BY Edi Rama in Interviews | 20 MAR 17
Featured in
Issue 186

Questionnaire: Edi Rama

Q: What are you reading? A: About what money can’t buy

BY Edi Rama in Interviews | 20 MAR 17

Paolo Uccello, Niccolò Mauruzi da Tolentino at the Battle of San Romano, 1438–40, egg tempera with walnut oil and linseed oil on poplar, 1.8 × 3.2 m. Courtesy: National Gallery, London

What images keep you company in the space where you work?

Gio Ponti’s furniture from the late 1930s, wallpaper made from my office drawings, colourful pens on my desk and images from social media.

What was the first piece of art that really mattered 
to you?

The first original work of art I ever saw was in 1989: it was a sculpture by Auguste Rodin at the Museum of Modern Art in Bremen. I had secretly escaped from the hotel I was staying at with the Albanian national basketball team in Osnabrück, where we were playing in the Euro Qualifiers. I touched the sculpture and took a picture of it: that day was one of the happiest in my life! My adrenaline increased as I approached other masterworks; I could smell the real canvas, the real frames, the real walls and lights and parquet floor; these were things I had only seen before as photographs in forbidden books. At that time, Albania was still a communist-regime bunker and modern art was banned. 

If you could live with only one piece of art, what
would it be?

One of the three paintings by Paolo Uccello of the Battle of San Romano (1438–40); preferably the one in London’s National Gallery.

What is your favourite title of an artwork?

Dammi i Colori (Give Me the Colours, 2003) by Anri Sala.

What do you wish you knew?

How to conduct a performance of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Requiem (1791).

What should change?

The prejudice that politics can’t do good and that politicians are all the same! 

What should stay the same?

The sense of gratitude that we feel in front of expressions of beauty.

What could you imagine doing if you didn’t do what

you do?

Tailoring dedicated clothes for nice people. 

What music are you listening to?

Chet Baker.

What are you reading?

About what money can’t buy. 

What do you like the look of?

My table at home set for dinner with friends.

What is art for?

To create freedom for creators and give viewers access to endless other worlds.

Edi Rama is an Albanian politician, artist, writer, and the Prime Minister of Albania since 2013.