Helidon Gjergji, Trapa Natans Scutariensis, 2018, acrylic, soft drinks, and ink on wall, 9' 10“ × 32' 5 3⁄4” × 3 1⁄4". Installation view. Photo: Lazar Pejovic.

Helidon Gjergji

National Museum of Montenegro

For the exhibition “SHKODAR Lake,” curated by Ana Ivanović, Albanian artist Helidon Gjergji created a sort of museum of unnatural history in the Gallery Atelier Dado—a studio given to Montenegrin artist Miodrag Đurić (1933–2010), known as Dado, in the late 1980s to lure him back from France. While Dado’s intention to make the space an anti-museum went unfulfilled, Gjergji reflected it in an immersive diorama of interpretive wall paintings accompanied by vitrines containing deceptive artifacts that illustrate the elusiveness of existence.The exhibition title was a hybrid of Skadar and Shkodër, the slightly different names used to refer to the lake in Montenegro and Albania—the two countries it straddles as a nebulous natural border. The lake serves as an example of the vagaries of territorial jurisdictions and disappearing histories, along with the erasures committed in the interest

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