With the opening of the Cukrarna Gallery in September 2021, the Slovenian capital gained a new space that serves both as a venue for exhibiting contemporary art and as a place where thoughts can be explored and contemporary art projects of all kinds – visual, intermedia, performance, sound, music and more – can be created and presented. The presentation of artworks through exhibitions and events is merely one part of the Cukrarna Gallery’s programme, however, its main goal is to become a new cultural hub.
While working with artists and other stakeholders from Slovenia and beyond, fostering longer-term participation and interaction, the fundamental mission of the gallery is to fulfil the role of a truly contemporary art institution: to root the exhibition, interpretation and education activities with pro-social, humanistic principles – respect for the other, responsibility towards the environment, and robust social criticism so as to constantly hold a mirror to society.
In this light. the newly created collaboration between the Cukrarna Gallery and Erzen Shkololli will bring a global perspective to the institution and help it engage in a multiplicity of narratives. The cooperation with Shkololli is established upon his strong socio-political engagement through artistic expression as well as his engagement in the inter-cultural dialogue on a global scale.
Erzen Shkololli (b.1976) is an artist and curator of contemporary art. So far, he has successfully managed several art institutions, including Albania's National Gallery of Art (2018-2022) and Kosovo's National Gallery of Art (2011-2015). Under his leadership, the two institutions were transformed, and these respective institutions were turned into central features of the countries' dynamic cultural space.
Shkololli is also an active organizer of the trans-cultural agenda regionally and internationally. He commissioned Kosovo's first exhibition for the 55th Venice Biennale of Art in 2013. He also curated international exhibitions, most notably “Edi Hila: Painter of Transformation” a joint venture between the National Gallery of Arts, Tirana, the Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, and the Kontakt Art Collection in Vienna, which was presented in Warsaw and Tirana (2018), “We live upon a star” the second edition of the Hannah Ryggen Triennial, presented at Ørland and in Nordenfjedske Kunstindustrimuseum in Trondheim (2016), “The World Won't Listen” at the Lazareti Art Workshop in Dubrovnik (2007), “History started playing with my life” presented at DAL in Holon, Israel (2007), and “Reappearance” presented at the Kosovo Museum in Pristina (2004).
Shkololli was the artistic adviser of documenta 14. In 2008-2009 he was awarded the DAAD Fellowship in Berlin and the Premio Michetti Prize by the Fondazione Michetti di Francavilla al Mare in 2001. He co-founded the EXIT Contemporary Art Institute in Peja in 2013. Shkololli's artwork has been exhibited in prominent museums such as the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Centre Pompidou in Paris, Tate Modern in London, and MUMOK in Vienna.
"I'm delighted to join the visionary team of Cukrarna in their mission to invigorate the European art scene through a dialogue and artistic exchange, and I look forward to adding my expertise to this important effort in this critical moment for our global legacy," Shkololli said.
In addition, the Cukrarna Gallery is also appointing the following distinguished members of the International Advisory Board: Noel Kelly, Chief Executive Officer / Director of Visual Artists Ireland, Lev Kreft, philosopher and sociologist, Miran Mohar, visual artist and co-founder of the Neue Slowenische Kunst, Mario Pieroni and Dora Stiefelmeier, founders of RAM Radioartemobile, Felicitas Thun – Hohenstein, curator, art historian and professor at the Institute of Art Theory and Cultural Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, and Nada Jeraj Velan, producer and entrepreneur. The role of the Board is to advise on the programming of the gallery while ensuring an excellent experience and expertise.