Petrit Halilaj (Kostërrc, Skenderaj, Republic of Kosovo, 1986) presents his first solo exhibition in Spain at Museo Reina Sofía, he was half-jokingly and half-seriously invited to produce “the piece of his life”.
Halilaj has turned the Palacio de Cristal into a giant nest that connects the interior with the exterior, linking visitors to their surroundings by opening windows, installing structures, and setting up feeding areas to attract the birds and other creatures inhabiting or transiting through Parque del Retiro.
Birds, a recurrent feature of his work, symbolize the transgression of the limits established by modern thought between subject and object, culture and nature. In particular, the artist has drawn inspiration from the extraordinary courtship ritual of bowerbirds, which make elaborate structures (‘bowers’) and decorate them with colorful objects to attract a mate. The idea of this ritual is closely linked to his own biography.
The nest is revealed as the setting for a ritual that lies in wait for encounters, alliances and unions among its different visitors, altering and changing with the space. Halilaj offers a refuge, and so raises hope for a possible future different to the one apparently awaiting us.