Tirana Biannale: DEMOCRACIES

Curator: Zdenka Badovinac
National Gallery, Tirana, Albania

Participating Artists:
Joost Conijn
Emily Jacir
Marjetica Potrc
Tadej Pogacar
Andreja Kuluncic
Armando Lulaj
Oda Projesi
Sissel Tolaas
Platforma 9,81
Carey Young
Apolonija Sustersic
Vladimir Arhipov
Marko Kosnik
Nasrin Tabatabai
Huseyin Aptekin

This exhibition is going to present art that takes into account what is usually considered a characteristic of the Other that has to be changed, or better, modernized. Democracies focuses on parallel economies, parallel tools of operations, and parallel urbanism and architecture, which are seen as taboos within the standardised protocols of the (post)modern world. The parallel systems presented at this exhibition are not treated as exclusively alternatives, but as important elements in the negotiations with their standard counterparts.

The concept of the exhibition refers to the dilemmas of democracy in the (post)modern capitalist world and to the questions of its new and different possibilities.

In most post-communist countries, which have yet to become equal partners in the global capitalist world, different informal systems can be found that are publicly judged as something wild, as a societal disease, but are secretly supported by the governments as the only way of preserving social peace. What is not socially recognized is the individual creativity of people, often more stimulated by the parallel systems than by the official ones. Only art is capable of disclosing this lack of recognition as a taboo in contemporary societies and of proposing individual creativity as a serious experience to be included in the discussions about a better quality of life outside the dictates of capital and various ideologies.The colourful facades of Tirana serve almost as a case study for the way the official city policy appropriates the creativity occurring outside any standardised system and combines it with the principles of modern urbanism. In countries like Albania, the parallel systems can be described as simultaneously premodern and advanced in the way they bring forward proposals for negotiating the different views on democracy with society.