*1986 in Kostërrc, Kosovo, lives in Priština, Kosovo, and Berlin, Germany.
The three works 'Abetare' have been shown for the first time in 2015 under the same title in the exhibtion of Petrit Halilaj at Kölnischer Kunstverein. All works from this series are based on the former school of Petrit Halilaj at the Kosovar village of Runik. The school was tored off in 2010, when the artist was accidentally also in his old home town. He produced a short video documenting the process and preserved a few of the old school desks. The many drawings and carvings that generations of pupils had affixed to the desks during boring hours of education are the point of departure for a series of metal sculptures, like the two in the Art Collection Telekom 'I Love Mou' and 'Eyelashes'. Enlarged versions of the small carvings and notes on the desks, they are produced with the craftmanship of local blacksmiths and give an idea into the phantasies and daydreams during a school day.
The first ABC primer of the artist was the starting point for a transfer of all pages to a wallpaper. Such books offer an insight into the learning process of the alphabet, but transmit at the same time the values, traditions and supporting pillars of a society. The 'Abetare (Wallpaper Installation)' is permanently installed at the Headquarter of Deutsche Telekom in Bonn.
The Cleopatra butterfly (Gonepteryx cleopatra) is a mediterranean species with sometimes very intense and beautifull yellow and green wings. Petrit Halilaj found in the leftovers of the abandoned former Natural History Museum of Kosovo a number of charts to classify insect. He used the charts for fine colour pencil drawings, depicting some newly created species. In the first exhibition 'of course blue affects my way of shitting' 2014 in Berlin, he presented these sensitive drawings with a kind of annoyingly insect, flying around in the small exhibition space. Mounted on a turning mechanism and hanging loosely on a prolonged electrical wire, a simple electrical light bulb was flying around in circles.
At the Wiels Contemporary Art Centre in Brussels Petrit Halilaj had in 2013 a one person exhibition 'Poisoned by men in need of some love'. The 80-parts 'Special Edition (ex-Natural History Museum of Kosovo)' accompanying the catalogue consists of 80 old archival images from the ex-Natural History Museum of Kosovo. A museum that was terminated and dismounted right after the war in Kosovo (28.02.1998–10.06.1999) to give space to an ethnological Museum of Albanian Culture. All the animals and objects were moved out, thrown away or stored inside a cellar until the artist got the permission to open the doors and check their conditions, which appeared to be extremely devastating.
These images, together with others also found in the Museum's archive, are the only testimony of the original status of the display and the taxidermied animals while it was still a Museum of Natural History.