1986, Kostërrc, Kosovo
Petrit Halilaj understands exhibitions as a way to alter the course of personal and collective histories, creating complex worlds that claim space for freedom, desire, intimacy, and identity. His work is deeply connected to the recent history of his native country Kosovo and the consequences of cultural and political tensions in the region, which he often takes as a starting point for igniting countercurrent poetics for the future. Rooted in his biography, the projects encompass a variety of media, including sculpture, drawing, text, and performance. Often incorporating materials from Kosovo and manifesting as ambitious spatial installations, his work transposes personal relationships, places and people into sculptural forms. Halilaj's work can be seen as a playful and, at times, irreverent attempt to resist oppressive politics and social norms towards an untamed celebration of all forms of connectedness and freedom.
In 2013, Halilaj represented Kosovo for the country’s first appearance at the Venice Biennale. In 2017 he was invited to participate in the 57th Venice Biennale by the curator Christine Macel, where he was awarded the Special Mention by the Jury. In 2017 he was awarded the Mario Merz Prize, which resulted in a major commissioned project he presented in 2018 at the Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern and at Fondazione Merz, Turin. He is currently a professor at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux Arts de Paris, France, where he shares his class with Alvaro Urbano.
Petrit Halilaj lives and works between Germany, Kosovo and Italy.
Solo exhibitions include: Very volcanic over this green feather, Tate St. Ives, England (2021); To a raven and hurricanes that from unknown places bring back smells of humans in love, Palacio de Cristal, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid (2020); Shkrepëtima, Fondazione Merz, Turin (2018); Hammer Projects: Petrit Halilaj, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles (2018); Shkrepëtima, Paul Klee Zentrum, Bern (2018); Shkrepëtima (performance), Runik, Kosovo (2018); RU, New Museum, New York (2017); Space Shuttle in the Garden, Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan (2016); ABETARE, Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (2015); She fully turning around became terrestrial, Bundeskunsthalle, Bonn (2015).