Manifesta purposely strives to keep its distance from what are often seen as the dominant centres of artistic production, instead seeking fresh and fertile terrain for the mapping of a new cultural topography.

Lee Bul, KP

Speaking of her seventeen-metre floating ellipsoid, Lee Bul formulated a series of questions central to her practice overall: “What did we dream in the past, and what did we try? What happened, and how can we use it still?”

In her sculptures, installations, performances and videos, the artist explores the intoxication and pitfalls of utopian thought in various historical contexts, this time turning her gaze to the airship.

Recalling the Hindenburg, which, flying under the National Socialist flag, famously burst into flames in 1937, her silver balloon embodies the vulnerability of dreams – not only to accidents, but also to political instrumentalisation and perversion.

As it hovers between the soaring roof of Prishtina’s Palace of Youth and Sports – an icon of Yugoslavian socialist architecture – and the earthbound cars parked in the burnt-out sports arena below, Lee Bul’s silver balloon invites us to reflect on what we might salvage from the dreams of the past and what that might bring for the future.