Vartai Gallery, Vilnius: JURGA BARILAITĖ / INDRIKIS GELZIS

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Galerija VARTAI is very happy to announce two upcoming solo shows by Lithuanian contemporary artist Jurga Barilaitė and Latvian young artist Indrikis Gelzis. The Opening reception is on 8 January, at 6 pm.
Exhibitions open 8 January – 7 February, 2015.

 

Galerija VARTAI invites you to the opening on 8 January 2015 of an exhibition by Jurga Barilaitė, one of the most prominent interdisciplinary artists, in which she will present her newest audiovisual installation Abracadabra. In Aramaic this word means ‘I create as I speak’, and characterizes one of the most important elements of the exhibition (as well as Barilaitė’s work as a whole) – improvisation as primeval creation. After all, creative work often begins innocently, like a children’s game, and the word comes before the artistic act.

The installation comprises four video stories which interconnect to weave a multilayered narrative. In the video work Abracadabra Counting Rhyme, which marks the beginning, the protagonist (the artist herself) insistently recites the words of a children’s counting rhyme while pointing her finger alternately at herself and at the viewer. The mesmerizing tone and the artist’s glance turns the meaningless words of the rhyme into something similar to a spell.

 

In the other part, Near – Far, the image of a hypnotic spiral replaces that of the artist’s hand growing distant. In the Up episode, the artist’s figure makes obscure signals while standing on the roof of the House of Soviets in Kaliningrad. Meanwhile, in the Down video, she descends into the catacombs of the Stein Fort accompanied by the soundtrack of a drum march. These stories resemble episodes of a mythological saga which contain numerous symbols and references.

On January 8, a solo show by the young Latvian artist Indrikis Gelzis opens at Galerija VARTAI. In two of the gallery’s halls, the artist will be presenting his latest installation made from different elements and the main theme of which is how an art work is perceived, its conditions, and paradoxes. The artist, who employs a variety of media in his work, has managed to make his mark on the Latvian contemporary art scene within a relatively short time. This show is his first exhibition in Lithuania.

 

The artist reveals the theme of perception important to him by creating a certain surreal situation: one of the gallery’s halls contains a video work in which three viewers are looking at three identical paintings. Exhibited in the adjacent hall are two identical wooden shelves, although different in scale, and the same paintings that are seen in the video. The strange set design is complemented by gesso molds of feet that ‘travel’ around the objects arranged in the hall, as if to connect them.

 

The installation illustrates the complexity of the apparently simple process of perception, stating that different individuals see the same objects differently, while the subject of identity is always debatable. If two viewers are simultaneously looking at the same shelf and see it differently, perhaps there really are two parallel realities in which there are two shelves in two galleries? The artist’s works explore the limits of interpretability, as if to expand on the French phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s idea that art is a privilege which allows one to make visible the edges of everyday life impossible to see and perceive through the physical senses.

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