Cultural programme of the Lithuanian Presidency of the EU Council in London has kicked-off last week with the performance of the young accordionist Martynas Levickas performing with his band. The programme continued in the 12 Star Gallery, where the exhibition Part of a Larger Whole. Lithuanian Contemporary Art , curated by Valentinas Klimašauskas and Kestutis Kuizinas opened on 2 July. Each invited artist produced a large-scale poster that formed the basis of this group show.
The exhibition title, Part of a Larger Whole, refers to the literary trope when a smaller part is used to refer to the whole. Hence these works speak of the most important parts in Lithuanian art over the last twenty years but also mark the problematic aspect of the attempt to select and therefore define the twenty most prominent’ artists and there oeuvre. The collection also bears witness to the fact that Lithuanian contemporary art is not limited to just artists working in Lithuania – almost one third of the artists taking part in this project spend the greater part of their time outside of Lithuania and those resident in their homeland regularly take part in international shows.
Exhibition curators Valentinas Klimašauskas and Kęstutis Kuizinas have invited Justė Kostikovaitė to activate the exhibition. A performance event CAKE accompanied the opening of the Part of the Larger Whole – artists were invited to think about the exhibition as a trailer and problematics of representation. CAKE invited David Raymond Conroy’us, Robert Narkus, Ilona Sagar and Laimonas Zakas.
Video artist and hacker Laimonas Zakas created a Facebook account with his Glitchrr that publicized CAKE event. Publicity and online presence with distorted graphics of Facebook became both an online performance and promotional tool. This intervention became a comment on the online encounters with artworks and exhibitions, where users partly experience the content just by clicking the Join button, without delving more into the depths of the information.
Robertas Narkus’s piece Turbulence absorbed contingencies and chance encounters that he experienced during his week stay in London prior to the opening. Robertas Narkus presented a collective performance, during which 12 people were sitting at the table in the conference hall and smoking electronic cigarettes.
For CAKE David Raymond Conroy created a new work; Thinking about something that we can not imagine. From an LCD TV covered with a towel, we hear astronomer Carl Sagan as he speaks about unseen dimensions and the (im)possibility of representation.
In her performance Conflict and Resolution Ilona Sagar was projecting the text on the flags and reading the text with various interferences, such as biting the apple. This interference allowed to transfix the gaze of the audience from the performance itself to the unusual 12 Star Gallery space: the corridor, the conference room.
The exhibition presents the works by Aidas Bareikis, Gintaras Didžiapetris, Laura Garbštienė, Arūnas Gudaitis, Kristina Inčiūraitė, Donatas Jankauskas, Patricija Jurkšaitytė, Žilvinas Kempinas, Juozas Laivys, Dainius Liškevičius, Mindaugas Lukošaitis, Raimundas Malašauskas, Darius Mikšys, Deimantas Narkevičius, Mindaugas Navakas, Audrius Novickas, Artūras Raila, Eglė Rakauskaitė, Nomeda and Gediminas Urbonas, Darius Žiūra.
The exhibition will be on view till July 13, 10am – 6 pm, Monday to Friday at the Europe House (32 Smith Square, London SW1P 3EU). Free admission
After Vilnius, the exhibition “Part of a Larger Whole” continues on to other major European cities including Copenhagen, Minsk, London, Prague, Angers and to Washington.
Photographs by Max Creasy