Tirana Kunst
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Matilda Odobashi. Lines that lie

Lines that lie started as a collection of small drawings from the intimate space of a notebook back in 2018. Representing detached details from the city, it contain unspecified elements that I choose randomly and that when merged together, create the portrait of the city I live.
Matilda Odobashi

While the original drawings are more straight forward and representing elements of the city in miniature, somehow I wasn’t completely satisfied, as they weren’t representing neither the strong or complex relationships developed within the city (the people; the noise, etc), nor the visually overleaping architectonical structures or the a-natural physiognomy of the city. Thus, after letting the project untouched for some time, I started reworking on it, in a digital form.

This new work was an outcome of a beautiful accident or what some people might call ‘error’. Errors in art are the ‘best things can happen’ as long as there is a certain attentiveness in order to grasp them, so that is precisely what I did.

Matilda Odobashi, Lines that lie, 2021, Installation view at Zeta Gallery, Tirana
Matilda Odobashi, Lines that lie, 2021, Installation view at Zeta Gallery, Tirana

After the ‘digital happening’, I worked on some of the drawings, and by repetition and multiplication of specific parts, the imagery became more dense, deep and tense. The more details kept adding, the more the dimensions kept growing, thus resembling to those of a real city. Early this year I had the opportunity to print one of these images, in a large format. This print was in conversation with seven drawings from another series with images resembling creatures of insects/flowers which hung above the print. The work in these photos was taken during the most recent exhibition at Zeta gallery in Tirana, organized in september 2021.

It is a wallpaper print with the dimensions 193cm by 270cm.

While the first time that I exhibited my large print at the above mentioned exhibition got removed, this time I had another call. This time I tried to ‘save’ parts of the work by using a very simple technique, that of the monotype. I used to work on monotypes back in my university years and I always thought of it as a very beautiful and simple method, a method that was full of surprises and uncertainties. And that is what I did. Almost in an obsessive way, I painted over the wall paper by selecting certain figures/elements and putting papers over them to fix the new images in reverse. I started installing some of these monotypes over the print, and here I was, using the gallery as an art studio and almost like performing ; repeating, like a ritual, the gesture of painting ‘in the wall’ and imprinting the image into paper.

The outcome was a five working days process, over 40 monotypes in different sizes, and a multi-dimensional installation of the print with several monotypes hanged above it.

The performance was unplanned, the outcome also, but in the end I believe that the work is an ongoing process and even when the work is exhibited, for me it doesn’t means that the work is finished. I see most of my works in perpetual process as it happens that I return several times to my previews works or previews cycles and continue to develop them in other mediums or forms. Lines that lie is a cycle of works in different mediums, where each of the pieces, portrays a singular multitude of the city. The work, although not directly, is a kind of tribute to Invisible cities of Italo Calvino.

Matilda Odobashi, Lines that lie, 2021, Installation view at Zeta Gallery, Tirana
Matilda Odobashi, Lines that lie, 2021, Installation view at Zeta Gallery, Tirana

About the artist. Matilda Odobashi was born in Tirana, Albania. She studied fine arts at the University of Arts in Tirana, later cultural anthropology and currently she is pursuing her formation in psychoanalysis. Her inspiration is drown by what it means to live together and the anxiety as a result of the relation with ‘the other(ness)’. Initially trained as a painter, Odobashi explores inter-relationships throughout different mediums such as drawing and digital drawing, painting, installation, etc. Her work focuses on the imposed social norms and re-thinks their meaning and function as well as their impact on the society. The artist has exhibited at numerous solo and group exhibitions. Some of her solo exhibitions are Size Matters (Vienna, 2018), The passenger (Salzburg), The Chronic (Zeta Art Center, 2014). Remarkable group exhibitions are Ambitions (National Gallery Tirana & Pristina, 2021), Maeutic (Fluc 2017), The whale which was a submarine – Contemporary Art in Albania and Kosovo (Ludwig Museum, Budapest), The Albanian way: Collection of the National Art Gallery and Zietgenossische Kunstler (Landtag NRW, Düsseldorf 2016), 100 km Art-Tirana Shkodra Public Art Paracours, National Road Tirana-Shkodra (Tirana Art Lab – Center for Contemporary Art), Balkan Express Caravan – Art in the Balkans (Fabrica de Pensule, Cluj-Napoca, 2015). Odobashi has also been working as a curator for institutions such as Tirana Art Lab, FAB Gallery, National Museum, Zeta Art Center, The Alliance Against LGBT Discrimination, National Gallery Kosovo, and Parallel Vienna.

Matilda Odobashi – www.matildaodobashi.com, www.instagram.com/odobashimatilda/