• Haystacks 1989–ongoing
    Lala Meredith-Vula
    Monika Szewczyk
    The Polygon Gallery, 2022
    Lala Meredith-Vula

Lala Meredith-Vula, "Haystacks 1989–ongoing: Llazareve, Kosova, 9 November 1989 No. 1," photograph from 35mm negative. Courtesy of the artist.

In August 1988, four days after installing the now seminal Freeze exhibition with fellow Goldsmith’s students, Lala Meredith-Vula left London for the Kosovar countryside, where she began to photograph haystacks. Unsigned sculptures, ingenious structures, pretexts for long discussions—these rural forms have proven their resilience through years of ethnic strife and economic upheaval. Meredith-Vula has continued to return to the lands of her birth to document their variations, listening to the stories that farmers tell as she negotiates rare access to their homesteads. Deciding to take full stock of the stacks of photographs she has created in the thirtieth year of the project that she simply calls Haystacks 1989–ongoing, Lala Meredith-Vula teams up with author, editor, and curator Monika Szewczyk and the artist and graphic designer David Khan-Giordano to create a book that constitutes an imaginative inventory of her photographic archive to date.

Lala Meredith-Vula is an artist and professor of art and photography at De Montfort University, Leicester, UK. Born in Sarajevo in 1966 to an Albanian father and English mother, she moved to England at an early age, returning to the Balkans, after graduating from Goldsmiths University in 1988. Her work was first shown that year in Damien Hirst’s landmark exhibition Freeze in London and she went on to exhibit regularly in the UK, US, China, and throughout Europe. She represented Albania in the 48th Venice Biennale of 1999 and in 2017 took part in documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel. She took part in the group exhibition the needle, the haystack, the thread, curated by Monika Szewczyk at The Arts Club of Chicago (Spring 2018). Her most recent exhibitions have been Rural Topographies at the Galeria Quadrum, Lisbon, and at Fermynwoods Contemporary Art, UK (winter 2019/20).