Sislej Xhafa

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Sislej Xhafa
Sislej xhafa, workshop all'Accademia di Firenze, 13-04-2015, 10.jpg
Portrait during a workshop with students of Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence, 2015
Born 1970 (age 46–47)
Peja, SFR Yugoslavia (present-day Republic of Kosovo
Nationality American
Known for Contemporary art
Notable work Padiglione Clandestino Albanese (1997); Pleasure our Flower (2000); Again and Again (2000); Y (2011)
Sislej Xhafa, Axis of Silence, 2009, Geneva

Sislej Xhafa (Albanian: Sislej Xhafa, Serbian: Сислеј Џафа, Sislej Džafa) (born 1970 in Peja, SFR Yugoslavia (now Republic of Kosovo) is a Kosovar Albanian contemporary artist, based in New York.

He is represented by Galleria Continua, San Gimignano / Beijing / Le Moulin and BlainSouthern in the United Kingdom.

Life and works[edit]

Xhafa is known for his artistic investigation into social, economical and political realities associated with the various complexities of modern society.[citation needed] He has over the years highlighted his artistic work on economic and social themes, political realities, as they interact with the protean variety of modern society. His investigations, for example, into phenomena of tourism or forced illegality use a minimal language and they are also ironic and subversive, practising indifferently a wide range of media, from sculpture to drawing, and performance to photography.[citation needed]

  • “Reality is stronger than art. As an artist I do not want to reflect a reality, but I do want to question it. My social upbringing does not embrace, rational linear actions.I approach the world and life with primal instinctive behaviour”. Interview of Gilane Tawadros with Sislej Xhafa, catalogue of the exhibition “Transmission Interrupted”, Modern Art Oxford, 2009.

The social results of economic theories, and the conceptual outcome deriving from complex relations, have long been at the heart of Xhafa's artistic research. It questions the legal status of his place of origin, Kosovo, and he presents himself as the Clandestine Pavilion at the Venice Biennale; or in the shoes of a broker who does not sell shares but buys and sells the departures and arrivals of trains in the performance "Stock Exchange". In a square in Turin, he sets up a temporary job centre which in reality is a type of stage set; in New York, he reflects on the concept of security and stability, and in Manhattan he gets a truck of the 1950s full of young lawyers to go up the main road as they recite aloud the page of the yellow pages under the entry "Lawyers".

"It's a politics of interruption, upsetting the configuration of forces determining what is visible and what is not, what forms of speech are understood as discourse and which are only perceptible as noise, who is designated as a speaking subject and who is merely spoken to". Jacob Proctor, Playing Prisoner’s Dilemma – Iniside the world of Sislej Xhafa in «Bidoun», #11, Summer 2007


Elegant Sick Bus at Modern Art Oxford

Xhafa has exhibited widely, including:


  • Hardau City Park Y, Zürich; Supported by City of Zürich, ZHDK and IFCAR 2009-2011 [1]
  • "Axis of Silence" in collaboration with Contemporary Art Fund of the City and Canton of Geneva (Fmac and FCAC) Plaine de Plainpalais; Geneva 2008
  • Fondazione Pistoletto, Biella 2001
  • Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Premio Querini- Furla per l'Arte, Venice 2000
  • Onufri National Gallery, Tirana 1999


External links[edit]