Marubi Museum is glad to present Michel Setboun’s solo show curated by Luçjan Bedeni.
Michel Setboun was only 17 when he started travelling the world. On one of his journeys, he stopped in Yugoslavia and in Kosovo. This moment piqued his interest in visiting the isolated Albania. Setboun arrived in Albania for the first time in 1981 disguising himself as a member of a young French Marxist group traveling there as part of a friendship agreement between the two countries.
This may be seen in his series ‘Albania 1981’ in which there are no pictures depicting the realities of jails, internment camps, the destruction of places of worship, or even poverty. ‘Life on the Streets During the Communist Regime’ is the only secretly taken photograph that captures the shock Albanians felt upon seeing foreigners. It is odd that, aside from this photograph, throughout the entire series Michel is not identified as the photographer. What we observe is an elaborate system of fabrications created by the regime to present Albania as a happy and prosperous country. Aware of the presence of a parallel reality, he returns in 1986 and every year up to communism’s downfall in 1991.