Petrit Halilaj’s giant flowers The exhibition at Palacio de Cristal in Madrid

In his first solo exhibition in Spain, artist Petrit Halilaj has transformed Madrid’s Palacio de cCristal into a giant nest of massive flowers. The artist has connected the temporary installation with the city’s retiro park by opening windows, setting up structures, and placing feeding areas to attract the birds and other creatures inhabiting or passing through the park. ‘to a raven and the hurricanes which bring back smells of humans in love from unknown places’ is the first show inaugurated by the museo Reina Sofía since its closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which interrupted the montage of the exhibition.

organized by the museo reina sofía, petrit halilaj’s exhibition at palacio de cristal employs a wide variety of elements that explore topics such as home, nation, love and cultural identity. the artist has drawn from the courtship ritual of bowerbirds, which make elaborate structures (‘bowers’) and decorate them with colorful objects to attract a mate. in collaboration with his life partner, the artist álvaro urbano, halilaj has adorned his giant nest at palacio de cristal with large flowers made of delicate steel framework and painted canvas. their choice forms part of the personal history that binds them together, and its purpose is to celebrate their union: forsythia, palm seeds, cherry blossom, poppy, carnation, and lily.

By scaling up the size of the nest and flowers, the artist encourages viewers to escape, even momentarily, the notion that humans are the center and measure of all things, and recognize ourselves as just one more element among many. The nest is thus revealed as the setting for a ritual that lies in wait for encounters, alliances and unions among its different visitors, altering and changing with the space.
Courtesy designboom