Video is not a cause but a consequence
short preview on kosovar video
Curator Mehmet Behluli
Prishtina, March 2005
The first VIDEO ever made in Kosova, has the production date of the end of year 1999. The video is made after the NATO intervention, by Sokol Beqiri (1964), Kosovar artist from Peja. The video is titled MILKA and it carries the pure comment of what happened to the Kosovar population (90% Albanian) during the war, which ended three months before the work was made.
The path continues with the videos of Erzen Shkololli. An artist young by age (1976), but with admirable international art experience. The third of this group of artists which started to also use video as a medium is Albert Heta (1974).
In the Kosovar environment, with only one art school (The Faculty of Arts in Prishtina), video works are not so well anticipated. Or to put it more precisely they are not welcomed, thanks to ever exaggerated conventionality of the school and the professors who teach there. It is quite unbelievable, but even as we speak, Kosovar artists, more precisely the teachers of the Faculty of Arts,) make a division of art according to the medium and not the content. According to this view, painting and sculpture are considered to be true art, and the rest, including video, are not art at all!
But, how it happened that against all the odds and in such difficult conditions, the Kosovar video can have an admirable production and quality?
There are few answers.
After y.1999, the International Community, installed itself robustly in our country, ranging from humanitarian to military capacity. Art people started to realize that the time had come when it was not possible anymore to have only one art community functioning, as this was the time which marked the start of new beginning, new art communities and associations, new NGOs working in different fields, among others NGOs which were working in of arts and culture. It was no longer possible to have a control of information! Also, the people from outside interested in the Kosovar art, started to come here, mostly thanks to the exotic nature which we were enjoying at that time, also there were the cultural foundations which were showing an interest in the Kosovar art scene, but naturally not as a whole.
What can one say about the characteristics and the Kosovar video artists themselves? After y.1999, artists started to receive more information, through a direct way of communication: concerning the contemporary means of expression, different art concepts and also the majority of artists, mainly young artists saw the enormous possibilities offered by the open approach toward different art patterns of the present time; adding all this to the specific environment and their insisting to work with the problems from their surrounding, resulted in a very unique art expression.
Without any prior education in video, Kosovar artists don’t have the burden of how should one video look like in a formal understanding. I emphasize, this is not a lack of knowledge, but the burden in a formal understanding, as we can often see in other European countries where there are schools specialized for video where we have formal understanding of: the composition, the cadre and the length, the quality of the video camera, the quality of the video, the quality of the sound, special video effects etc.
No, they see the video simply as a tool (very powerful) used to express specific positions, striped from the over used aestheticisms, so that the content and the message are enhanced to the maximum, and which are most of the times, very powerful and sufficient to transmit a powerful emotion to the viewer.
For Kosovar artists, video is not a cause but a consequence. Non of these artists is exclusively attached only to the video as a medium, but in the contrary, they pick the medium and the technique, which not rarely – the video, as an expression which provides great possibilities.
Strasbourg, espace apollonia
Superman (2002, 5’58)
Sokol BEQIRI, born in 1964 in Peja/Pec
Hey you (2002, 4’31)
Erzen SHKOLOLLI, born in 1976 in Peja/Pec
Bang Bang (2003, 2’28)
Albert HETA, born in 1974 in Prishtina
Summertime (2003, 3’29)
Dren MAQILI, born in 1981 in Prishtina
Lulzim ZEQIRI, born in 1978 in Gjilan/Gnjilane
Amerika (2005, 4’21)
Fitore ISUFI – KOJA, born in 1982 in Gjilan/Gnjilane
Sin (2004, 7’21)
Driton HAJREDINI, born in 1970 in Prishtina
An artist who cannot speak English is no artist (2004, 3’40)
Jakup FERRI, born in 1981 in Prishtina