Photo reportage from the exhibition 'Loose Ends. Artistic Communication by Mail' at the National Gallery of Art, Vilnius

May 26, 2019
Author Echo Gone Wrong

Loose Ends is an exhibition about artistic communication by mail, about the sender and the receiver, or his/her absence, about the thought that you start and not always finish, about speculative and playful resistance against systems, rudiments of social networks in the Soviet times and finally, about colliding comets. A comet is a motif frequently appearing in artists’ postcards. In the context of the exhibition it becomes a rich metaphor: crossing systemic limits, a sudden collision, a brief but spectacular flash, sometimes ephemeral and sometimes causing hardly reparable long term consequences.

The works and artefacts featured in the exhibition present a large variety of purposes that artists used mail for. Mail is found to be important as both a means of communication and as way of creating artistic content. Being used locally for very personal purposes, as well as with the intention for contact with international movements – especially in the case of other means of communication being unavailable. Mail was used to transport traditional artworks and to inspire experimental work. Starting with a brief retrospective journey to the interwar period, the exhibition showcases a sudden burst of popularity of artistic correspondence in the early 1960s, continuing up to contemporary art projects that are in some way related to mail.

Looking at the abundance of New Year’s greeting cards and seeing how much time it took to produce these small but intricate prints, photographs, collages or drawings, we can understand the importance and scale of this communication network. New Year’s postcards, as an unofficial communication channel, thus took on even greater importance as a means of self-representation: a proof of the artist’s abilities and resourcefulness.

The exhibition also reflects on the relations of Lithuanian artists with collectors of various countries, organisers of international exhibitions and Lithuanians in exile. In the 1970s, Lithuanian artists got involved in the Fluxus movement. Later mail art branched out into various movements and embraced various experimental practices.

An important role in this exhibition is architectural, as conceived by the artist Robertas Narkus, which landed in the hall of the National Gallery of Art like a comet and gave an impulse to rethink the relations between artistic experiments in the second half of the 20th century and contemporary art, their meanings and inspirations.

Artists: Valentinas Ajauskas, Alfonsas Andriuškevičius, Valentinas Antanavičius, Jüri Arrak, Konstantinas Bogdanas, Juozas Budraitis, Saulius Chlebinskas, Coolturistės, Antanas Cukermanas,  Kostas Dereškevičius, Gražina Didelytė, Fluxus, Mindaugas Gapševičius, Laura Garbštienė, Rimtautas Vincentas Gibavičius, Kęstutis Grigaliūnas, Antanas Gudaitis, Kristina Inčiūraitė, Linas Jablonskis, Vaidas Jauniškis, Gediminas Karalius, Romualdas Karpavičius, Arvydas Každailis, Rimvydas Kepežinskas, Vincas Kisarauskas, Saulė Kisarauskienė, Antanas Kmieliauskas, Tõnu Kõiv, Algimantas Kuras, Stanislovas Kuzma, Rudolfas Levulis, Vitas Luckus, Aurelija Maknytė, Antanas Martinaitis, Žibuntas Mikšys, Antanas Mončys, Vytautas Narbutas, Gytis Norvilas, Eikantas Pakalka, Saulius Paukštys, Algirdas Petrulis, Petras Repšys, Klaus Rödel, Edmundas Saladžius, Ferdinandas Saladžius, Mindaugas Skudutis, Gytis Skudžinskas, Birutė Stančikaitė, Algirdas Steponavičius ir Birutė Žilytė, Vitalij Strigunkov, Arvydas Šaltenis, Lidija Šimkutė, Ričardas Šileika, Gintautas Trimakas, Raimondas Urbonas, Vytautas Valius, Antanina Ramunė and Norbertas Vėlius, Ričardas Povilas Vaitiekūnas, Vytautas and Sigutė Valius, Mikalojus Povilas Vilutis, Viktoras Vizgirda, Izaokas Zibucas and others.

Loose Ends. Artistic Communication by Mail
2019 03 22 – 05 19
Curators: Danutė Gambickaitė, Aistė Kisarauskaitė, Ieva Pleikienė
Architect: Robertas Narkus
Partners: The Jonas Mekas Visual Arts, A. and P. Galaunė House, Lithuanian Archives of Literature and Art, Mo Museum (Vilnius)
This project was partly financed by the Lithuanian Council for Culture
Sponsor: Exterus
Organizer Lithuanian Art Museum / National Gallery of Art, Vilniusimg_1977 img_1978 img_1979 img_1981 img_1985-hdr img_2001-hdr img_2004-hdr img_2007-hdr img_2015 img_2016 img_2017 img_2020 img_2021 img_2022-hdr img_2026 img_2027 img_2028 img_2030 img_2031 img_2033 img_2034-hdr img_2042-hdr img_2044 img_2047 img_2048 img_2049 img_2050 img_2051 img_2052 img_2053 img_2058-hdr img_2061 img_2062 img_2063 img_2064 img_2067 img_2068 img_2069-hdr img_2071-hdr img_2074 img_2075 img_2076 img_2077 img_2079 img_2080 img_2081 img_2082Photography: Andrej Vasilenko