tirana-albania

Helidon Gjergji, e-mages, 2009, video projection on broken mirror, 4 minutes 15 seconds. Installation view.

Helidon Gjergji

National Gallery of Arts

Helidon Gjergji, e-mages, 2009, video projection on broken mirror, 4 minutes 15 seconds. Installation view.

The titular centerpiece of Helidon Gjergji’s show “e-mages,” at the National Gallery of Arts, is a slide show in which fragmented photos of Joseph Stalin’s family and friends are projected onto a shattered mirror lying on the floor in front of the projector and, in turn, reflected onto the wall. According to Gjergji’s fictional narrative, Stalin’s mother, Ketevan Geladze, has chosen the pictures for a Facebook album—a wink at social media as a form of personal propaganda. The intimate nature of the black-and-white snapshots only enhances the disconcerting effect of seeing a tyrant dandling children in his lap—a queasiness exacerbated by the accompaniment of Dmitri Shostakovich’s jaunty, wildly popular, and insidiously catchy “Second Waltz,” recently revived after a long disappearance owing to the fact that the composer fell from favor under the Soviet regime and lost

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