“When did you start to dedicate yourself to art?”
“…there’s no starting point, I’ve always drawn.”
Who knows how many pencils Artan (Shalsi) has consumed since when, for the first time, he found a sheet on which he made the first signs, which gave his vision of the world. After a first “spontaneous” approach, artist’s formation was strictly academic, with studies at the School of Art in Berat, Albania, where the teachings were still those modulated on socialist realism, therefore extraneous to abstraction as much as the latest artistic trends of the last decades of twentieth century. Artan’s country of origin, however, is a land of switches and crossings, passages and interpenetration: culture comes from the Greeks; archeology and ruins are part of the landscape and heritage of museums, and it is from those roots that Artan began to develop his steel plates, on which by then he stretched deep folds that become contemporary reworking of ancient statues draperies and mathematical regularization of fabrics and veils in a rough surface that surrounds the eye.
After a long stay in Germany and after moving to Italy, Artan adheres in a consistent and personal way in a minimalist style not without close ties with the surrounding natural or artificial barrier that has to accommodate artwork, creating harmony with landscape and with spaces in a search that never forgets to investigate the concepts of limits and infinity.
In the role of sculptor, he chooses the materials that best represent his poetry, enhances the sense of touch and epidermal, managing to soften the steel and plastic, revealing the shiny and mirrored heart that unfolds inside the rough and rusty shell of cor-ten, coating solids of paints loader that astonish for consistency and variability of surface. The sources from which projects come are those from daily life: from fascination with aesthetics of machine workshop where he produces his works, to causal visions he perceives everyday and that Artan metabolizes and then sublimate concentrated in geometric, in lines – patterned or designed – full of meaning. As in the case of the series “obliged equilibria”, pure forms that through the use of materials from the different specific weight, alter their balance and displace the observer, which remains a sense of disorientation.
Artan is not only an artist: the dialogue that takes place talking together while he offers me an Albanian tea (“the best in the world”) is deep and touches awareness motivation for his art-making, the need for creative expression that never want to be media, and the need for a design approach that starts from simple things, through a complex meditation and takes place in essential sculptures.