Dileta Deikė created her installation ‘Falling Shadows’ after her long walks around the former Jewish Ghetto of Vilnius capturing the marks of light and shadows. The installation is displayed in Artifex Gallery that is located in Gaon Street—barely a few steps away from the former gate of the Small Ghetto. Dileta’s work focuses on remembrance, on the echoes of the former lives reaching us slowly but unavoidably. It is an almost intangible work of art that is very substantial at the same time. It is opening up the void and recording the heartbeat of memory through the embroidery stitches. Slow stitching inspires the interplay between actions and mindfulness both in the embroiderer and the spectators.
The artist explains that slow stitching intuitively led her to contemplate the history of Vilnius Ghetto and to attempt to understand what it means to be, live, and create in Vilnius—a city with so much Jewish heritage—today. Her embroidery compositions consist of shadows rendered as abstract silhouettes. ‘I collect shadows around the former territories of the Big Ghetto and Small Ghetto; I select those cast by objects affected by human activities, such as locks, gates, surveillance cameras, fences, and similar objects that symbolise safety to Vilnius residents today, but back then meant captivity and humiliation to the Ghetto prisoners. A fairly recent past of Vilnius City casts shadows, and I join them into an existential embroidery work, slowly, stitch by stitch; I am thus looking for a way to perceive the scale of tragedy that the Jewish people had to face.’
The installation at the Artifex Gallery consists of the rooms of shadows, reflections, and light. Each of the three rooms contains artworks that connect the visible and the invisible, the tangible and the intangible. The reflections and the shadows have the same foundation: tablecloths that are family heirlooms and represent a shared table. Yet, there is no table and no people sitting around it. Meanwhile, in the room of light (which, at the same time, is the room of dusk, of darkness) curtains flutter lightly. The room is empty but the light is streaming through cut-outs in the cloth shaped like Yiddish letters and is filling the space with its pulsating breath. To understand the meaning of the words, one needs to read them, but their essence can be perceived as soon as one steps inside.
The key element of the exhibition is the time spent ruminating about the people who used to live in the Ghetto and stitching the immaterial evidence of their existence into a cloth. Their eyes observed the shadows cast by houses and the flashes of light in windows. Now we are the observers collecting the untold stories, slowly, stitch by stitch.
Curator Laima Kreivytė
Organisers Vilnius Academy of Arts gallery “Artifex”
Curator Laima Kreivytė
Design by Ineta Armanavičiūtė
Vilnius Academy of Arts gallery “Artifex”, Gaono str. 1, Vilnius
Opening of the exhibition: 19th of September (Tuesday) at 6 PM