REVISITING SPACES AND HISTORIES: Lithuanian artist film programme

Exhibition time: 27 07 2023–06 08 2023
Meno Parkas Gallery (Rotušės a. 27, 44279 Kaunas, Lithuania)

Kipras Dubauskas | Laura Garbštienė | Arūnas Gudaitis | Evaldas Jansas | Dainius Liškevičius | Eglė Razūmaitė
Curator of the program: Ūla Tornau

The selection of films by prominent Lithuanian artists of different generations presents a range of artistic languages that are all addressing the subjects of history and place, the specific architectural, documentary, social and mental spaces for narratives.
Earlier films from the late 1990s and early 2000s witness the beginnings of the video as an accessible medium in the country – the first efforts of the artists to play around with their own video cameras, thus poetically documenting the casual and the everyday, the social situations of the time. The latter are often situated in the modernist settings while other artists are consciously revisiting modernist histories – of architecture as a derelict heritage or a historical device of social democracy; of art and film as a political tool or a source of psychodelic inspiration; and of a modernist myth of the artist as social renegade. Touching upon those diverse angles, all the films address the themes and poetics which originated in the second half of the 20th century and are somehow witnessing a comeback as a lense to deal with a complex present. 

Evaldas Jansas

1998, 23:01 min

In Wishes Evaldas Jansas (b. 1969) asks his friends and acquaintances to wish him something on the occasion of Christmas and New Year. Here, others disclose characteristics of themselves while at the same time revealing aspects of the artist: the wish demonstrates the values of the well-wisher, but is also formulated by second guessing what the other person might want. Twenty years later this film serves as a snapshot of Vilnius' cultural and social scene in the nineties.


Dainius Liškevičius

2012, 10 min

Free Time starts with the figure of a man walking across the dunes in Nida – a reference to the iconic photograph of Jean-Paul Sartre taken by the Lithuanian photographer Antanas Sutkus in Nida in 1965. The hero's journey ends in front of the Museum of Revolution in Vilnius, known since 2009 as the National Gallery of Art. During the Soviet period, art was often understood as a way to spend free time. The film is dedicated to the memory of Bronius Maigys' political protest, carried out on 15 June 1985, at The State Hermitage Museum in what was then known as Leningrad, during which Maigys damaged Rembrandt's painting Danaë.


Laura Garbštienė

2008, 12:58 min

The artist dances and sings popular love songs from the 1980's and 1990's in front of the Lower Saxony Stone ('Niedersachsenste'), a huge eagle-shaped monument in the village of Worpswede, Germany. In 1915, when plans for the statue were being made, its original function was to celebrate Germany's victory in World War I; however, in 1922 it was inaugurated as a monument to the fallen soldiers. Due to unpleasant historical connotations, it now stands forgotten.


Kipras Dubauskas

2013, 14:21 min

„In the early morning, when air is full of sounds of the birds and when the sun is just about to rise, the protagonist appears next to the modern bridge that was seen previously. After a while, he moves to the opposite side of the bridge, rapidly leaving everything what left behind him.“ Consider the leftovers spaces of the city as unconscious state, which is not interfered with any external factors. The alteration, change, improvements or even destruction of these spaces would be equivalent to rational, practical move in a conscious (awakening) state. The state of sleep inertia, when sleeper wants to be asleep again, is precisely this intermediate moment – temporariness – that proves to be the enduring and unchanging factor of our cities.


Arūnas Gudaitis

Video 5'20”, 2002-2003

Video The Meeting Point, filmed over a period of several days, shows a group of young men gathering in a circle at night. The strictly systematic way in which they position themselves night by night in an almost identical order is reminiscent of a ritual dance. The men, standing shoulder to shoulder, restlessly shifting from one foot to the other, are perceived only as abstract figures in the night. They consciously or unconsciously seem to disassociate themselves
from their surroundings. Muffled sounds of the city underline the gloomy atmosphere created by the seemingly self-imposed rigid ritual of (self-) discipline.


Eglė Razumaitė
2020, 19 min

Through a protagonist’s journey of self-discovery - two cities and the histories of their respective nations becomes contiguous. Paris and Vilnius explore the topic of social and territorial periphery. The film begins by addressing questions that remain central to urban planning and everyday life; how does the city develop, what are the dynamics of its planning, can we speak about certain laws that occur, how do territorial periphery correlate with social separation and what are the historical conditions behind such situations? By continuing the work on philosophical connection to the city, the artist follows post-modern french philosophy tradition and analyses the conditions in which suburbs around Paris have been formed, consistently seeking to juxtapose against the so called underground-Vilnius. The relationship between top and bottom, centre and periphery is the propulsion. The artist gently touches upon themes concerning post-colonial France and post-soviet Lithuania - the crisis of constructing national identity in Afro-French and Lithuanian-Russian communities.


The exhibition is part of the Meno Parkas Gallery's project "Ether". The project is supported by the Lithuanian Artist of Culture.