Photographs by Georg Knoll
The pictures were taken on 5 short-trips in different parts, mainly towns, of Albania. Huge Mountains and ancient traditions still mighty, as the heaviness of the weight of Hoxha’s dictaturship, it seems there was left a tabula rasa. This, in its resting Lethargie, has been filled in a cheap way with american and european status-symbols and its infrastructure. Not at least of the many emmigrants sending money home, there is a big affinity to the west. Daily life is very often a fight against poverty and corruption.
My photography is a short personal visual meeting with this country. Without any judgements I want to transfer the inspiration I got in this great Balcan-culture.
Group Project: ALBANIA
What happens in Albania? The former closed Communist country with its long undiscovered coastline and spectacular Alpine interior retains an air of mystery in the midst of familiar old Europe. Albania is the close neighbour of Italy and Greece but, despite the fall of the Iron Curtain 20 years ago, has kept its secrets from us for too long.
This exhibition combines the work of six photographers based in Berlin, who for three years have been regularly exploring Europe’s least-known nation. They have immersed themselves in its unique and complex society successively moulded by the long period of Ottoman rule, the autocratic grip of communism and today by the excitement of emerging as a new democracy into modern Europe.
The idea of the project was to create a picture diary of a nation familiar by name but whose lifestyle, whose people and whose dreams are only slowly revealing themselves. Each of the photographers has followed his own unique approach to tell an unfolding story of discovery through images and other media.
This long-term project could never produce a straightforward narrative or even a journalistic documentation of a place as intriguing as Albania. Instead we offer six essays that build into a mosaic to capture what we found in a land just a short way away, but far from familiar.