europe and he links this with his own experiences as an immigrant.

His infiltrations or installations are never overtly didactic, he never opts for propaganda-techniques but prefers to address the public directly in a mode which can be described as a type of cynical optimism. When sociologists or philosophers meditate upon what is typically Dutch, they always refer to Rembrandt and Vermeer but never to figures such as Joop van den Ende, Jan Bik en Emile Ratelband. ‘ (out of Het verloren land, collection of essays by Bas Heijne).

Xhafa operates in a similar mode as the academics to which Bas Heijne refers in the above-mentioned quote. He takes Dutch art history as a starting point for a performance which is dedicated to issues such as deconstruction and re-compostion.

Designpolitie made a physical invitation for this show, a part of the series of invitations for W139 that year that appeared throughout Amsterdam.