Petrit Halilaj
(Kostërrc, Skenderaj-Kosovo, 1986)

Here To Remind You (Meleagris Gallopavo), 2023

Brass, natural feather
112 × 65 × 21 cm
[Photo: Archives Mennour. ©️ Petrit Halilaj. Courtesy Petrit Halilaj and Mennour, Paris]

Petrit Halilaj’s work is closely linked to the recent history of his native country, Kosovo, and to the consequences of the cultural and political tensions in this place. Halilaj grew up in a rural village in Kosovo during the Serbian-Kosovo War, and escaped with his family after his house was razed to the ground: in his installations and sculptures, he explores this personal story and builds homes and refuges that symbolize the personal space that was taken away from him when he was young.

Here to Remind You (Meleagris Gallopavo) derives from the installation presented by the artist at the Berlin Biennale in 2010, where he showed the replica of the house built by his family after the war, with chickens allowed to roam freely inside and outside. In the solitude of his childhood chickens played an important role, almost as though they were his friends. This is why they can often be seen in his works, visualized in a “living” form as hybrid and deformed beings that protect humans as long as they respect nature.

Currently Petrit Halilaj lives and works between Germany, Kosovo and Italy. He represented Kosovo at the 55th Venice Biennale in 2013. He received the Mario Merz Prize, and the special mention of the jury at the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017. Halilaj held solo exhibitions at Fries Museum, Leeuwarden; Tate St Ives, UK; Palacio de Cristal, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid; New Museum, New York; Fondazione Merz, Turin; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Paul Klee Zentrum, Bern; Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan; Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne; Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn; Fondation d’Entreprise Galeries Lafayette, Paris; National Gallery of Kosovo, Pristina; Kunsthalle Sankt Gallen; Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon; and WIELS, Brussels, among others. His work was shown in group exhibitions at the 15th Lyon Biennale; the Louisiana Museum in Denmark; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; MAK Center for Art and Architecture, Los Angeles; Palazzo Grassi, Pinault Collection, Venice; NEON, Mykonos, Greece; and the Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, among others.