Balkan Pearls

Chagall "a magical gravity" exhibition in Tirana

TIRANA, Oct. 19- The Center for Openness and Dialogue (COD) will open an exhibition of Russian-French artist Marc Chagall from Oct. 19 until Jan. 12, 2019. ‘’Chagall: a magical gravity’’ marks the opening of the third season in COD as the most important artistic activity and exhibition for the entire 2018. Marc Chagall (1887-1985) is one of the greatest painters of 20th century and his works are being exhibited for the first time in Albania. The exhibition at COD will display 180 engravings and graphics selected from his most well-known cycles of book designs, Gogol’s Dead Souls, Shakespeare’s The Tempest, and La Fontaine’s Fables. Chagall was an eclectic experimental genius. In more than 70 years of artistic composition, he tried to express himself in various media, from painting and graphics, ceramics and drawing, to weaving looms, stained glass, mosaics, monumental sculptures and scenography. He created a universe where humans, animals and hebraic scenes live alongside the biblical and religious world. Chagall did portray his inner world through painting and colors. But graphics and his engravings are the ones that are more noteworthy and closest to his heart. The engravings portray a myriad of marks filled with startling carvings from the artist, which resemble Goya and Rembrandt. They display the artist’s abilities to balance the colors, the black and white, and depict his unique handcraft, delicate and distinctive. Chagall first started to engrave at 35 years of age in Berlin and attached his first produced work to his autobiography My Life. After moving to Paris, Chagall was approached by Ambroise Vollard, a famous 20th art gallerian and merchant, who proposed a commission to the artist, to produce some engravings for a list of literature which Chagall declined. He proposed Dead Souls instead, for which he produced a masterpiece. In 1927 he started working on illustrations for La Fontaine’s Fables. Chagall moves from the Russia of his memory and imagination, in the dreamworld of ancient myths and legends, which remain the same in essence regardless of how many times retold. Franz Meyer writes on the difference with Dead Souls in his book on Chagall: ‘’Comparing from the last engravings for Dead Souls, the new works hold a higher pictorial content. The aquaforte and lithography technique stop interesting Chagall. Instead he starts using zincography (carving on zinc plates), and covers the surface with sticky wax, a combination which intensively increases the pictorial effect of the graphics.’’ Shakespeare’s The Tempest is made of 50 illustrations which depict Chagall’s interpretation of the drama, and it’s produced when the artists was 88. The critics claim that in this work Chagall mirrors his own life’s storming, and reflects of the misfortunes the Jewish Europeans suffered in the first half of the 2th century. The exhibition will be concluded with a cycle of 13 lithography which are a synthesized summary of the coloristic and thematic range of Chagall’s universe.