Guilty Pleasures. Laura Kaminskaitė’s 'Double double' at the CAC

May 6, 2021
Author Monika Kalinauskaitė
Published in Review from Lithuania

I would like to use Laura Kaminskaitė’s own words to review her show, and start with the most pressing question: How would a kiss of words look like (Abstract Thinker, 2015)? It should be something akin to the sound of a melodious ballad in a deserted lobby. Kisses, like ballads, are not valued for their originality; but in reviews we long for something that no one else has said.

But how do I say what I think, so that it’s what you feel? To write about Laura’s work, I have to manipulate love. I could be subtle, as her work is often described. But that’s just the surface, with no compromise underneath. In the world of Double double, even nocturnal wanderers stick to rigorous discipline (Night Shifter, 2019–2020), while lazy bar frames confront All the Things You Make Me Talk About (2020). The show’s corporate-size sign has no mercy for a fragile neon tube (Not Yet Titled (Lips), 2020) and, on entry, a heat wave pierces the legendary chill of the rooms of the Contemporary Art Centre. The subtlety of Laura’s work is not a full stop at the end of a compliment, but a sharp tool to cut the sleeves where tricks and hopes are kept.

Double double is full of wistful taboos: sweetness, silliness, loveliness, pinkness. One of its principal media is Sugar Entertainment (2011), show-soaking sugar whose record is presented in liquid form. A modified guilty pleasure: delight in sleeping guilt, unburdened by reproach or cavities. For sleeping guilt, Being critical may also be just another way to love (2021), embodied by the performer Ieva Tarejeva, who touches the show and plays tricks with no guilty conscience, not unlike in our own work, where we play patiently, waiting for the morning like a meaning in a conversation, moving things barely conceived.

exhibition view, Laura Kaminskaitė, Double double at CAC Vilnius. with Being critical
may also be just another way to love, 2021. Performance enacted by Ieva Tarejeva.

Beauty is the privilege of this line of work. People become stronger when they can enjoy beauty, and have the property, the bodies and the dignity of the rich. A lot of cruelty and propaganda go into making sure this melting power trickles down as little as possible. In a city where kitsch is a strong institution, one is delighted to see revolutionary colours in the decorative words smile laugh sashay (Turn smile laugh sashay conversation smile laugh spring up smile laugh talk, 2017) and measure in cocktail glasses the time it took them to become democratic vessels of slippery conversations (Two Pocket Umbrellas, 2021). The Yeses (2021) and O (2021) provocateurs keep reminding us that emancipation is the strongest orgasm: the boundaries between things and intentions are thin, and we cross them at the risk of shining. All these strands get tied together by Today (2017), a lover’s name and bondage that lifts one up from the ground, and yet bounds to the ceiling. Where kitsch is standard, beauty shines from the world of transgression that absorbs irreversibly and costs dearly.

One’s transgressions must be protected with documents. These are the planar works of Double double. Like real documents, they organise fluid processes: productive movement (Spooks, 2019), the collection of information (Untitled, 2017), mediation and copying (Afterthoughts, 2020). The complex yet familiar Exhition (2013) text acts like a legal reference guide, while the rotating Something something (2016) on the screen puts an e-signature to certify the show’s authenticity even before one buys a ticket. I sense the curatorial input of the Post Brothers: a responsibility to legitimise and enable the artist’s work rather than impose a superfluous creative action. All this looks far removed from where we started, the kiss of words. But law may be just another depersonified expression of love that we feel particularly when we lack it. Much of this love in Double double is directed at the Contemporary Art Centre itself: hardly able to reciprocate, treading on this double double path of recalcitrance.

There’s also doubling in Night drive (2021), which makes sense only because it’s experienced by somebody else, or Its Own Unfolding Elsewhere (2019), a place for what’s not here. Or Permanent Vacation (2021) under a ‘personal sky’, where excess is the only defence against lack. Laura Kaminskaitė’s show Double double gives strength for festive arguments and pliability for emptiness. It is public, elegant and spacious. It is what you yearn for when your words stop kissing and guilt cannot sleep: to climb a wide staircase to a wall, with the world left to err behind.

exhibition view, Laura Kaminskaitė, Double double at CAC Vilnius.