Artists of Tomorrow 2021
Artists of Tomorrow Award 2021
Uresa Ahmeti, Endrit Jashanica, Enxhi Mehmeti

Curatorial work: Lek M. Gjeloshi
The Architecture of the exhibition: Vala Osmani
Curatorial advisor: Albert Heta

10/11/2021 - 11/12/2021

Opening: 10/11/2021, 19:00
Announcement of the winner: 11/12/2021, 19:00

Opening hours:
Wednesday: 3:00 - 5:00 pm
Friday: 3:00 - 5:00 pm

Venue: Boxing Club, Mark Isaku 8,10000 Prishtina, Republic of Kosovo

Stacion - Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina is pleased to announce the exhibition of the finalists of the Artists of Tomorrow Award 2021.

The Artists of Tomorrow Award is the pivotal art award for young contemporary artists in Kosovo organized in collaboration with Residency Unlimited in New York and The Trust for Mutual Understanding in New York.

The Artists of Tomorrow Award is a unique project which provides young visual artists under the age of 35 the opportunity to produce new artwork, be part of a tailored education process, have meetings and presentations for an international jury of highly acclaimed professionals, have a joint exhibition with the finalists, curated by the curatorial team of Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina, and become part of an artist in residency program in the United States to experience New York’s dynamic art scene for a two-month residency at Residency Unlimited. Upon their return from the US, they will become part of the annual program of Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina with a solo exhibition that will be hosted at The Boxing Club in Prishtina.

The jury of the Artists of Tomorrow Award 2021, comprised of Anne Barlow, the director of the TATE St Ives, England, Qëndresë Deda, artist, winner of Artists of Tomorrow Award 2018, Minna Henriksson, artist, Adam Kleinman, an independent curator and writer as well as the Regional Curator for North America at the Kadist Art Foundation and Nebojša Milikić, cultural worker and activist based in Belgrade, has selected three finalists to the Artists of Tomorrow Award 2021.

This is the first collaboration of Stacion - Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina with artists Uresa Ahmeti, Endrit Jashanica and Enxhi Mehmeti.

The projections of Uresa Ahmeti in the exhibition of the finalists of the award "Artists of Tomorrow" 2021 take place simultaneously on two surfaces of the same space.
The dark monolithic wall creates her only concrete presence, which is missing in this meeting due to the impossibility of returning to the country due to the restrictions of visa-free movement. On one side we find the poem that gives the title of the work (Penetrating Air, 2021) and on the other the performance realized in the Palace of Culture, Youth and Sports "Boro and Ramizi" in Prishtina. For generations earlier than that of the author, the structure in question had represented a strong point in the social and cultural plan of life of the city and Kosovo. Although, as in many contexts on which a symbolic and referential spirit was conceived, once the Great Universal Hall of the Palace, today the building became evidence of the degradation that the events of the time exercised over it, until, in 2000, it burned in part. In these circumstances Uresa undertakes her journey, from outside and as "outsider", with a film plan that climbs from bottom to top. But this incursion towards the interior space, contrary to what can be expected, does not stem from an impulse or the need to recover a meaningful relationship with the conglomeration of potentials and problems that the building in question carries. More than a collective reminiscence site, it finds there an inviting scene to liberate, individually, body and voice as "schizoanalysis." Such is the fragmented text of poetry with incomplete and indescribable sentences. Schizonanalitic is also a demonic nature of the visit, which translates the delirium of the individual human act in need of resistance and refusal to the dominant dialectic of authoritarian systems.

While Endrit Jashanica for his first exhibition for the "Artists of Tomorrow" award creates a "monadological" area, which encapsulates both the feeling of virtual comfort and the isolation of the subject within it. According to the philosopher Gottfried W. Leibniz, in his work "Monadology" (1714), "monads" are particles not in the sense of Physics, but of Metaphysics, so they are simple substances, without parts and "without windows". Each "monad" is closed and independent of the others, and in each of them is reflected the universe that they express according to the respective position. The experience begins with a complex escalation over white. White are the walls that enclose the public and isolate it from the rest. White is then also the immaterial space, where anyone can dive through a VR [Virtual Reality] technology prosthesis. Apart from it, we can contemplate the aerial flight of his work, which resembles a lush relief of viral vegetation, more or less as in the proposals of radical architecture (from Superstudio to Bert Theis artistic collages) on urban transformations, always with ecological and political emphasis. But in fact, as we look at this dive contained in rhythm and time, we realize that we are inside a fractal box that multiplies endlessly. As it may be known, the stratification of the fractal into the infinite was made possible by the expansion of the perceptual computer space, i.e. by the digital era machine. However, it is important to note that this virtual device, which in all its hypersimulation seems to deviate us from the dimension of vulnerability - a disconnect from the sensor that actually begins with the birth of Perspective and the exclusivity of the eye as a control system - the most imbalance seen for us can exercise it precisely on the physical plane, especially when we come out of it and return to the real that we find nearby.

Enxhi Mehmeti's presences in this exhibition come as small and discreet entities. They are outlined in the form of drawings, abruptly transform into objects and envelop the space in the elementary form of a piano singing. Historically, the meaning of "singing" in the context of teaching in Albanian elementary schools, from where the first relationship with the alphabet begins, had nothing to do with a special musical action, but rather with reading as an exercise. In Enxh's case, her articulation turns them into litany twisted here and there in sequence. This is the first trail to follow the entrance along the Boxing Club corridor. Inside that wall fractures, drawings marked by a soft taxus grey, sometimes more graphically dimmed, reveal indecipherable and esoteric beings. In the attitude of the author herself, drawing for her as a medium does not belong to the fiction of fabrication, but to the position of the mediator and the transmission of this mediation, which brings closer to other existences. Her small room with black curtains, titled Babygiant’s elevator (2021), is a constant weave traces in every corner, where the eye catches sometimes bent spoons, sometimes supernatural phantoms that become affective to the material world, without really submitting to its laws.

Enxhi Mehmeti raves at the phantastic things happening around her and enjoys making them visible to others through various artistic techniques that take patience and affection. She was born and raised in Kassel, Germany as a child of two kosovan parents. Enxhi’s work speaks to the experience of the Kosovar diaspora. Through her powerful paintings and intimate drawings, as well as sculpture, music and poetry, she reflects on cultural and personal identity through a diasporic lens. Her work addresses differences in language and visual culture, fragmentation, representations of the female, and the discordant relationship between folk art and modern capitalism.
She studies art at Hochschule für Gestaltung Offenbach am Main since 2017 and a scholarship in Zollamt-Atelier-Stipendium – Offenbach, since 2019, ongoing. Exhibitions of her work: Haus – Vienna, 2021 (group exhibition), This is us – Kunstverein Frankfurt, 2021 (group exhibition), Entropie, atopie, learning to count – BOK Offenbach, 2019 (group exhibition), Reinfall – florens cargo, Darmstadt, 2017 (solo exhibition).

Endrit Jashanica was born in Prishtina in 1995. He is currently studying Conceptual Art and New Media. Endrit’s interest in arts was inspired by his passion for uncovering patterns within patterns in his environment. His aim as an artist is to make people feel the complexity, difficulty, and pleasure to be alive. He builds experiences that make everyone a participant. His being as a jack-of-all-trades has enriched his perspective – seeking to prove that “nothing” in our world is only the beginning, a placeholder for a new pattern to take place. His work and explorations include artworks designed and produced by new media technologies - from Virtual and Interactive art, 3D art, Generative, to Mixed Reality (XR).

The jury saw Endrit’s work bringing together conceptual art, performance and the digital in complex and innovative ways. Using the possibilities of digital technologies, including generative art and virtual and augmented reality, he explores ideas around the interior and exterior in terms of identity and form, dynamic behaviour and chaos, and a future in which human life and technology increasingly coalesce.

The multi-disciplinary work of Uresa Ahmeti encompasses video, performance and text. Uresa is a free spirit, activist, artist, and especially, a feminist killjoy. She finished her high school studies at United World College Maastricht in the Netherlands, after she won a national scholarship, and is currently in her last year of studying both Sociology and Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at Wesleyan University, CT, USA. Writing is one of her specialties. As a writer, activist, and conceptual performance artist, she has always seen art and activism as inextricable from one another. From shouting slam poetry in anti-deportation protests in the Netherlands to performing original pieces in the FemART festival in South-Eastern Europe, this combination of art and activism has shaped the course of her life. Interrogating, shifting, and expanding social binaries is her passion. Her work addresses and challenges capitalist, hetero-normative and patriarchal social structures. Her performances “From ‘other’ to Self’” and “Interrogating Power” as well as the podcasts she’s produced, and her recently published poetry book “How the Hell Do I Abort a Demon” among other works, call for self-agency, situated knowledge production from the self, social awareness, recognition and opposition of the ways in which systems of oppression co-exist and subjugate bodies. In turn, she calls for the abolition of these systems altogether through queering norms, binaries, and ways of carrying oneself through the world.

The jury was interested in the way in which she interrogates the relationship between artist and audience, and the observed and the observer, in contexts that include the architecture and public space of Pristina. Ahmeti embraces disobedience and refusal as ways of reclaiming the self, challenging norms and expectations around expressions and perceptions of gender identity.

The winner of the Artists of Tomorrow 2021 award will be announced on December 11, 2021 at the Boxing Club in Prishtina.

The winner of the Artists of Tomorrow Award will be awarded a two-month artist residency program in New York, US, at the Residency Unlimited in the period of April/ May 2022, and a solo exhibition within the annual program of Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina for 2023.

The Artists of Tomorrow Award is part of the Young Visual Artists Awards (YVVA) program - a network of ten similar awards organized throughout Central and Eastern Europe founded in 1989 in Czechoslovakia by President Vaclav Havel and dissident artists with the intention of supporting the emergence and development of contemporary art and civil society.
The intention of President Havel, Wendy W. Luers, the US organizers and founders was to award young artists with a US residency - that is to expose them to the outside world - and to underscore the role of culture in democratization and civil society. They established an open and transparent annual competition judged by an independent and changing jury without nepotism and favouritism. This founding mission and programmatic framework - to promote contemporary art, recognize and award artistic excellence, foster cultural exchange, and build the capacity of local art NGO’s and civil society – is also a guide for Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina to implement The Artists of Tomorrow Award in Kosovo.

In 2015 Residency Unlimited (RU) became the new host of the YVAA program in the US. In September 2015, Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina was tasked to assume leadership of the Artist of Tomorrow Award (AoT) in Kosovo starting with the first cycle in 2016 and with building upon and carrying forward the legacy of the Award.

Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina aims to enhance the potential and influence of The Artists of Tomorrow Award in the general developments and in contemporary art in Kosovo.

Main supporters of "The Artists of Tomorrow Award" 2021 are Trust for Mutual Understanding (TMU), Independent Curators International (ICI), Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Municipality of Prishtina.

Visits of the exhibition are organized in compliance with the measures for the prevention of the Covid-19 pandemic recommended by the National Institute of Public Health of Kosovo - IKSHPK and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Kosovo.

Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art Prishtina
Artists of Tomorrow Awards 2021
Artists: Uresa Ahmeti, Endrit Jashanica, Enxhi Mehmeti
Curatorial work: Lek M. Gjeloshi
The Architecture of the exhibition: Vala Osmani
Curatorial advisor: Albert Heta
Text: Lek M. Gjeloshi, Albert Heta
Production: Laureta Hajrullahu, Albert Heta, Lek M. Gjeloshi
Production and Administration Assitance: Luiza Thaqi
Exhibition installation: Skender Xhukolli, Lek M. Gjeloshi
Photo documentation: Alban Nuhiu
Poster: DZG