Wien Kunst

Interview with Albana Ejupi

Albana Ejupi is an artist who explores the intricate relationship between the human body and mind. Her art delves into questions of identity, intimacy, and the human experience, touching on age, memory, love, pain, and healing.
Interview with Albana Ejupi
Artist Albana Ejupi. Photo: Rene Huemer

She uses layers of colors and materials, including sand from Kosovo, connecting her work to her heritage. Ejupi often portrays older individuals, emphasizing the transitory nature of existence. Her paintings evoke diverse human relationships and connections, challenging viewers to see beyond surface appearances to the deeper layers of human existence.

What initially drew you to the world of painting, and how has your artistic journey evolved over the years?
Honestly, art has always played a vital role in my life. However, just before graduating from high school, I was firmly committed to pursuing a medical career and becoming a doctor. Fortunately, I ultimately yielded to my passion and chose to follow what truly inspires me, opting to study art instead.

Gradually, I began to cultivate my unique style and technique through a series of steps. The journey to where I am today was undeniably challenging, particularly when it came to building a network in a foreign country where I didn’t even speak the language. Nevertheless, I believe that the hardships have now become an integral part of my artistic identity and have even enriched my artwork.

Can you describe your creative process from concept to finished piece?
Typically, I begin by capturing a series of photographs to ensure a diverse range of poses, a process I particularly enjoy due to the anticipation of discovering intriguing expressions and emotions conveyed through various perspectives in these images. Once I’ve chosen the photograph that ignites my creative spark, I create preliminary sketches before embarking on the artwork. Then I start working on the actual piece, and through the process, I also tend to make changes along the way all the time, especially the choice of colours.

Interview with Albana Ejupi
Powerful Female Form acrylic, oil, pastel, sand and textile on canvas 180 x 320 cm, 2023

Your use of sand from Kosovo. Could you explain the significance of this material and how it connects to your heritage and the themes in your art?
Well, on the one hand, the fact that the sand is from Kosovo, picked up by my father personally, gives me the feeling that my heritage is manifested in each art piece. On the other hand, I shape human bodies from sand, just as we are, in a sense, born from the earth and returned to the earth. The images reflect not only the formal aesthetic aspect of the structure but also the theme of transience.

Do you have any favorite artists or art movements that have had a significant impact on your style or artistic philosophy?
To be honest, I don’t have one specific favorite artist or art movement. I have a lot of different preferences when it comes to art. Some of my favorite artists, who influenced my work, are Antoni Tapies, Mira Schor, and Tracey Emin.

Interview with Albana Ejupi
Sandscape acrylic, oil, pastel, sand and textile on canvas 200 x 160 cm, 2023

How do you handle creative blocks or periods of artistic stagnation?
Well depends, on how long they last I guess. Obviously, short blocks, I can handle it more easily, I just spent more time on my PhD-Thesis, or organizational things regarding my artwork. What I have come to learn over the years is that I work out of the necessity of painting, because it’s necessary for my spirit, and because I am not able to feel joy in my life when I don’t. Luckily, my close circle of family and friends are very supportive during that time.

What do you do with your time when you’re not in the studio? Are there places in Vienna where you like to spend time? I like doing long walks through Vienna’s beautiful old city appreciating classic architecture, which also fosters my creativity. And of course visit as many exhibitions as I can.

Interview with Albana Ejupi
Intense Feminity acrylic, oil, pastel, sand and textile on canvas 180 x 320 cm, 2023

What are your future artistic aspirations and projects?
Are there any new directions or themes you plan to explore in your upcoming work? I am currently participating at ART VIENNA – International Art Fair and also gonna be part of the Fair for Art for Vienna. Of course, I am also working on my next year’s projects and exhibitions. I am planning to add new features and incorporate new ideas into my new work, especially for next year, so stay tuned.

Albana Ejupi –