Special reports
Special reports
Special reports

When dinosaurs roamed

Armando Lulaj’s exhibition is a (cool) reflection on the social history of Albania

by Sarah Wilson  |  8 May 2015
When dinosaurs roamed
Sperm whale skeleton as displayed at the former Natural History Museum in Tirana

The skeleton of a huge dinosaur dominates Armando Lulaj’s exhibition, Albanian Trilogy: A Series of Devious Stratagems, which is curated by Marco Scotini. The pinned-together bones of a sperm whale (physeter macrocephalus) from the Natural Science Museum in Tirana are echoed in the opposite vitrine displaying the former Albanian leader Enver Hoxha’s works, published in Albanian in 71 volumes from 1968 to 1990.

Colour frontispieces collaged into the open books show dinosaur bone fragments, steel bolts and wooden fragments, a “scientific” reconstruction, rhyming with the backbone of the beast. The conceit of “prehistoric communism” is continued in the accompanying video, where a robust physeter macrocephalus is paraded through the busy streets of Tirana, with its forbidding socialist skyscrapers. Lacking the “European” identity crisis facing Slovenia, it is strange how this project from the once more ferocious regime, relies on a cooler ironic joke.

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