On 25 March, at 6 pm, two solo exhibitions will be opened at Galerija Vartai as part of the long-term Artscape project. This time the gallery presents two artists who employ scientific laws, discoveries and tools in their work. They are Vadim Fishkin, a Russian-born artist who has been living and working in Slovenia for almost 20 years, and Lithuanian artist Julijonas Urbonas, who will be defending his PhD at the Royal College of Art in London this year. The artists produce technologically innovative, but ideologically different, works.
In his post-conceptual work, Vadim Fishkin reflects on the avant-garde tradition, in which what are important to him are the aspects of utopianism, (self-)deception, and the human endeavour to subjugate nature and the cosmos. The artist understands art as a laboratory where utopias rejected by scientists can be brought to life. Fishkin implements and presents them in a number of ways – by constructing a deceptive electronic or light object that seems to defy physical laws; by employing light, air and sound in installations in order to confound not just the viewer’s gaze but the other senses as well; by using wireless technology to remotely control the environment from which he is very far away or by choosing the simplest technology – setting out a utopian idea in a drawing. Fishkin’s work abounds in humour and the absurd, yet at the same time he endows the complex technology employed with a poetic character.
The exhibition “Light Matters” presents his most recent light installations: From Sunrise to Sunset (2013), which employs a lamp imitating sunlight and car models running on solar energy, and Door (2013), in which an imitation of a door with installed light and sound equipment produces an impression of different spaces and events taking place ‘behind the door’. The remaining part of the exhibition presents Fishkin’s earlier works , showing its diverse character.
The work of Julijonas Urbonas, who calls himself an artist, designer and engineer, is distinguished in the Lithuanian art scene by its interdisciplinary nature. Urbonas’s projects are based on his scientific research in which he investigates gravitational sensory experiences found in amusement park attractions, high manoeuvrability aircraft, and acrobatics. The perception of these works demands interaction on the part of the public, because they are not visual objects, but rather work as tools for experiencing gravitational aesthetics.
Urbonas’s exhibition, titled Standing, Falling, Levitating, will remind one of an amusement park providing the three fundamental experiences related to gravity. Standing is examined via a robotic ride prototype, which is a sketch model of a robot, a ride and a performance hybrid. This device is the main research object in Julijonas’s newest scientific/artistic research, conducted in collaboration with the engineers of the Kaunas Technical University Panevėžys robotics lab, composer Antanas Kučinskas, dance critic Vita Mozūraitė and producer/curator Akvilė Eglinskaitė.
The state of falling is addressed in the scale model of Urbonas’s most famous work, the Euthanasia Coaster (2010), which will be displayed in a new way in this exhibition, including selected documentary material presenting and reflecting on the international reaction of the public and press.
Visitors to the exhibition will have the chance to experience the state of levitation in two devices. The first of them, the Barany Chair (2010), is a rotating chair used in aviation medicine that will enable the visitors to go through spatial and gravitational disorientation. The second, Oneiric Hotel (2013), is a pop-up hotel equipped with special dream content-inducing equipment. A part of the equipment, built specifically for the Lisbon Architecture Triennale 2013, will be transferred to the gallery, providing the visitors with an opportunity to take a nap in the sleep capsules and test the sleep devices for themselves.
Artscape is a long-term interdisciplinary project, dedicated to presenting Europe’s art scene in the 21st century, initiated by three organizations – Menų vartai, Kino pavasaris film festival and Vilnius Jazz festival – in 2009, when Vilnius was the European Capital of Culture. The part of the Artscape program taking place at Galerija Vartai presents exclusive solo projects by foreign artists alongside works by Lithuanian ones. The project has already showcased 38 Lithuanian and European artists: Ignasi Aballí, Hans Op de Beeck, Laura Garbštienė, Ugnius Gelguda, Jesper Just, Žilvinas Landzbergas, Atelier van Lieshout, Dainius Liškevičius, Miks Mitrēvics, Gintaras Makarevičius, Svajonė and Paulius Stanikas, Erwin Wurm, and others. Since 2012 the Artscape concept was expanded to include exhibitions by artists from all over the world.