FLUX. Lithuanian Art Festival in Rome

Deimantas Narkevičius, 20 July 2015, 2016
Video Installation, 15’ 8’’
Courtesy the artist and Institute of Lithuanian Culture

 

On 4 May 2018 the FLUX. Lithuanian Art Festival in Rome will begin with 20 July 2015, a double video installation by Deimantas Narkevičius, at Auditorium Arte. The artist will be present both for the opening of this exhibition, and on the occasion of the opening talk of ARTAPES. Fast Forwarded, a screening program on Lithuanian video art from the 90s until today, taking place at MAXXI on the following day. The exhibition is curated by Anna Castelli Guidi and inaugurates the festival program.

Trained as a sculptor,  Narkevičius adopts the techniques of documentary film making, drawing on the aesthetic language of the form. He employs interviews and archive footage, often exploring and subverting the genre. His films and sound installations illustrate our need to recall the past, showing how such memories remain relevant. The very particular ideology, identity and utopian ideals that informed the Soviet life-world through the decades, and the subsequent transition to something new, form the core of his practice.

The video installation 20 July 2015 recounts on how on 21 July 2015, a monument from socialist times has been removed from the city of Vilnius, for no apparent reason. The sculpture was originally placed on a bridge and considered a city landmark since 1952. Only 8 figures survived the socialist icons’ dismantlement wave, taking place between 1990-91. The only plausible justification is that the monument was removed to create a mediatic event, as successful as the ones transmitted twenty-five years before. The movie director and his team followed the whole operation, from the preparation to the removal. As such, the act of regulation and setting the cameras in place became a preparatory ritual to the sculpture’s disappearance. The organization and the shooting themselves became a way to divulgate the operation, inasmuch as to legitimate it, although against the artists’ will.

Deimantas Narkevičius graduated from the Art Academy in Vilnius as a sculptor and spent a year in London in 1992-93. On his return to Lithuania he was concerned with site-specific objects but a strong interest in narrative led him to record interviews and conversations with artists. This process evolved into an exploration of different narrative structures through film and video, the work for which Narkevičius is now best known. Narkevičius is one of the most consistent and widely recognised Lithuanian artists on the international art scene. He represented his country at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001 and exhibits at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003 in ‘Utopia Station’ curated by Molly Nesbit and Hans Ulrich Obrist. Since 1992 Narkevičius has exhibited extensively around the world in group shows at many significant contemporary art venues and events. He showed at Manifesta II  in Luxemburg in 1998 and has exhibited at Tate Modern, London, Paris, Brussels, Vilnius, Manchester, Dublin, Vienna, Brussels, Helsinki, Stockholm, Zurich, Rotterdam, Melbourne and many other cities. Solo shows include Either true or fictitious  at FRAC Pays de la Loire in France, 2003 and a major presentation at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven 2009, Da Capo  at Museo Marini, Florence Italy and MSU Museum Zagreb Croatia, 2015.

On 5-6 May 2018 at MAXXI the screening program ARTAPES. Fast Forwarded presents works by Eglė Budvytytė, CAC TV, CORO Collective, Laura Garbštienė, G-Lab (Arturas Bumšteinas e Laura Garbštienė), Arūnas Gudaitis, Dainius Liškevičius, Donatas Jankauskas, Evaldas Jansas, Deimantas Narkevičius, Robertas Narkus and Jokūbas Čižikas, Darius Žiūra; a selection of videos covering the time span from the 90s until today, aiming to unfold the development of the genre within the Lithuanian scene, through thematic and methodological relations. The show, organised by the Institute of Lithuanian Culture and Contemporary Art Centre and financed by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, is made up of videos created by different generations of Lithuanian artists, divided into two parts. The first part focuses on the ways in which identity (of the individual, of groups, of nations and of places) is expressed and (de)constructed. The second part is composed of works in which the artists distance themselves from the exploration of the real world, extending the potential of the medium to more subjective aesthetic ends and experimenting with new modes of narration.

From May 4th to 14th, the Fondazione Musica per Roma together with the Institute of Lithuanian Culture and the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Italy will present a festival dedicated to the Lithuanian culture. Produced in collaboration with Comune di Roma, MAXXI, Teatro di Roma and the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, the project aims at conveying an overview of the Lithuanian contemporary art scene.

This year, Lithuania celebrates the 100th anniversary of Independence. On February 1918, the  sovereignty of the Lithuanian state was reconstituted as democratic and independent republic. This event marked the beginning of Lithuanian modern history. As 2018 symbolises the threshold to the new century, this anniversary is an occasion to present the modernity and creativity of Lithuania today, as well as the future vision.

In the spirit of the Fluxus Manifesto, published in 1963 by Jurgis Mačiūnas (who had to leave the occupied Lithuania in 1944, and live exiled in the West) the expressive characteristics of Lithuania today are indeed in flux, continuous and free to flow, influenced by this century’s creators and technologies. Contemporary Lithuanian culture and artists are more and more relevant in today’s world culture geography.

The festival program will include a very diverse selection of shows, from classic to jazz music, from theatre to dance, from exhibitions to video-art, with the participation of the most significant Lithuanian artists, including (among others) the theatre directors Eimuntas Nekrošius and Oskaras Koršunovas, the multimedia artist Deimantas Narkevičius, the orchestra director Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla, and legends of the jazz scene such as Vladimir Tarasov, Liudas Mockūnas, Eugenijus Kanevičius, up to the emerging artist Kamilė Gudmonaitė and the Vilnius Urban Dance Theatre.

The festival will last for 12 days and will be enriched by video art shows, performances, exhibitions and experimental music.

 

Low Air Fine dei Giochi (2016)
Photo Laura Vensevičienė

 

Deimantas Narkevičius
20 July 2015
Curated by Anna Cestelli Guidi
Opening 4 May 2018, 7pm
4 May—19 June 2018