Labyrinthus presents a complex project that integrates the forms of architecture, sculpture and installation, also the genres of personal collection and retrospective. The architectural construction that was conceived by the artist in the Main Hall of the CAC can be perceived both as a sculptural object and as a site-specific space for exhibition. Inside the square structure that is evenly divided into sixteen parts visitors can find art objects made from various things and photographs that have been collected by the artist over many years. This exposition develops new narratives derived from the introductory project The Projections of the Thirteenth Point (Artifex Gallery, 2013). Thus these artworks communicate with the previous works of the artist and create a possibility for new stories to be told.
All the images-objects located inside the architectural-sculptural structure are associatively grouped into particular visual and conceptual communities which are marked with titles. Each visitor of this labyrinth of meanings is entrusted to connect these images-objects into different narratives, where documentary fragments of personal and global (world) history merge together with fictional facts. Labyrinthus is a practice of walking and watching, where the architecture of the exhibition and a special publication offer access to the routes of perception to the viewers.
1. You are here. There you can get lost
3. Dreamer / Ocean
7. H, HB, B
8. Study of a circle
9. Collection of examples / Mandala
10. Signal / Starfish
11. Sacred Mountain
12. Earth / Virtual State
13. Relic / DNA
14. World’s in-sight
‘Museum’ is an artistic project from Dainius Liškevičius, where he opens up the concepts of creativity and creation for wider discussion. A democratic discussion, in counterbalance to dictatorship and conformism, appears as one of the key conditions for (creative) freedom.
In proactive imitation of the principles of museum operation and the status conferred by the institution, and by drawing parallels between three historic Lithuanian personalities (who embody forms of resistance to the Soviet occupation and political protest) and the artist’s own personal life and career, he establishes the idea of protest as an act of creation.
When considering the history of Soviet-period resistance and artistic life, Liškevičius suggests that we expand the discourse of Soviet Lithuanian art history by the inclusion of political protest as a practice of art creation, and he supports the proposition with additional arguments that developments in Western art were almost completely unknown in Lithuania. The individual’s political protest in this project is interpreted as the most radical means of expression, in opposition to ideological dictatorship and in discussion with Silent Modernism as a moderate stand. Antanas Kraujelis, Romas Kalanta and Bronius Maigis are undoubtedly the most dramatic and the most prominent examples of political protest in the Soviet 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. They left a significant mark on the history of civil resistance in Lithuania to the occupation. Antanas Kraujelis was a member of the postwar resistance, the last partisan, who shot himself on 17 March 1965, when his hiding place was surrounded by the KGB. His struggle is compared to the underground art movement. Romas Kalanta was a dissident who, in protest against the occupation of Lithuania, set fire to himself on 14 May 1972 in the garden of the Kaunas Musical Theatre. His death by self-immolation is compared with performance art.
Bronius Maigis, on 15 June 1985, the anniversary of the first day of the mass destruction of the Lithuanian nation, performed a politically motivated act of vandalism against Rembrandt’s masterpiece ‘Danaë’ at the Hermitage Museum. His act of vandalism in the Hermitage is identified with the equally controversial art destruction movement.
The story ‘Museum’ is a hyper-textual first-person narrative by Dainius Liškevičius, threading together, by logical, conceptual and formal links, Soviet-period forms of political protest presented at the exhibition, the historical personalities representing these forms, and cultural artefacts, with bits and pieces from the artist’s career and his art.
Although the project ‘Museum’ works as an autonomous exhibition, the National Gallery of Art, the location selected for it, is marked by some exceptional facts related to the function and the history of the building. Until 1990, it housed the Museum of the Revolution; now it is home to an institution showing 20th- century Lithuanian art.
By appealing to democratic principles of constructive coexistence, the author seeks to generate a discussion which might give an impetus to the opening up of the concept of creation.
The photographs and video comprising the installation are shot in the artist’s living-space and studio. The audience is invited to watch the transformation of the living space into destructive chaos or monumental sculpture, the annual de-decorations of the Christmas tree, improvised home concerts and blind photographing in the dark. The documentation accumulated by the artist over a number of years has become an ongoing autobiographical project that seamlessly combines everyday and creative events: the living space becomes a stage while routine actions turn into performances, or, conversely, art projects take the form of family entertainment or a radical transformation of the domestic environment.
Note: The text above was written by the Artist. No modification was made by C.O.C.A.
Dainius Liškevičius (b. 1970) lives and works in Vilnius, Lithuania. He belongs to the generation of artists, who have significantly contributed to the renewal of artistic expression after the restoration of independence in Lithuania. In his works, he uses installation, photography, performance and other media, further breaking the boundaries between different disciplines and searching for new forms in contemporary art. His works are characterised by social engagement, contextuality, irony and social critique. Reacting to the topography of a specific place, he examines human behaviour and experience, identity and cultural values, collisions of public and private spaces and collective and personal memory. In 2015 Dainius Liškevičius represented Lithuania at the 56th Venice Biennale.