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Hera Büyüktaşciyan, My Eye's Pupil Is Your Nest, 2021

Installation view at Autostrada Biennale, Prizren, Kosovo, 2021

Far from the glitz and glamour of Venice or the shock and awe of Documenta in Kassel, Kosovo—a land-locked country that gained independence after years of violence during the breakup of the former Yugoslavia—is quickly becoming something of an anomaly on the biennial circuit.

Founded in 2014, the Autostrada Biennale was established by Leutrim Fishekqiu, Vatra Abrashi and Baris Karamuco, who made it their mission to transform contemporary art in Kosovo by focusing on socially engaged and immersive public-facing projects. The local trio recently acquired a former German military hangar, converting it into a venue for contemporary art in Prizren.

Called What if a Journey…, the third edition was devised by the Berlin-based curators Övül Durmusoglu and Joanna Warsza, who last year mounted the acclaimed Die Balkone: Life, Art, Pandemic and Proximity exhibition, which presented art on balconies in Berlin's Prenzlauer Berg district during lockdown.

Taking visitors on a road trip through Kosovo’s capital Prishtina, continuing along the Lumbardhi river towards Prizren, before finally ending in Peja, Autostrada—which opened on 1 July and runs until 11 September—explores the process of meandering the ancient pathways that once connected Venice to Constantinople.

In Hera Büyüktaşciyan’s My Eye’s Pupil Is Your Nest (2021), the remnants of Prizren’s aquatic memory are marked by a piece of large, unfolding blue drapery that descends from the top of Prizren Fort to the city centre several hundred metres below. Evocative of the large-scale public wrappings of Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Büyüktaşciyan’s work marks the interruption of the natural aquatic network of the rivers and channels that once would supply Prizren, now replaced by modern delivery systems that leave many citizens cut off.

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