Spotlight on Adrian Paci

Within the framework of the 25th Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, the cinema work of the renowned Albanian artist Adrian Paci was presented on Friday, March 3rd, at Pavlos Zannas theater through a spotlight on his video works. 

The Festival’s artistic director, Orestis Andreadakis welcomed the artist. "It is a great honor to have Adrian Paci here with us today. An important artist, a very good friend and neighbor. I would also like to thank the Kalfayan Gallery for their support."

Adrian Paci took the floor. "I am primarily a painter, not a filmmaker, although my work involves moving images. I started in 1997 with some videos in which I filmed my daughter telling some stories. I liked the process and kept doing it. My work is exhibited in museums, galleries and exhibitions, however I am often invited to film festivals as well."

After the screening of his video works, Mr Paci talked about his new visual art project that will be showcased on June 25th. "It will be presented in Elefsina as part of the 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture. It is an art installation that is part of the exhibition Elefsina mon Amour, curated by Katerina Gregou. I have an obsession with death which, to be honest, is something I need to understand better. I like to place bodies in different places or in motion and film them. One of my desires in relation to this installation was to talk to people and ask them how they imagine their final resting place. Katerina talked to me about Elefsina and its myths. I spent some time there and I will return to do new work, which will also be filmed. I have many stories and many projects in my notebook and I hope I’ll pull everything off by the opening day."

In relation to death being one of the main themes of his work, Adrian Paci explained "All the mysteries and enigmas about our life are completed by the fact that our final destination is death. It is a very natural thing. The question is how we deal with death. Humanity has built many rituals, plays and films around death and one of my latest works shows a woman grieving over my body. An imaginary scene is created around the moment of death. When fiction is so important for such a moment, it becomes important for art, film and theater. I still have a lot of questions related to the subject. I don't have all the answers."

"I started filming because photographs were not enough for some stories. I wanted to capture what was happening [...] I discovered that video has its own body and language."

Mr Roupen Kalfayan then took the floor and spoke about his collaboration with the artist. "We have been working with Adrian for quite some time. The goal of the gallery was to focus on artists from our region. Adrian is a neighbor and we started working together because we liked his work. In our gallery you will find his second exhibition. We find his work very interesting and very close to our own logic. He is of course an international artist and he deals with subjects that are of interest to everyone."

Regarding language as a means of communication which is often absent from his works, Paci explained: "As a painter I work with paints and brushes. Living in the Hoxha dictatorship, the whole narrative created through language ultimately turned out to be untrue and after Albania, I went to live in Italy. As a result, I had a troubled relationship with language. I use it less and less and when I do it, I present it as problematic."

When asked about what cinema is for him, he replied "I don't yet know what painting is. But I love those moments when I am in a room and the audience and I enter another world. There is a sentence by Boris Groys that talks about the difference between cinema and art. Cinema is moving and the audience is remains fixed while in art it’s the opposite that happens. As I do both, I enjoy experiencing that difference.”