Vartai Gallery, Vilnius: Sunset


21 April – 10 June 2012

TAG is very pleased to present Sunset, a new solo exhibition by the Lithuanian artist Zilvinas Landzbergas (b. 1979, Kaunas) uniting sculpture, animation, and installations in a Gesammtkunstwerk which questions the ideology of progress. ‘Sunset’ combines recent works with a sculptural installation made specifically for this exhibition. The exhibition is part of TAG’s year-long programme exploring a specific relationship to the contemporary object and image, a relationship that problematizes the speculative. To speculate is to anticipate possibilities. Within this domain, TAG’s central focus is on the relationship between object and image in relation to technology, performativity, and interpretation.

Working with the distinctive properties of his materials, which are usually “impoverished,” Landzbergas constructs situations in which viewers become part of a spectacle, a play in which the actors are missing and the materials and objects take the leading roles. Viewers are given enough clues to create their own narratives, and in the process they become part of the artistic work. Landzbergas’s installations also have a certain theatrical quality, in which the space becomes a stage where the artist acts a mediator of possibilities, speculating about potential outcomes. This often involves the use of “characters”, whose personalities Landzbergas deconstructs and re-presents to his viewers through the immanent qualities of his materials. Using materials such as tree trunks, cardboard, plaster, light, spray paint, plastic, and simple animations, Landzbergas conveys his understanding of the world as a construct, as well as his artistic strategies for intervening in that construct.

The exhibition title brings to mind a host of symbols from Western iconography, and evokes images from film, kitsch, and esoterica. “The work that I’m presenting in ‘Sunset’ speaks to the current Apocalypse Fever. Apocalyptic obsessions derived from collective mythologies seem to be coming true, but in fact they are also shaping reality. This theme in my work actually relates to the end of the scientifically constructed worldview, which is destined to collapse. Many thinkers speak of understanding nature in an instrumental and scientific way, but without any real experience of nature. Essentially, this involves a rationalistic map or matrix, based on mathematical models, which is imposed on nature in an attempt to describe and understand and control it. But paradoxically, when we take this approach, we are not truly investigating natural laws and principles, but constructing them through highly mechanistic concepts and definitions.”

“Seven Lies”, the artist’s new sculptural installation, consists of a group of cast plaster ornaments and visual fragments alluding to Greek mythology. We see Roman, Renaissance-style, and nineteenth-century replicas of portraits and architectural details. The portraits show men and women reminiscent of gods and goddesses. Taken together, the mouldings reflect a process of fragmentation and distortion akin to the workings of human memory. Landzbergas comments, “Plaster, like memory, recasts forms. With no colour and just one material, it’s very reminiscent of the anaemic world of science and rationalistic research. It’s a bit like vanished images, or images from a remembered past – like fragments of broken myths, mixed together into one homogeneous mould.” Landzbergas’s classification of objects, allusions to a variety of historical periods and ambivalence between the two offer no suggestion of a brighter future, yet they hint at possibilities, bringing a kind of new era into being, that of a “historic present”. [SW]

Galerija VARTAI
Vilniaus g. 39
LT-01119 Vilnius, Lietuva

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