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Ornela Vorpsi

1968 | Tirana, Albania
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Ornela Vorpsi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Courtesy Ornela Vorpsi

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— Ornela Vorspi

Albanian novelist, photographer and painter.

A graduate of the Fine Arts Academy of Tirana, Ornela Vorpsi left Albania in 1991, on the eve of the fall of Communism, to continue her studies in Milan, where she trained as a photographer. In 1997, she moved to Paris. Well known for her photographic productions, she has exhibited in Germany, Austria, and Italy. Her photos focus on the image of the female body, naked bodies that are often manhandled or dissimulated, full of bright colours in broken decors (Politique d’intérieur, exhibition, Paris, 2002). A monograph of her photographic works, Nothing Obvious, was published in Switzerland in 2001. In 2008, she turned to painting: in this new challenge, All about Tomoko leads the spectator far from the Balkans, in a painting in which the nude is still showcased, but in a more traditional style. Along with her photography and painting, Vorpsi pursued a career as a writer in France, where she published her first book, Le pays où l’on ne meurt jamais in 2004. Translated from Italian, which remains her only writing language, the book oscillates between a novel and a short-story collection and presents itself as a lucid and acerbic fable on the Albanian dictatorship. The book won many prizes.

Since then, she has written and published (always in France for the first edition) several books that are now translated into around fifteen languages: Buvez du cacao Van Houten [Drink Van Houten Cocoa, 2005], in which she interweaves stories and photographs; Vert venin [Green Venom, 2007], a novel about exile, designed as a series of portraits of wounded, poetic, and absurd characters who represent the Balkans today; Tessons roses (2006), a hybrid book combining texts and photos, a troubling text that gives voice to a deceased young woman who relates a few fragments of her short existence, outlines of her love stories, her fleeting emotions, still free of the constraints of words and morality. By associating literature with photo and painting, Vorpsi cultivates an atypical art. Her images and words are variations on exile and on the body in all of its states, which, in her images as in her writing, plays a central role.

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Persida Asllani

Translated from French by Anna Knight.

From the Dictionnaire universel des créatrices
© 2013 Des femmes – Antoinette Fouque
© Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions
Ornela Vorpsi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ornela Vorpsi, Angelica, 2015, oil on canvas, 65 x 80 cm, Courtesy Ornela Vorpsi

Ornela Vorpsi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ornela Vorpsi, Nothing Obvious, 2001, book, color photography, Courtesy Ornela Vorpsi

Ornela Vorpsi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ornela Vorpsi, Angelica et Claudine, 2016, oil on canvas, 100 x 125 cm, Courtesy Ornela Vorpsi

Ornela Vorpsi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ornela Vorpsi, Cover of Il paese dove non si muore mai [The country Where No One Ever Dies], 2005, book, Einaudi, Courtesy Ornela Vorpsi

Ornela Vorpsi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ornela Vorpsi, Nothing Obvious, 2001, book, color photography, Courtesy Ornela Vorpsi

Ornela Vorpsi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ornela Vorpsi, Nothing Obvious, 2001, book, color photography, Courtesy Ornela Vorpsi

Ornela Vorpsi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ornela Vorpsi, Nothing Obvious, 2001, book, color photography, Courtesy Ornela Vorpsi

Ornela Vorpsi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ornela Vorpsi, Cover of The country Where No One Ever Dies, 2009, book, Dalkey Archive Press, Courtesy Ornela Vorpsi

Ornela Vorpsi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ornela Vorpsi, La pierre de la folie II, 2011, oil on canvas, 100 x 125 cm, Courtesy Ornela Vorpsi

Ornela Vorpsi — AWARE Women artists / Femmes artistes

Ornela Vorpsi, Promenade, 2015, oil on canvas, 100 x 125 cm, Courtesy Ornela Vorpsi

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