Conversation: Adrian Paci & Dr. Kobi Ben-Meir

ADRIAN PACI Broken Words

Conversation: Adrian Paci & Dr. Kobi Ben-Meir

Sat October 29, 19:00 - 20:00 in English
Last chance to see Running In Place exhibition
Location: Polat Piyalepaşa Çarşı, Lower Level, Piyalepaşa Blv., Istanbul (shuttle or 15-minute walk from Arter)

Protocinema presents a conversation with Adrian Paci and Dr. Kobi Ben-Meir, Chief Curator of Haifa Museum of Art, and screening of Broken Words (2019) in dialogue with The Wanderers (2021). Paci and Ben-Meir will discuss the main themes in these works such as travel, passage, and waiting, which is above all a state of expectation. The event is part of the international promotion program of Broken Words, project winner of the Italian Council (2021) and Protocinema’s final public program accompanying our group show Running in Place exhibition with Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, David Horvitz and Onur Karaoğlu, which revolves around the circulation of ideas, water, and bodies along with their inherent contradictions.

The works of Adrian Paci grow out of a search for meaning guided by inner needs, as an active way of thinking about the contemporary world. Ties to one’s time and place of origin, which are not dimensions to which anyone can return, but rather deep touchstones that individuals must carry with them. This gives even the most ordinary actions a full range of meaning. Paci’s video Broken Words (2018), features five Syrian refugees, whom Paci met near Beirut. They were asked to talk about their personal experiences during the civil war in Syria. While one can hear the spoken text in Arabic, Paci edited each video to represent only the moments when the refugees stop talking. What we see, what we hear, and what we are told are incongruent, emphasizing that the full grasp of another's traumatic experiences is impossible; we can only hear broken words that convey fragments. Paci's projections are sensitive observations of the refugee's vocal, facial, and bodily expressions, which emotionally articulate what words are unable to convey.

The Wanderers (2021) takes us into rural and contemporary Albania, with glimpses of various landscapes and the countryside surrounding the city of Shkodër, where Paci was born. On the left, we see a snowy and almost deserted road. Human beings and animals sporadically appear, filmed in slow motion, and the setting changes depending on the weather conditions. On the right, the grain of the image – this time in color – becomes more textured and filmic, while the movement of figures along the road gets more intense and frequent, entering the frame of the shot only to leave it shortly thereafter. In what might seem like a secular procession lacking in symbols, the long tracking shot clearly implies a higher degree of staging with respect to the images on the left, which more spontaneously record different locations and moments from late 2020 and throughout 2021.

More about Running in Place with with Beatriz Santiago Muñoz, David Horvitz and Onur Karaoğlu, here. More about PROTODISPATCH, our new digital publication featuring personal perspectives by artists addressing transcontinental concerns, filtered by where they are in the world, with Laura Racovich, here.

Adrian Paci’s works have been presented in numerous solo exhibitions internationally (selection): Haifa Museum of Art, Israel (2022); Kunsthalle Krems, Austria (2019); National Gallery of Art, Tirana (2019); Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg (2019). He premiered Interregnum, with Protocinema in Istanbul in 2017. His work is represented by kaufmann repetto, Milan/New York; Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich and Kalfayan Galleries, Athens. More about Paci here.

Dr. Kobi Ben-Meir is the Chief Curator of Haifa Museum of Art since 2021. Among the exhibitions he curated at the Museum are Volkan Kızıltunç & August Sander: The Look, Nardeen Srouji: My Playground, and Adrian Paci: Still Voices, a mid-career retrospective to the Albanian-Italian artist. Before joining the Haifa Museum of Art, Ben-Meir worked for 17 years at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, in diverse curatorial and educational positions. Ben-Meir is a scholar of contemporary art, and earned his PhD from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

This event is supported by the Directorate-General for Contemporary Creativity by the Italian Ministry of Culture under the Italian Council (10th edition, 2021), a program to promote Italian contemporary art in the world by the Directorate General for Contemporary Creativity of the Italian Ministry of Culture.

Protocinema is supported by the United States Mission – Turkey and Polat Piyalepaşa Çarşı, Istanbul. Protocinema Board of Trustees: Defne Ayas, Dillon Cohen, David Howe, Jane Lombard, Ari Meşulam, Jason Heard, Sheldon La Pierre, Ayşe Umur. International Commissioning Committee: Haro Cümbüşyan and Bilge Öğüt, Adnan Yerebakan.

Image: Adrian Paci, Broken Words, 2019, 5-channel video installation. Photo: Courtesy of the artist, Kaufmann repetto, Milan/New York and Peter Kilchmann, Zurich. Produced with the contribution of the Sant Egidio community, Rome