On January 8, a solo show by the young Latvian artist Indrikis Gelzis opens at Galerija VARTAI. In two of the gallery’s halls, the artist will be presenting his latest installation made from different elements and the main theme of which is how an art work is perceived, its conditions, and paradoxes. The artist, who employs a variety of media in his work, has managed to make his mark on the Latvian contemporary art scene within a relatively short time. This show is his first exhibition in Lithuania.
The artist reveals the theme of perception important to him by creating a certain surreal situation: one of the gallery’s halls contains a video work in which three viewers are looking at three identical paintings. Exhibited in the adjacent hall are two identical wooden shelves, although different in scale, and the same paintings that are seen in the video. The strange set design is complemented by gesso molds of feet that ‘travel’ around the objects arranged in the hall, as if to connect them. The installation illustrates the complexity of the apparently simple process of perception, stating that different individuals see the same objects differently, while the subject of identity is always debatable. If two viewers are simultaneously looking at the same shelf and see it differently, perhaps there really are two parallel realities in which there are two shelves in two galleries? The artist’s works explore the limits of interpretability, as if to expand on the French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s idea that art is a privilege which allows one to make visible the edges of everyday life impossible to see and perceive through the physical senses.
The fondness of distinguishing and individualising the perception of every individual and observing the differences between them, image construction based on Surrealist principles, and attention to the performative aspect of everyday phenomena, actions and the environment are the features that characterise not just this particular exhibition but all of Gelzis’s work.
Indrikis Gelzis (b. 1988) completed his MA studies in Visual Communication at the Art Academy of Latvia this year. He has had three solo shows in Latvia and participates in group shows and art festivals in Latvia and abroad. His work received a special mention at the 10th Ūdensgabali (‘Waterpieces’) International Festival of Contemporary and Video Art in Riga.