The Lithuanian Science and Life magazine was first published in 1957 – the year when an artificial satellite and a dog were launched into space. Today the magazine is out of print, as it has been replaced by Illustrated Science – life has relocated to illustration. Images have overshadowed texts and the virtual has outshone the tangible. In this doctoral students’ exhibition, science is again trying to cling to life – or at least to the pre-digital cover of Science and Life.
The dualistic structure of the exhibition is based not on binary oppositions, elegantly manipulated by the art critic Alfonsas Andriuškevičius in the first conceptual Lithuanian exhibition he curated (Myth in Today’s Painting, 1988), but instead on recurrence of a work in another context. Images, sounds, or objects are duplicated, but the repetitions are not secondary. They spread in waves like water ripples. A table in the exhibition and a table in the canteen react to heat identically, but the viewers’ reactions differ. The works’ extensions in space and time allows not only going beyond the walls of Vilnius Academy of Arts, but also draw past and even future exhibitions into the common gravitational field.
The exhibition is created together with the shadow. I have called it a Forest of References. Many of the works have a “doppelganger”, either physical or discursive. The references may function as artificial satellites of the works – for instance, a photograph of an index of names in the Titanikas hall and the index itself in the rare book department. Or they may act as metonymies, when the works in this exhibition are parts of another show. In this way, Science and Life is connected to a parallel exhibition in a different city through a particular painting work. The Forest of References is not distinguished but is coalesced with the exhibition. All of the works are discursive vectors, all of the copies are originals.
Science is connected to life through “and”, but gaps and cracks remain. In these gaps lie the bitter roots of science and its not necessarily sweet fruits. Many of the works in the exhibition dramatize the tension between the visible and the experienced, the declared and the anticipated, the calculated and the divined. Not everything glittering in the gaps is gold – it can be simply mica minerals filling a gap in the floor. The conjunction “and” describes an intermediate state: between painting and photography, poetry and politics, the Vitruvian and Le Corbusier models, fashion forecasts and, design and climate change.
This exhibition of doctoral art students differs from the previous ones in that it is not “compulsory” – it features the authors who were interested in the curator’s proposal to transgress the academic framework and consider artistic research as an everyday practice. Instead of presenting the doctoral students’ research projects, the works grow and branch from the collected material. The process of putting the exhibition together is based on the oral tradition – speaking, gossip, spells, rumours, disputes, and hearsay. There were no written instructions except the Doctoral Department’s letters regarding meetings and the catalogue.
The contents of Science and Life – maps, magazines, flags, books, diets and declarations – are inscribed into mathematical equations where they are not what they pretend to be. Nonmaps, nonmagazines, nonbooks, nonfood – intangible and nonspiritual assets. The forest of references or Maironis’ grove on Noah’s raft, titanic efforts to squeeze all past and future exhibitions into an active material link. An exhibition’s halo, measured by the steps of the explorers of a toxic city, piercing the peasant territorial mentality with hunter-gatherer arrows.
The time of the exhibition is unrelated to the working hours of the Titanikas hall. Some of the works emerged in the non-exhibition spaces of Vilnius Academy of Arts way before the opening of Science and Life. The works began earlier than the exhibition and will persist after it closes.
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Participants: Arnas Anskaitis, Dovilė Bagdonaitė, Eglė Bertašiūtė, Gintarė Černiauskaitė, Vitalij Červiakov, Dovilė Dagienė, Tomas Daukša, Eglė Grėbliauskaitė, Sigitas Gužauskas, Kristė Kibildytė-Klimienė, Laima Kreivytė, Juozas Laivys, Saulius Leonavičius, Sara Lundberg, Renata Maldutienė, Donata Minderytė, Tomas Martišauskis, Vygintas Orlovas, Justė Pečiulytė, Rūta Spelskytė-Liberienė, Marija Šaboršinaitė, Eglė Ulčickaitė.
The locations of the exhibition Science and Life are: Titanikas exhibition hall, VAA library, art reading room, rare books reading room, canteen, and the pavement in front of the entrance to the VAA Old building.
Performative actions: The Anatomy of Vaporwave workshop on April 20-23 and a tour of the toxic Vilnius.