The project BBB (Bamba Big Band) by Jurga Barilaitė is a performative space where the body-orchestra plays and re-sings the history in the style of punk. The beginning of Barilaitė’s studies at the Vilnius Academy of Arts coincided with the Singing Revolution in 1990. The spirit of freedom, rebellion and barricades has pervaded the work of the artists of her generation. Jurga does not build a monument to protesters, what she does is create a scene for live action, in which every visitor to the show can take part.
The starting point of BBB is a drum–navel the size of the artist, which was specially designed for the show. Every artist is the navel of the world, but Barilaitė’s personal and artistic biography is just a pretext to remember her own origins. Where do we come from and where are we going? What is the light at the end of the tunnel? Isn’t it the artist’s singing eye? One can check that in the guide to the exhibition, which presents the performers-instruments of a hybrid orchestra: a whistling navel, a singing eye, an echoing ear, a rapping skull, a moaning root, a silent head, a dancing leotard, a microphone’s fur coat, a cursing synthesizer, the hand of a guitarist, a smouldering cigarette, a flying disc, etc.
A no less important element of the show is the shed For Old P. It is a transparent tent constructed from old cinema film. Inside it one will see erotic videos accidentally found and bought at Kalvarijų market in Vilnius. The shed and the content of the videos has an association with Gustave Courbet’s painting L’Origine du monde (‘The Origin of the World’, 1866), except for the fact that the origins of the world discovered by Barilaitė are not painted, but filmed on 8 mm amateur film in Nida between 1962 and 1964. This parapornographical documentary is a sort of prehistory of theBBB project. It is a culturized construction of ’nature’, a celluloid womb.
Both the shed and the drum are houses-bodies, the interior spaces that have been dreamt by the artist. They are connected by Barilaitė’s performance, repeated by the actions of visitors to the show. The artist beats the drum and improvises, thus banishing the Vitruvian Man from the circle and making her home inside the drum just like Diogenes in the barrel. Once visitors enter the shed, they leave the rational world of rules and logic, and find themselves in the zone of lust. Nobody can say in advance how these initiation rituals are going to end. Perhaps the Bamba Big Band will turn into a Bamba Big Bang?
Video and sound installation is supplemented by interactive achieves – interjections, swear words and meaningless chorus words from karaoke texts that have been collected for 10 years. Most of the objects in the exhibition are recycled and intercrossed old things, containing personal, cultural as well as historical associations.
Curator Laima Kreivytė
Jurga Barilaitė (b. 1972) lives and works in Vilnius. She graduated from the Painting Department of the Vilnius Academy of Arts in 1996. Alongside the mediums of painting and assemblage, she gradually started to use drawing, the moving image and performance. Barilaitė’s ideas and imagery originate from her immediate environment: childhood memories and her adolescent rebellion, motherhood and a nomadic experience that she combines with a history of art and pop culture. A critical approach towards the local tradition of painting and its discourse, reflection on an artist’s identity and the nature of the creative process, as well as highlighting feminist construction form the basis of her work. In distinctively performative moving image work the artist employs her body to deliver messages varying from erotica to aggression, sentimentality to irony. Works by Barilaitė are included in the collections of the Lithuanian National Gallery of Art, Mo Museum, as well as private collectors in Lithuania and abroad.
BBB (Bamba Big Band)
2018 01 16 – 2018 02 03
Galerija VARTAI, Vilnius
Photography: Arnas Anskaitis