XII Baltic Triennial
Contemporary Art Centre (CAC) / VILNIUS (Lithuania)
04.09.2015 – 18.10.2015
The works in this exhibition do not all relate to one overall theme; but the exhibition is crowded with themes and relations. One could say that instead of focusing on one particular thing the exhibition looks at how different things work. Culture, for instance.
Obviously it’s impossible to fully grasp such a theme. But the very desire to fully grasp something is also part of culture that may be changed, or discarded so that another one may be created.
Have you ever been haunted by a feeling that we are constantly preparing for something? While organizing this exhibition we were, for instance, preparing for the series of events titled ‘The World in Which We Occur’ so that the participants won’t hang up on the curators, which is what happened to the artist James Lee Byars, who inspired the project, more than 40 years ago.
But it’s not just that. We’re preparing for something even when we don’t know it. A drawing by Maris Bišofs, made several years ago before anyone knew anything about this exhibition, became not only its signature image but almost a portrait of how it was going to look. And some times we don’t know what to prepare for. The extravagant design of this exhibition has offered us a possibility to see what the CAC is prepared for, since it was mostly built from material accumulated in the building because it might one day come in handy. We don’t know how we ourselves, or others, will understand art in the future. We don’t know what’s ahead.
On this exhibition’s opening day the weekly newspaper 7 meno dienos publishes an essay by sociologist and cultural studies specialist Eglė Rindzevičiūtė, in which she briefly outlines some conceptual approaches to the future, or futurity. It is illustrated by one of Zofia Rydet’s photographs from the exhibition, executed in an ethnographic manner and made after this Polish photographer decided that artists, at least of a certain kind, risked becoming extinct as a species.
Just like Rydet tried to foresee the future back in her own time, Gizela Mickiewicz now does the same, when she asks which qualities newly invented materials, which will potentially be widely used in the future, might add to our culture. Another project – Psychotropic House, based on an idea borrowed from J.G. Ballard, becomes a laboratory for finding an as yet unknown component of a future material, the ‘micomorph’. Goda Budvytytė and Viktorija Rybakova trace a history of plastic, from its earliest origins in organic matter to its newest forms as plastiglomerates.
Those pages of this guidebook that would otherwise have remained blank are now filled with a text by Annick Kleizen, which serves as a kind of voice-over. ‘The Baltic Pavilion’ intrudes upon CAC’s maintenance spaces and asks what might unite three different countries. Both projects indirectly remind us that identities, while interesting, don’t necessarily have to be thought in terms of individuals or nation states. Bianka Rolando tries to imagine a language after the catastrophe and to cure her audience’s imaginary ‘diseases’. She is also trying to ‘heal’ an abandoned stadium outside Poznań, a site that has consistently been ill-fated.
Sometimes, of course, we’re preparing for something at the wrong time or in the wrong way. This is part of what Gerda Paliušytė is saying with her film, and Anders Kreuger with the essay that accompanies it. To learn something is yet another way to prepare. This time the CAC is organizing not one but several educational programs for different groups: from singing classes by artist and singer Perrine Baillieux to the unique workshop on movement for 11–16 year-olds by artist Jay Tan, as well as the science-like adventures at the micomorph laboratory. And those who join the CAC’s usual exhibition tours for schoolchildren will all get a copy of a publication/blanket/sheet with special contributions by Annick Kleizen and The Oceans Academy of Arts.
This exhibition is an invitation to see all this, while it’s still possible, and to try out different things. That goes for the audience and the artists alike.
Curated by Virginija Januškevičiūtė
Courtesy of the Artists and XII Baltic Triennial