Descrizione Opera / Biografia
Like in a film by Emir Kusturica, the National Library of Kosovo emerges from the fog of Pristina as a growing organic structure. The building was opened in November 1982 and became a national symbol. In the 90s, during the war in Kosovo, it was used by the Serbian Army as a command centre.
During that period, the building became a symbolic battlefield for ethnic cleansing and 100,000 books in the Albanian language were destroyed. After the war, the library was enriched with 30,000 new titles and the collection reached 2 million volumes after the Kosovo declaration of independence in February 2008.
The work belongs to the series entitled Speculations which presents imaginary transformations of iconic buildings and places located in many cities around the world. Some of these buildings and places are internationally famous, while others are only known by locals, but all of them hide peculiar stories that characterize them with special meanings.
Each speculation is a visual poem that transforms our perception of a specific place with an aesthetic purpose. These transformations also produce symbolic mutations that raise questions about intertwined global phenomena such as land speculation, gentrification, city branding, touristification, social segregation, or institutional, nationalistic and religious identity.
Mayor (b. Madrid) is a visual artist based in Rotterdam. He was educated as an architect and a visual artist in Madrid, Turin and London. In 2001 he established the office for architecture, urban planning and landscape architecture Casanova+Hernandez Architects in Rotterdam. In parallel he has developed his artistic work, first in Madrid and later in Atelier-Mayor located in Rotterdam.
The Speculations series is the artistic expression of his dualistic personality, combining art and architecture in an extensive work that uses different media such as large-format photographs, paintings and video-art pieces focused on cities and places in more than 60 countries.
Mayor’s architectural and artistic work has been exhibited in many museums and art galleries such as:
CICA Museum, South Korea (2017), ICO Museum, Madrid (2015), Museu Nacional de Soares dos Reis, Porto (2014), Architektur Galerie Berlin (2013), Real Academia de España, Rome (2011), Latin Cultural Centre, Dallas (2011), Instituto Cervantes, Chicago (2011), Nai, Rotterdam (2010, 2007, 2004), La Casa Encendida, Madrid (2010), Columbia University, New York (2009), Arqueria Nuevos Ministerios, Madrid (2008, 2002), Architekturzentrum, Vienna (2007), Magazinni del Sale, Venice (2007), Centrale Bibliotheek, Rotterdam (2007), Kunstmuseum, Stuttgart (2006), Van Nelle Fabriek, Rotterdam (2005), The Hague City Hall, The Hague (2004) and Mies van der Rohe Pavilion, Barcelona (2004).