6 October, 2018
Title: What colour is your flag when you wash it?
Medium: Mixed media installation
Photo by: Tuğhan Anıt
Somer Şpat (1995), a photographer-in-training, is a young artist from Prizren (Kosovo) who uses mixed-media to problematize political issues through the reassuring imagery of everyday objects. The work of Somer Şpat brings with it questions of a country historically wounded by many attempts at demographic-racial balancing carried out in the arrogant search for identity for a portion of land alternating between Kosovo Serbian and Kosovar Albanian rule. It was only on February 17, 2008, that the Parliament of Prishtina declared the independence of Kosovo, and adopted a national flag symbolizing a state characterized by ethnic diversity. In the installation proposed by Şpat on the occasion of the Autostrada Biennale, a line appears underneath a washing machine that is operated daily to wash flags that have been hung to dry the day before. This procedural action will see them discolored over the two months during which the work is exhibited. More levels of symbolic reading are triggered under the public gaze, with flags being the universally recognized sign of national identity that the washing machine attempts to discolor day by day. The hanging flags of the installation are the result of the artist’s invention, representing places that are not, but could have been. The progressively fading symbol imprinted on them is equivalent to the loss of the ability to recognize a national stereotype already in artificial and fictitious departure. The work offers the public a question: what color is our flag really when washed by historical-nationalistic superstructures?
– Giorgia Aprosio