“We all can be like flowers,” Agnes Denes tells us. “We can grow, nourish, endow others with our richness, turn to the sun, then reflect its warmth to all living creatures.” The first chapter of the Autostrada Biennale in Prishtina is built around quotidian infrastructures: a newly planted sunflower field in the city center by iconic feminist artist Agnes Denes, and a majestic textile flower installation, Forget Me Not, by Petrit Halilaj and Alvaro Urbano under the cupola of the National Library. Both projects are embodied by the earthly and floral, which channel the need for societal transformation. They connect to soil, water, light—all of which cannot be taken for granted. They merge micro and macro perspectives, personal memories with the need for liberation and transformation; they celebrate nonconformity. The flowers also respond compassionately to layers of trauma and violence with a call for diversity; for different histories, species, and communities.
In close conversation, both Sunflower Fields and Forget Me Not make pathways to shape future social, artistic, and political modes of survival within the current structures and infrastructures of the city and beyond.
One of the curatorial questions of the third Autostrada Biennale is how art can give desires a poetic yet concrete form, and how it mediates needs for essential breathing spaces.