The Albanian Institute New York is pleased to announce that it will represent Albania at the inaugural London Design Biennale at Somerset House this September. More than 35 countries will be participating in the Biennale, taking place from Sept. 7 to Sept. 27, which explores the theme of “Utopia by Design”. Taking over the entirety of Somerset House, the former royal palace, the Biennale will explore big questions and ideas about sustainability, migration, pollution, energy, cities, social equality, and much more.
“We are greatly honored to have been invited to present at the London Design Biennale, a truly global stage and the presentation of our participation will be part of a visual conversation that will be captured, shared and amplified all over the world” said Dino Korca, curator and director of the institute. “We are especially pleased that our contribution to the Biennale has been chosen to occupy the dramatic courtyard space of Somerset House, alongside Great Britain’s, which will make it one of the most prominent pieces at this pioneering and prestigious event.”
Referencing utopian city planning, Helidon Xhixha’s Bliss is a concentric arrangement of stainless steel columns and benches that are designed to encourage both self- reflection and solidarity. The mirrored surfaces of the taller columns create reflections, creating myriad opportunities for interaction. The circular layout of the benches aims to facilitate democratic discussion and exchange, demonstrating the need for community and unification in any ideal city. With reference to the current migration crisis, the core of the installation bears the engraved outline of Europe’s borders, considered by many refugees as a modern-day utopia.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Helidon Xhixha (born in Albania) is a sculptor, though he insists that he doesn’t sculpt materials; rather, he “uses materials to sculpt light,” an act he considers to be one of the purest ways to harness raw energy. Xhixha, who lives and works between Milan and Dubai, has become a renowned global figure in the contemporary art scene through his iconic stainless steel structures that have rightly gained much success and critical acclaim. His works have been commissioned for large scale, public installations and monumental sculptures all around the world. Manipulating the steel allows for the object to become much more than a three dimensional sculpture, it starts to operate between the realms of the physical and the invisible, and creates a place where light, sound and object can all interact.
ABOUT THE LONDON DESIGN BIENNALE
The London Design Biennale is produced by the team behind the London Design Festival, Sir John Sorrell, Ben Evans and Christopher Turner president, executive director and director of the Biennale. You will see engaging and interactive installations, innovations, artworks and proposed design solutions – all in an immersive, inspiring and entertaining tour of the world.
A diverse group of nations from all six continents are the participants. They are:
Albania, Australia, Austria, Bahrain, Belgium, Chile, Croatia, France, Germany, Greece, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Lebanon, Mexico, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Norway, Pakistan, Palestine, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, UK and the USA.
The theme of the inaugural London Design Biennale is Utopia by Design, which celebrates the 500th anniversary of the publication of Sir Thomas More’s classic, Utopia (1516).
The London Design Biennale’s International Advisory Committee, composed of world’s leading creative experts include Paola Antonelli, Adelia Borges, James Lingwood, Jeremy Myerson, Jonathan Reekie, Martin Roth, Victor Lo, Ana Elena Mallet, Kayoko Ota, Richard Rogers and Paula Scher. The Advisory Committee are also members of the prestigious International Jury, awarding Medals to the most significant national contributions.
The London Design Biennale would like to thank partner Jaguar for their headline sponsorship of the 2016 edition.
www.londondesignbiennale.com | @londonbiennale | #LDB16
ABOUT SOMERSET HOUSE
Somerset House is a spectacular neo-classical building in the heart of London, former royal palace sitting between the Strand and the River Thames. A unique part of the London’s creative and cultural scene, Somerset House is a historic venue where surprising and original work comes to life, a key cultural destination in the heart of London in which to experience a broad range of artistic activity, engage with artists, designers and makers and be a part of a major creative forum – and it’s one of London’s most visited attractions with 3.2 million visitors annually. From its 18th century origins, Somerset House has been a center for debate and discussion – an intellectual powerhouse for the nation.
ABOUT ALBANIAN INSTITUTE NEW YORK
Albanian Institute is a New York based independent contemporary art and cultural institution, working to support and promote the arts in all disciplines, provide a forum for cultural exchange and dialogue, and create educational opportunities in the US and beyond. The institute achieves its mission through a vibrant program of presentations, exhibitions, films, performances, and partnerships around the world to activities in education, cultural forums, events and talks.
Albanian Institute is member of the European Union National Institutes for Culture (EUNIC) in New York, part of a global coalition of cultural organizations and diplomatic services from the EU.
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