Flaka Haliti

Whose Bones? (2022)

Flaka Haliti’s sculpture reconstructs the skeleton of an indeterminable animal. It could be a dangerous predator, a lion, tiger, or panther of the kind used in heraldry, in particular in the Styrian coat of arms. Or it might simply be the enlarged skeleton of an ordinary cat, perhaps a dirty, scraggy alley cat, the lowest in the hierarchy of living creatures. The one whom one sees perhaps in the wretched silhouettes of contemporary refugees, beggars, poor people, women mostly—those who are not seen as more dangerous than stray dogs. Can we tell the difference between the bones of the noble tiger from those of the sordid cat?

Haliti’s figure is a chimera combining domesticity and danger, the high and the lowly, the colonizer and the colonized. She thus comments on in-betweenness as a new form of existence crucial to our time—in which qualities that used to distinguish seeming opposites no longer apply absolutely. The dusting of 3D-printed snow covering the inscrutable feline adds another layer of ambivalence. It simulates what the sculpture would look like outdoors in longer periods of snowfall that could result from drastic climate change.

Flaka Haliti (1982, Pristina, Kosovo) is an artist working with mixed media, sculpture, and spatial installation with a decidedly site-specific approach. Appropriation and rearrangement are continuous lines in her works, which steadily confront the nebulous politics of identity construction. She has presented her work in solo exhibitions at the MUMOK, Vienna, at the Kunsthaus Hamburg, and in group exhibitions at Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Kunsthalle Wien and Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich, among others.

Plastic, foam, steel, aluminum

Commissioned and produced by steirischer herbst ’22