Exhibition 'Strange Country' by Elián Stolarsky at Artifex gallery

2024 04 16 — 2024 05 03 at Artifex
Author Echo Gone Wrong
Published in Events in Lithuania

“The past is a Foreign country.”
David Lowenthal

Strange Country (Vilnius)” is the latest chapter in the artistic narrative I have been crafting. It revolves around the past as a domain—a peculiar country one revisits, finding it ever-changed. This domain is continually reshaped by personal and collective memories, as well as the eroding effects of forgetfulness. It follows my previous works such as “Strange Country (from I to VII, Madrid),” “Obcy kraj (Warsaw),” “Sikrid Land (Reykjavík),” and “陌生的国家 (Shanghai).” Each explores the theme of unfamiliar conceivable pasts, intertwining the stories of my migrant family with their respective contexts. A unifying element across these series is the use of textiles and archival photographs to depict this symbolic strangeness.

The origin of this work is rooted in a profound need to reconstruct—and heal—the fragmented, muted, and traumatic history of my family, forced into migration by war and religious persecution. My journey in art acts as a vehicle to revisit the places my ancestors once traveled through, allowing me to complete the cycle and fully engage with my present.

My creative process involves digitally altering archival images to create a narrative that fuses reality with imaginative fiction, expressed via etching, animation, and textiles. My artwork addresses the silent repercussions of violence on future generations and the healing role art plays in making sense of and coping with inherited trauma.

Born in Montevideo in 1990, I hold a Fine Arts degree from UDELAR Montevideo and a Master’s with Great Distinction from the KASK School of Arts in Ghent. I am proud to have been the youngest artist to host a solo exhibition at the Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales in Montevideo in 2018. My career has been augmented by a plethora of international awards, scholarships, and residencies.

Having moved to Spain in 2018, I am currently undertaking a doctorate at the Complutense University of Madrid, studying the silent impacts of violence on third generations such as my own and how art can be a conduit for healing and survival. In tandem, I persist in evolving my work, merging traditional methods with the capabilities of digital technology.


This work was produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed here can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union.

Opening: On the 16th of April (Tuesday) at 5:30 PM at the VAA gallery Artifex (Gaono str. 1, Vilnius).  Gallery opening hours: II-V 12-18, VI-12-16.