On Thursday, August 6, at 7 pm, a new contemporary art space Swallow will open its doors with its first exhibition entitled ‘Palydos’, featuring new works by artists Gabrielė Adomaitytė, Viltė Bražiūnaitė and Tomas Sinkevičius, Martin Ebner, Agnė Jokšė, Ona Juciūtė, Laura Kaminskaitė and Nicholas Matranga.
The project space is located on the vibrant Vitebsko str. in Vilnius and will act as part of the developing art centre Sodas 2123. Focused on managing, producing and exhibiting original curatorial and artistic projects, the space will also develop arts-based educational programmes and introduce young Lithuanian and Baltic art abroad.
Probably the first challenge that a freshly-born contemporary art space has to face is trying to grasp the time in which it will thrive. After all, every exhibition, text or artwork exhibited here will inevitably become a commentary on what is “contemporary” in contemporary art.
The time of ‘Palydos’ is a special time: the globe is still being shaken by the shock of the pandemic, speculations about what the future will look like are as contradictory as ever, while what unites their diversity and scenarios is only a general consensus that the future is bound to be completely different from the past; for after what has happened, nothing can remain as before. And yet these speculations remain blind as long as they are believed to speak of something more than just the time we live in now – giving voice to expectations, desires and traumas rooted in modernity and disguising them with the promise that this time will take on a different face than the present.
So Swallow’s first exhibition marks this journey from one uncertainty to another. A journey in which the traveller becomes more concerned with the concern itself rather than the final destination, and the city surrounding the path becomes increasingly pregnant with stories and fictions. These, in turn, haven taken root in reality, become free to speak of it from the perspective of possibility, able to reveal its contradictions, and grasp its deep tensions invisible to the naked eye.
For this city is made up as much of parks and squares as it is of stories of constant retelling, gradually sinking into these urban places. Moving from mouth to mouth, these stories change this space, at the same time changing themselves, transcending the boundaries of an individual being. On the one hand, this relay of constant retelling is inseparable from a conservative approach to the past, the preservation of heritage and the attempt to make it more “present” by sticking memorial plaques on walls and seating marble gentlemen in stone armchairs on the squares. On the other hand, it gives a voice to what we might call folklore – a certain “people’s throat” that gargles the same syllables until it transforms them into something new. Paradoxically, this never-ending retelling shows us that this “people’s throat” contains a kind of negative aspect to memory – it is important to hear what is being said, but even more important to listen to what remains silenced.
Thus, the works presented in ‘Palydos’ seek to immerse in this peculiar “swamp of the city’s subconscious” and grasp these orderless life forces spontaneously forming the city: a curiosity permeated with dreams, desperation or laziness, outbursts of hidden lust, dreams and hallucinations, thoughtlessly broken promises, exceptions to behaviour that summarize rules, or just wordless mutual understanding.
Gabrielė Adomaitytė, Viltė Bražiūnaitė & Tomas Sinkevičius, Martin Ebner, Agnė Jokšė, Ona Juciūtė, Laura Kaminskaitė and Nicholas Matranga.
Edgaras Gerasimovičius, Audrius Pocius, Vaida Stepanovaitė
Translation and proofreading:
The project is supported by Lithuanian Council for Culture
UAB „Rėmelis“, Valdas Studio
Starship magazine, echogonewrong.com, artnews.lt
Many thanks to:
Autarkia, Nick Bastis, Justė Beniušytė, Aleksandra Bondarev, Lina Blauzdavičiūtė, Vytautas Budziejus, Jokūbas Čižikas, Danutė Gambickaitė, Kipras Garla, Gailė Griciūtė, Ričardas Gerasimovičius, Antanas Gerlikas, Edvinas Grinkevičius, Adam Harrison, Eglė Juocevičiūtė, Petras Išora and Ona Lozuraitytė, Monika Kalinauskaitė, Kaunas Artists’ House, Valentinas Klimašauskas, Agnė Kuprytė, Matas Labašauskas, Lithuanian Interdisciplinary Artists’ Association, Ignas Meilūnas, Pilypas Misiukevičius, Beatričė Mockevičiūtė, Greta Milevičiūtė, Ariane Müller, Robertas Narkus, João Laia, Thomas Plantenga, Matthew Post, Valdas Pukevičius, Andrius and Mykolas Sinkevičiai, Greta Slivskytė, Antanas Stanislauskas, Aistė Marija Stankevičiūtė, “Starship” magazine, Rūta Stepanovaitė, Emilija Škarnulytė, Andrius Šoblinskas, Gintautas Trimakas, Rokas Vaičiulis, Kotryna Žukauskaitė.
Reproduction of the picture used:
Stanislovas Bohušas-Sestšencevičius, „Children of Vilnius (Famine in Vilnius)“ / „Children in the Outskirts“. Oil on convas. 210 x 205 cm, 1917. Courtesy of the Lithuanian National Museum of Art.