7 – 27 SeptembeR, 2016
Acclaimed artist Helidon Xhixha has installed his sculpture "Bliss" in the central courtyard of Somerset House ahead of the opening of the inaugural London Design Biennale this week. Representing his home country of Albania, Xhixha’s work is one of only three to be selected for installation in the iconic Somerset House courtyard. "Bliss" focuses on the migration issues that Europe is currently facing. Helidon Xhixha comments, “Bliss presents an opportunity for us to reflect upon the current issues facing Europe. Working on this installation over the past twelve months has only highlighted this issue further. Many of my pieces have reflection at their heart but with this piece, it feels more pertinent than ever.”
A highly important source of inspiration for Xhixha’s design is that of the late Renaissance artists’ interpretations of the Ideal City especially with regard to their iconography. Repeatedly, artists attempted to create their own visual representation of utopia, with the recurring theme throughout these works being the use of concentric circles. Xhixha has returned to these ideas and applied the use of concentric circles into his own sculpture. The shape of the sculpture, with its benches oscillating outwards from the center, draws clear inspiration from the Renaissance ideal cities. The benches offer a place for interaction and engagement with one another, reflecting the need for a sense of community and unification within society. Sitting on the benches and looking into the central mirrors, we are forced into a position of interaction with the people around us and with our own reflection. Xhixha’s structure reflects not only ourselves, but the others who chose to sit on the benches promoting engagement with each other.