Petrit Halilaj & Álvaro Urbano

Born in 1986 in Kosterrc - Skenderaj (Kosovo), Petrit Halilaj lives and works between Milan and Berlin
Born in 1983 in Madrid (Spain), Álvaro Urbano lives and works between Milan and Berlin

27th of March 2012 (Forsythias), 2020
Stainless steel, canvas, acrylic paint, wire, 2.7 x 1.5 m

Courtesy of the artists & galerie Mennour, Paris

Petrit Halilaj and Álvaro Urbano’s forsythia flowers settle inside the exhibition space like climbing plants. Heralding spring with their golden yellow color, they are often seen as symbols of splendor and abundance. They draw a new Garden of Eden, both an area of intimacy and a seed dissemination center, irrigating all the rooms of the villa. The outdoor gardens symbolically penetrate the place to form a monumental ensemble whose imposing appearance cannot however mask the personal history that gave rise to them. A nest designed as a shelter for Petrit Halilaj and his partner Álvaro Urbano. A flower to share and spread this love. A work like a poetic and political manifesto.
Romantic celebration and act of freedom, this proposal also creates a porous space in the exhibition that transfigures the external panorama into an introspective landscape and invites you on a walk that is both confidential and universal. In the shade of the flower sculptures, visitors are encouraged to connect to the natural world as well as to their own emotions. Petrit Halilaj and Álvaro Urbano have independent practices, but since 2014 they occasionally combine their research. Their joint work aims to break the binary separations between animal and non-animal or between natural and built environments in a playful and lyrical way. The couple creates time-spaces, architect of an immersive theater where residents and visitors become actors and co-authors of a common history. In these places, the hope of changing reality through a detour through fiction reigns. Their approach thus suggests the concept of heterotopia developed by Michel Foucault to describe existing utopias, such as gardens: “the garden is a carpet where the whole world comes to accomplish its symbolic perfection, […] it is the smallest parcel of the world and then it is the whole world.”

Petrit Halilaj & Álvaro Urbano, 27th of March 2012 (Forsythias), 2020 Exhibition view of Un Lac Inconnu, Bally Foundation, Lugano, Switzerland, 2023 © Andrea Rossetti