15 October 2015 - 31 October 2016

Permanent Exhibition


Helidon Xhixha’s “Everlasting” at the Malpensa Airport in Milan, Italy, manifests the sculptor’s latest public artwork and inherits his iconic style. Known for his highly reflective stainless steel installations, Xhixha constantly explores the interaction of his preferred medium with its environment in his quest for universal values. 


Xhixha’s installation “Everlasting” juxtaposes his signature sculptures with Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper and invites the beholder to investigate the Renaissance masterpiece from a present day viewpoint. The seemingly liquidscent stainless steel pillars are conspicuously arranged in front of nine panels depicting The Last Supper and echo the painting’s composition as well as its subtly imposed principles. 


Each pillar represents one of the thirteen biblical figures and presents its own shape and character. Yet, their similar forms and coherent position likewise pronounce the unity of the group as much as the present hierarchy. Although separated in space the pillars appear to melt together as they interact through their reflecting lights and casting shadows. The graduating pillars, representing the twelve apostles symmetrically flank the largest pillar in the middle, Jesus. While the distinct shapes unify the installation, a purposeful use of mediums excludes the figure of Judas, the betrayer, which is cast in non-reflective Corten Steel. 


Yet, Xhixha not only transformed the biblical scene onto a three-dimensional space. The artist further realised the universality of the supposedly catholic artwork and deftly narrates what is depicted beyond the religious surface. 


Xhixha’s choice of media corresponds to da Vinci’s composition and distinctly separates good from evil. Yet, it equally joins the divine figure of Jesus with his humane disciples and therefore bridges heaven and earth. Xhixha’s installation unveils the limitlessness of goodness, of love, which is not restricted to a place, a time or a religion. 


Equally, the alternating types of steel pronounce the number twelve and expose its inherent manifold meanings. Despite a similar shape the twelve stainless steel pillars appear light, luminescent and flexible compared to the only dull corten steel column. Here, Xhixha characterises this celestial numeral and reminds of its customisable use that exceeds the Christian affiliation with Christ’s disciples. Representing universal order throughout the centuries, the number twelve applies to the zodiac signs and Greek philosophy as well as it appears in Jewish and in Islamic scriptures. 


Moreover, the perfect symmetry and the logical linearity of figures apply to the steel pillars as much as to da Vinci’s composition and symbolise the subtle message the number twelve and of universal order. Further, the clear and simple forms echo the pure universality, found below the shining surface of Xhixha’s artwork as well as within the diverse religions and beliefs. 


When Xhixha visualised the omnipresence of the artwork’s principle and its prominence among other cultures and beliefs, the artist deliberately extended the subject beyond a mere Christian theme and into the universal values he aims to depict. 


The airport, being the stage of Xhixha’s installation, connects different time zones and equally presents a timeless space where we find ourselves in between places and times. Xhixha’s “Everlasting” adapts this transitional stage and acts as a transmitter between the beholder and the Renaissance painting, between the fifteenth century and the present day and underlines the timelessness of Leonardo da Vinci’s message within his fresco.


Xhixha’s quest for universality is manifested in his “Everlasting” and exemplifies the artist’s involvement with his medium, his artistic ancestors and universal theories. Yet, similar to the light reverberated by the shining pillars it is only upon reflection that we understand his artwork and his message.


La Porta di Milano, Terminal 1, Malpensa Airport
Mirror Polished Stainless Steel and Corten Steel installation
400 x 150 x 90 cm
157,4 x 59 x 35,4 in