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The Mosaic of Agim Nebiu

The Mosaic of Agim Nebiu

by Naum Mara


That's what we called the mosaic of the National Museum at the time it was being made. Nebiu (it seems to me initially from Cologne) was the artist of the mosaics, and the others had joined together to create the composition of a significant work of monumental character. When it was discovered, it did not impress us as a work of art, but what was appreciated was the difficulty of realizing a result of such magnitude.

In today's debate about its restoration, one gets used to the idea that works are created at a specific time and, therefore, when restored, their nature must be fully preserved. The artistic quality, as well as the central message they convey, is left aside.

It would not be a problem for me to restore the mosaic to its original state if it was on a retaining wall along a highway. Neither the big star, the one on the flag, nor the Party History book in the hand of the worker would spoil the work. Younger generations and foreigners could look at him curiously and laugh at him. But it is in the center of the capital of Albania and at the same time part of the National Historical Museum. For this reason, not only what was removed was done well (think of a monumental work in the center of Berlin with a swastika and a soldier holding "Mein Kampf"), but the entire mosaic had to be removed from the facade.

As a work of art, the mosaic also suffers from being conceived as a work of art intertwined with the architectural object. It is more like a painting on a "billboard" to advertise a product. The coloristic tones of the work have nothing to do with the colors used in the Museum. As such, a new treatment of the wall part where the mosaic is today would serve the architecture of the building. There could be a competition for the architectural-artistic reconceptualization of the main facade of the Museum.

For reasons of conservation of works of art of any time, the mosaic had to be re-erected in a giant silo, which can serve as the Art Museum of Socialist Realism and where some of the works, which have been removed from the pedestals, can be entered and exhibited theirs, which could include any of Hoxha's artistically well-made monuments. A kind of Museum-exhibition of this nature would have a study character. It would arouse interest in what type of denaturation art takes in totalitarian countries. It wouldn't hurt even if some nostalgic people went and saw him occasionally and cheered the Commander, saying: "How beautiful he was!"

Such a Museum would save many works of art from a 40-year period, which was the most productive period in the figurative arts of Albania, from being "hidden." This is due to the significant investments of the state to produce artists who would create works in its service. There will also be artistically accomplished works, maybe even masterpieces, because many artists, even in the face of ideological limitations, were able to create art.

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