F/\CT | Armando Lulaj

F/\CT: 6-day Show (20-25 May) by Armando Lulaj (b. 1980, Tirana). 

This is the artist’s first solo show at ZETA Gallery.

“In the past I was only making complex pieces which required many resources. A loved one gave me the advice to create works that cost no more than $10, or nothing at all, and so I did. fʌkt: 6-day Show is the outcome of that process.” – Armando Lulaj 

Armando Lulaj

27.01.2024 | “They say I’m the most special, sophisticated artist of the country. Some others say I’m a villain, a cunning man, a radical, a controversial man and someone impossible to work with. The truth is that I never expected anything else to be said about me.”

06.01.2018 | “I never liked being associated with any artistic style or group of artists. In the 2000s [in Albania] to make your way you had to hang out with artists or curators who were working abroad. They were a very politically supported group. At the time I was making political art — or, as they referred to it, problematic art — and I was also criticizing their modus operandi and shady political affiliations. Even though ‘that shadow’ was so visible to many, it was also very fruitful for other young artists my age to follow them. I personally didn’t like the idea of being part of that group
and always refused any invitation to participate in their gatherings. Besides being a loner, this was the main reason. I had already told myself from the beginning that one had to be different, so different that no exhibition could really work without you. There was a need to create something special, so I decided to be a ghost haunting the exhibition spaces.”

26.12.2023 | “Art and poetry are two very dangerous tools against power. Most of the artists have chosen not to oppose, but to maintain a uniformity of thought that is supported by power. Most importantly, their displays and their work reiterate an attitude of assertion of power. No artist should be a broom to clean the dirt of power.”

12.01.2024 | “Nowadays true power in art does not come anymore as a silent entity that slowly transforms and corrodes until it consumes you, but as a straightforward force that dictates which side you should be on.”

12.12.2023 | “Coming from a small country, a poor and corrupt one, which no one really cares about but only uses for shady business or as a dumping site in every sense of the word, one must find new ways to impose oneself. Nowadays this is more difficult than ever. The space of acceptance has already been created and a model was established. Now the task is to challenge the established model. Remember me! This world has not opened any space for you. This space has not yet been created. You should create it.”

13.03.2022 | “I want to stop with this kind of art which always risks to become too direct. It doesn’t appeal to me anymore. I’ve been thinking for some time now. I think I’m done with that. I said everything I wanted to say in the book Broken Narrative: The Politics of Contemporary Art in Albania
(fʌkt: Një kundërhistori e së tashmes). That book was conceived as a ‘political art work’. I am looking for something different now, something deeper, something hard to grasp.”

12.01.2018 | “For a long time now I’ve been composing a different narrative about the presence of the United States in Albania. I call it ‘The Third Love Affair’.”

14.12.2023 | “I see today’s artists’ displays and they immediately make me think of what the artist had in mind to complete the process in order to profit from it. It’s almost like all these grant applications where you need to shape your project in order to be accepted. If one leaves these patterns behind, one will never win. Most cultural operators try to model their proposals by pandering to those political patterns. This is the process happening to the artwork as well. I’m more interested in the process of reformulating ideas that will make it impossible to write an application
that will be accepted.”

06.02.2024 | “The government paid for the incineration of our waste with our tax money, but the incineration didn’t take place and our money was stolen. That money reappears and comes back to us in a different way: To buy votes, thus the elections. Perfect use of human waste! What ruined
this very scheme was the Contemporary Art Sculpture Park they wanted to build in the entrance of the landfill.”

24.03.2021 | “The government has invested a lot in the prime minister’s decision to export him[self] as a brand, as the only cultural brand of the country. This decision was strangely supported by the majority of artists and art workers living and working here. I couldn’t resist this and
I wanted to put a filter between the ‘brand’ and the recipients. By forcing myself to insert a different attitude right in the middle I was making a cultural statement, especially towards the next generation.”

09.04.2023 | “A lobbyist confessed to a friend of mine that Albanian politicians are more than ready to face prison to protect what they have stolen during the 2013–2023 period. They are ready to make any pact with justice to never return what they stole, go to prison, and show that justice
works. This is the country we are living in.”

12.01.2024 | “Ours has always been a society divided into categories and social strata. In today’s neoliberal era, we live in a society where power continually rubs the wound of poverty. This reminds me of a very derogatory, local old saying about gypsies, and it is obviously being said by
those fucking old geezers who feel superior. The saying is that ‘When the gypsy earns, he rubs yogurt on his ass too.’ For the New Year celebrations, a marginal but charismatic artist sent to some of the so-called nouveau riche [they do like to be called Albanian collectors as well!] some containers
of cheap Erzeni yogurt.”

07.05.2024 | “One of the tools used by contemporary art today is to push the average to the limit. Insignificant elements are scaled. Now they look big. Some have made some good pieces, but in my opinion the model itself is
problematic. It has become a trick, not to save an idea but to make it visible to the blind, those inside the system, even though the idea itself remains strong as a miniature. This has an effect that is not like the sparkle of light to the blind, which I would prefer.”

11.02.2024 | “In the past I was only making complex pieces which required many resources. A loved one gave me the advice to create works that cost no more than $10, or nothing at all, and so I did. fʌkt: 6-day Show is the outcome of that process.”

01.07.2018 | “I am never fully satisfied with the exhibition display. I would rather exhibit a ghost roaming around the exhibition.”