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B.1944 in Shkodër, Albania, lives and works in Tirana, Albania

Edi Hila is an influential teacher at the Tirana Academy of Fine Arts. During his studies in the 1960s he experimented with deformation. In 1972 he painted The Planting of Trees, a picture rendered slightly unreal through the use of colours. Because it departed from the social realist doctrine in force at the time, the painting was used as the pretext for sentencing him to a re-education camp. For several years, forced to live in the countryside and work in the poultry processing factory, he was practically cut off from the ability to practise painting. He produced numerous drawings at that time, first and foremost the series Poultry (1975–1976), documenting rural life, harrowing in the raw realism of its presentation, with existential undertones. In the 1990s, seeking his own path back to painting, Hila carefully observed life evolving after the fall of the Hoxha regime and tried to depict the realities of social transformation. In the groundbreaking series Comfort (1997), the artist captures the inability to satisfy the need for comfort promised to the new society.

Edi Hila
Maison Bleue (Blue House), 2000
51.5 x 64 inches / 131 x 163 cm
Acrylic on canvas

Edi Hila has taken part in numerous international exhibitions including documenta 14 (2017), the Venice Biennale of Architecture (2014), the Liverpool Biennale (2010), the Venice Biennale (1999), and has exhibited in numerous international institutions, such as the Ludwig Museum in Budapest (2016), Bundeskunsthalle Bonn (2013), Kunsthalle Fridiricianum, Kassel and Blood and Honey? The Future's Balkan curated by Harald Szeeman at the Essl Museum in Vienna (both 2003), After the Wall at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, Ludvig Museum, Budapest (2000) and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm (1999). In 2018, the National Gallery of Arts Tirana and the Museum of Modern Art Warsaw presented Hila’s work in the retrospective exhibition PAINTER OF TRANSFORMATION.

His works have recently been acquired by the collections of the Musée d'art moderne Centre Pompidou, Paris, FRAC Pays de la Loire and the Fonds Municipal de la Ville de Paris. Other public collections include Kontakt – the Art Collection of Erste Group and Erste Foundation; Museum of Modern Art Warsaw; National Gallery Tirana; FRAC Auvergne, France; Kindl Zentrum für zeitgenössische Kunst Berlin.

Thinking Ahead
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