Bora Baboci   

Works exhibited at School of Waters

Antico Monastero di Santa Chiara (Scala Santa)

Triptik (2020)
2mx (80 x 80 x 60 cm foldable), gypsum panels in wooden frame, painted motives in gouache and gesso

Lazaret on the shore (partial) (2020)
Video, 4’

Untitled (2020)
Video, 4’

Triptik (2020) is to be found in the Scala Santa (Holy Steps), a small room located in the former nunnery of Santa Chiara and where the Design Department of the University of San Marino is currently housed. In 1988 Italian painter Enzo Cucchi, key member of the Transavanguardia, made a site-specific wall painting for the space, which was part of a larger proposal to transform the premises of the nunnery into the National Gallery of San Marino.

The Triptik is in a continuing process of transmutation, from an object associated with the domestic habitat into an esoteric reflection- a reading board that inspires behaviours, choreographies and self-induced trance.  The triptych was produced in the framework of the artist’s online residency hosted by Il Lazzaretto in September 2020 and informed a four-day long livestream performance piece titled ‘Lazaret On The Shore’. Part of this footage is exhibited in Scala Santa and installed as ‘footnote’. The board’s surfaces at first appear blank, but upon closer inspection, geometric forms spiralling into rosettas become visible. Time and attention are required from the viewer, as they are by the artist too, who ‘reads’ them in an act resembling prayer. The performance was filmed in quarantine in a house by the water in Shkodër, where the artist recently relocated. A section of the house was transformed for the performance into an ethereal setting inspired by the colours and stillness of the salinas. In its materiality and form, the triptych is a nod to our resilient built environment, yet, simultaneously creates space for vulnerability as the light, humidity, and weather alter its appearance. By being so changeable, this triptych invites a state of being that is both sheltered and estranged. Lastly, the second ‘footnote’ of this installation is video footage filmed in the urban setting, juxtaposing the constructed scenography of isolation with a detached state of madness and desperation, almost transpasing all social narratives, where prayer seems like a gesture that has lost its historical references and becomes the language of protest.

Prima Torre Guaita 

Le sacre de primtemps (Ritet e pranverës) (2020)
125 x 88 cm, pencil on cardboard

The drawing titled Ritet e pranverës / Rites of Spring (2020) is exhibited inside the oldest tower of the three located on the peak of Monte Titano. Prima Torre was constructed in the 11th century and served as a watchtower and later as a prison between the 18th century and 1970. This is the only room that bears remnants of its former use through the preserved wall drawings and statue, both made by inmates.

Rites of Spring forms part of a collection of drawings depicting sacred rituals and traditions, such as hesychasm prayers, whirling dervish, zar rituals, and salt baths, often conducted in search for or as a gateway to higher states of consciousness. These behaviours and mental states co-exist in a semi-fictional ecosystem inspired by the salinas of the Narta Lagoon located in southern Albania.

Saline waters are hostile for most life, and the surrounding landscape is almost barren. Yet, in the absence of large predators, migratory birds nest in the ground and find refuge to recuperate from their journeys. At the same time, halophytic plants and organisms care for the ecology of this specific environment. The waters’ colour oscillates between shades of pink, depending on the humidity, heat and light. The intense hue saturation of this ecosystem reflects its extreme conditions, wherein organisms are forced to thrive in stagnant, salty waters rather than sweet and flowing currents. Throughout the pandemic, this ambiguous environment, of almost sacred dimensions, becomes a reference and an inspiration for embracing and noticing emergent life within a place of stagnation, isolation and struggle. Meanwhile, suggesting that, in spaces that are hostile for most, other forms of life and sacredness find refuge to thrive.

About the artist

With a background in architecture, Bora Baboci (1988, Albania), focuses her current research on space crafting, migratory constructive behaviors, dwelling-in-travel and other essential forms of spatial expression. She is increasingly interested in the instances when these expressions of matter are the most fragile in their form, yet the most telling in their intentions. Through spatial performances, invented behaviors, real and fictional places and scenarios, she works with the loose relationship between behavior and trace. She attempts to articulate through her practice the sense of belonging that manifests at the shift of extending space through the body.

Residencies: ZK/U Zentrum fur Kunst und Urbanistik, Berlin (2017), Art House School, Shkodra (2017), ArtePollino Cultural Association, Latronico (2018), Eva International Biennal, Liberick (2019). Shows include: Del Tempo Fossile – Mula Museo di Latronico, Latronico, Italy (2019), Mur mur murmurim – Bazament Art Space, Albania (2019), Ex-Gratia, Collezione Giusseppe Iannacone, Italy (2018).


Fig. 1. Bora Baboci, film still, Prayer for Two, 2017, 2:45 min, colour, stereo.
Courtesy of the artist

Fig. 2. Bora Baboci, installation view, Bora Baboci: Murmurim, 2019, Bazament Art Space, Albania.
Photo by Giulia Dajci, 
Courtesy of the artist

Fig. 3. Bora Baboci, film still, Pink water and the saltflats, 2020, research material Courtesy of the artist