VARTAI 20 Years
22 February - 14 April 2011
22 February 2011, Galerija VARTAI is pleased to announce a new cycle of exhibitions commemorating its 20th anniversary. The cycle begins with Žilvinas Kempinas' first solo show at the gallery.
Galerija VARTAI was one of the first private galleries and among first private businesses in Lithuania after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Over the course of 20 years VARTAI has built a reputation as one of the most important spaces for contemporary art in the country.
In addition to the wide range of national and international exhibitions at the gallery, VARTAI participates in international art fairs and organises exhibitions representing the nation at prestigious international events such as Liverpool or Venice Biennale. In the latter, in 2009, VARTAI presented the widely acclaimed installation TUBE (2008) by Žilvinas Kempinas, the artist commencing the VARTAI: 20 Years exhibition cycle. In the same year, VARTAI launched one of the most successful projects for “Vilnius – European Capital of Culture” – the ongoing exhibition cycle “ARTscape”, featuring such renowned artists as Hans Op de Beeck, Jesper Just, Atelier Van Lieshout, Erwin Wurm and others in a dialogue with national artists such as Žilvinas Landzbergas, Laura Garbštienė, Gintaras Makarevičius, Ugnius Gelguda, S&P Stanikas and others. The upcoming ARTscape exhibition will present the works of the Latvian artist Miks Mitrevics.
Žilvinas Kempinas is best known for his perception and space-altering installations, which invite the viewer to participate in the art event as it unfolds. Using magnetic tape as the main medium for his installations, Kempinas' art acquires multiple points of interpretation. Magnetic tape at once becomes a ready-made, while its use addresses the laws of physics and phenomenology. Through the concept of the line in space the artist’s works expand the boundaries of the medium of drawing and his installation Double O (2008) was recently exhibited in MoMA’s show On Line: Drawing Through the Twentieth Century (2010).
The exhibition at VARTAI showcases five of Kempinas' installations, representing different media in different periods of time. The first room of the gallery transforms into a forest of translucent columns of stretched video tape, creating spectacular physical and optical experiences while walking through the space in the installation Columns (2006). Walking further, the eyes meet the installation Serpentine (2010), created using efficient means of expression and consisting of strips of magnetic tapes held by blowing fans and dancing freely in a corner of the room. Making a turn to the right, the viewer virtually enters the streets of Manhattan (NYC), captured by the artist’s one-hour bike trip. Four video cameras fixed to his bike form a hyperactive, multipart constellation through the fast-paced metropolis (Bike Messenger, 2006). At the back of the gallery, Kempinas presents his latest, previously unseen ink drawings on paper, executed employing a fan (Fan Drawings, 2010). The exhibition is completed by the rather unexpected hypnotic and brightly coloured installation Ballroom (2010). The latter work opened the New York exhibition season at the Yvon Lambert gallery in the fall of 2010.
Žilvinas Kempinas was born in Plungė (Lithuania) in 1969 and has been living and working in New York for more than 10 years. He graduated from the Vilnius Art Academy, and later studied at Hunter College, New York. In 2009, he represented Lithuania at the 53rd Venice Biennale and in 2007 he received the prestigious Calder Prize and was the resident artist at the Atelier Calder in Saché, France in 2008.
He has been widely exhibited in the United States and internationally, including solo shows in Galeria Leme (Sao Paulo), Yvon Lambert (New York), Spencer Brownstone Gallery (New York), Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art (Gateshead, UK), Kunsthalle Wien (Vienna), Contemporary Art Centre (Vilnius), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), P.S.1 Contemporary Art Centre (New York). Selected group exhibitions include: MoMA (New York); 53rd International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia (Venice, Italy); 6th Liverpool Biennial (UK); Transmediale 10 Festival (Berlin); Yvon Lambert (Paris, New York); Lunds Konsthall (Lund, Sweden); Nam June Paik Art Center (Yongin City, Korea), Manifesta 7 (Bolzano, Italy); SFMOMA (San Francisco, USA); MUDAM (Luxembourg).