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news | petrit halilaj: when the sun goes away we paint the sky

The façade of the former Hotel Merian will be taken over by When the sun goes away we paint the sky, an artwork by Petrit Halilaj symbolizing guidance and co-commissioned specifically for the 30th anniversary of the partnership between UBS and Art Basel.

This artwork was first presented in Manifesta 14, 2022 in the Grand Hotel Prishtina: 


The Grand Hotel Prishtina is a historical and architectural landmark; it is a reminder of the history of Kosovo as part of the former Yugoslavia and its aftermath. It is a reminder of the darkest times, when it was used by the forces of mayhem, but it also reflects recent times, marked by a certain indifference to the old focal points of collective memory.

All the changes and transformations that our society has gone through are reflected in this place, which can be seen as a portrait of Prishtina itself. Today, we have the unique chance to imagine how we want to bring the city into the future. Since 2010, the stars that once shone atop this building have not been lit. They have been removed one by one as a consequence of the hotel’s decline.

I first saw those fallen stars strewn across the roof of the Grand Hotel Prishtina in images sent to me by my dear friend Nita Deda, who was there shooting a video for Manifesta 14. This was the first spark that ignited the project. I immediately associated the stars with fallen ideologies. 

—Petrit Halilaj


+ about Petrit Halilaj

+ info in the Art Basel webpage