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Kultura

Oltsen Gripshi: The first International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Durrës to establish a proper exhibition institution, scientific research and creative laboratory

The International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Durrës will hold its first edition this year. Founder and curator Oltsen Gripshi indicates that the biennial will come as an international activity in visual art that goes beyond a routine joint exhibition and brings artistic experiences from different countries of the world. The biennial will be structured in different pavilions in which artists from Italy, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, America, Albania, China, Argentina, Cuba, Ivory Coast, etc. will participate. In the interview for "SOT" newspaper, the artist Oltsen Gripshi, founder and curator of the International Biennial of Contemporary Art in Durrës, reveals details about this international activity in the visual arts. Gripshi says that it has been a continuous work to establish a biennial centered on contemporary art, which comes in the wake of university and postgraduate studies, as well as several years of experience in the field of curating various visual art exhibitions and festivals. The first International Biennale of Contemporary Art in Durrës with various works by Albanian and foreign artists will take place during the months of October-November and according to the curator Oltsen Gripshi, although in its first edition, it will still be a major event, not only for the coastal city, but also for the whole of Albania, as it is the only "sui generis" biennial, which has as its theme for the interpretation of the contemporary present "Artificial Intelligence: the hybrid future".

-Durresi, one of the coastal cities in the country, is hosting an international event this year. How did the idea for the "Durres 2024 International Biennale of Contemporary Art" come about and when is it expected to take place?

I've been thinking about the establishment of this biennial for years, and it certainly didn't come about suddenly, as behind the scenes there has been continuous work to establish a biennial centered on contemporary art. This is in the wake of my university and post-graduate studies, as well as several years of experience in the field of curation of various visual art exhibitions and festivals in Albania and abroad. The Durrës Biennale was founded in the late summer of 2023 with the aim of giving the second largest city in Albania, Durrës, not just a joint exhibition among contemporary art artists, but an artistic BRAND and above all for it set up a genuine exhibition institution, scientific research and creative laboratory, within which the artists themselves, their creativity through contemporary aesthetics, education through art, exchange of experiences between professionals in the field of curation, gallerists, museologists, collectors, historians and art critics. The International Biennale of Contemporary Art of Durrës or with the abbreviation "BNABD" will take place from October 5 to November 24, 2024 in Durrës.

Oltsen Gripshi: The first International Biennale of Contemporary Art in

- This will be the first biennial in Durrës, how is it organized in the artistic part and apart from the Albanian artists, the other artists will come from which countries?

 The International Contemporary Art Biennale of Durres, although in its first edition, will still be a major event, not only for the city of Durres, but I believe and hope for the whole of Albania, as it is the only "sui generis" biennial, of which as a topic for the interpretation of the contemporary present has "Artificial Intelligence: the hybrid future". A theme, where artists from different countries of the world have been selected and invited by an international jury of professionals, where part of each is Massimo Scaringella curator from Italy (chairman of the jury), Prof. Ph.D. Tatiana Berdnik museologist from the Don Polytechnic University in Russia, Ph.D. Yan Laichao curator from Jinan University in China, Ph.D. Realda Abdija art historian, Alfred Mirashi Milot contemporary artist and Fatmir Juka dr. of the Shkodër Art Gallery. "BNABD 24" is structured in national pavilions in which Italy, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Germany, Finland, Switzerland, Turkey, America, Albania, China, Argentina, Cuba and Ivory Coast participate.

- The biennial will take place for the first time this year during the months of October-November, but in Durrës where are the spaces for its development?

Bienalja Ndërkombëtare e Artit Bashkëkohor të Durrësit është lënë enkas për t’u zhvilluar përgjatë dymuajshit tetor-nëntor 2024, pasi është edhe periudha ku qyteti bien në një qetësi pas sezonit turistik veror. Ndaj është menduar si një ftesë drejtuar kujtdo për të vizituar bienalen, prekur e ndjerë nga afër emocionet e secilës vepër artistike përfaqësuese të pavijoneve kombëtare dhe për t’u njohur me zhvillimet më të fundit të artit bashkëkohor nëpërmjet Artist Talk, Art Historian Talk, Gallerist Talk, Curator Talk dhe Workshop-eve të cilat do të jenë pjesa didaktike e “BNABD 24”. E gjitha kjo bëhet që ndërveprimi midis komunitetit durrsak, profesionistëve të fushës, studentëve të arteve, vizitorëve të ndryshëm dhe “BNABD” të jetë sa më aktiv dhe frytdhënës në aspektin njohës e për rrjedhojë edhe edukues përmes artit. Një qasje e tillë do ta shndërrojë qytetin e Durrësit përgjatë dy muajve të mbajtjes së bienales në një pikë referimi artistik, kulturor, edukues, kërkimi shkencor dhe turistik, gjë, e cila do të gjallojë skenën kulturore me shkëmbimin e përvojave dhe ideve mbi dhe rreth artit bashkëkohor në Shqipëri e përtej saj. “BNABD 24” nuk do të jetë vetëm në galerinë e artit “Nikolet Vasia”, por ajo do të shtrihet në disa prej institucioneve më ikonike të qytetit, një mënyrë kjo për të përfshirë e gjallëruar kënde të ndryshme, ku pjesë e tyre të mund të bëhen edhe vetë komunitetet që bashkëjetojnë me këto godina të cilat kanë shkruar historinë e Durrësit. 

-Çfarë sjellin në pjesën artistike këto aktivitete ndërkombëtare në vendin tonë dhe sa iu shërben dhe artistëve shqiptarë?

Një aktivitet i tillë siç është Bienalja Ndërkombëtare e Artit Bashkëkohor të Durrësit, që në të vërtetë është një institucion, i cili shkon përtej një ekspozite të përbashkët rutinë sjell së pari përvoja artistike nga vende dhe qasje kulturore të ndryshme. Së dyti e vendos qytetin e Durrësit pjesë të hartës ndërkombëtare të bienaleve, duke e kthyer atë në një referencë artistike ndërkombëtare për artistë e krijues nga e gjithë bota, së treti i jep Durrësit një brand të ri, që ndikon ndjeshëm dhe drejtpërdrejt në promovimin turistik të qytetit dhe së katërti siç edhe e theksova më sipër është një hapësirë, laborator edukimi përmes artit, sepse së fundmi shumë qytetar që kanë lexuar e dëgjuar për zhvillimin e bienales më kanë pyetur se çfarë është bienalja?! Pyetje të cilat më kanë bërë të reflektoj e të bindem edhe më shumë për realizimin e Bienales së Durrësit, si një mundësi shumëplanëshe për të gjithë dhe këdo që kërkon të njohë, përftojë dhe pse jo të bëhet pjesë e bienales në të ardhmen.

-Një aktivitet i përmasave të tilla ndërkombëtare sigurisht që kërkon dhe mbështetjen financiare. Sa e keni gjetur atë dhe këtë vit cilët ndihmojnë në organizimin e saj te pjesa institucionale?

The right question, because without support you cannot realize such an undertaking under the name "Biennale". This, because I emphasize again, is not just a joint exhibition between artists, but a far-sighted and comprehensive artistic, research, educational and tourist institution. The International Biennale of Contemporary Art of Durrës is made possible thanks to the foresight of the Mayor of Durrës Mrs. Emiriana Sako, who through the open call for projects gave the opportunity to anyone to apply, where among several projects selected by the Artistic Board of Durrës Municipality was the project for the development of "BNABD". Another very important institution that supports "BNABD" is the Ministry of Economy, Culture and Innovation, as well as other partners that are some of the foreign embassies in Tirana, which make it possible for their artists to come to represent the pavilions. national. Several well-known media from Italy, Albania, Switzerland and Turkey are supporting the Durres International Contemporary Art Biennale.

Interviewed by: Julia Vrapi