ART ENCOUNTERS | Appearance & Essence | 3-31 OCTOBER 2015 TIMISOARA | ARAD
Growing up in a rural village in Kosovo during the Serbian-Kosovar war, Petrit Halilaj fled with his family after his house was razed to the ground. In his installations and sculptures, Halilaj draws from this personal history, often constructing dwellings and shelters suggestive of the personal spaces from his youth, eventually opening them up for more universal narratives. At the 2010 Berlin Biennale, Halilaj exhibited a replica framework of the house his family was eventually able to rebuilt following the war, in and around which a roost of chickens was let loose and allowed to wander. Chickens and birds continually recur in Halilaj’s work in live form, as a hybrid, deformed species in drawings, and through the notion of the nest. Halilaj’s fascination with what he has dubbed “bourgeois hens” and which presents an ongoing series of drawings is a commentary on the migration of populations from rural to urban spaces for instance and the diverse chances and challenges that emerge from this.