Adrian Paci was born in Albania in 1969, but fled to Italy with his family after the extreme riots in Albania in 1997. Paci’s socially-charged works include a variety of mediums ranging from photography and painting to videos and installations. His early works revolve around his personal experience, specifically his cultural identity and personal displacement, whereas his later and more recent works involve a more collective historical theme surrounding migration, and the larger socio-economic circumstances. The artist has been featured in the Venice Biennale of 1999 and 2005, MoMa PS1 in 2005, and the Tate Modern in 2008. He currently lives and works in Milan.
How has your work been influenced by your personal life?
The relationship between the work of art and life experience is very complex and multi-faceted. Superficial sight is always trying to put together the facts of personal life and the work’s characteristics as if they were a mere illustration of the personal life. Then, you realize it is not like this. There are artists who create more explicit connections between their work and their lives, but there are also others who totally deny any direct connection. I think life's experiences can feed the work, it can stimulate and enrich it, but I also believe that the work is an independent reality, which has its own existence and being through their own characteristics. On the other hand, when it comes to the personal experience of living we should not forget that art is capable of producing an experience in itself. We make a specific kind of experience in front of an artwork, visiting an exhibition, or reading a book. Art is not only able to translate the experience but creates an experience as well. The single work, the work of the individual artist, and the works of art in general are all connected with the individual experiences and social, cultural, political and even geographical experiences. The artwork comes out of all these complex relations and translates them through the immediacy of a gesture that can be simple, spontaneous and poetic.
Looking at the content of your video work such as 'The Column’, it seems to focus upon a strong narrative documentary. Is this something you have always explored within your work?
The Column was created as a desire to poetically and concretely explore a vision born from a story. The story spoke of the possibility of carving marble in the ocean during the route from China to Europe. I tried to prove the existence of this practice, but I found only factory-ships producing clothing and not sculptures. So I thought I'd try to make this happen, asking a company that makes sculptures in China to carve a column in the ocean. From the beginning I did not want to make a documentary film, but use video-making as a medium to relate not only a fact, but a vision as well, to suggest reflections related to work dynamics, displacement and exploitation as well as wider issues related to the exchange of cultural models, the relationship between nature and culture, past and present, physicality and mobility etc.
Courtesy of the Artist