12 October - 5 November 2011
Vidmantas Ilčiukas is one of conceptual Lithuanian photographers with a unique touch and distinctive topics. His works are noted, but yet to be recognised. The artist’s personal show Plein Air, which will be opened in Galerija VARTAI on October 12, presents the works from the period of 2003–2011 that have a common contemplative, existentialist feeling and weird, self-reflective humour. Ilčiukas’ photography is distinguished for contrasts; the author is treading the line between the irony of life and the fragile, the human, the perpetual.
Plein Air is the second personal show of Vidmantas Ilčiukas in Galerija VARTAI. The title of the show does not represent the result of a pleasant creative picnic, but the artist’s point of view towards the environment and the attempt to feel the pulse of the environment as well the marks of time and man in the environment. However, there is no lyrics in this – the author is also an observer who himself rallies this position.
City (2003–2004) is a series of Vilnius Old Town architecture reflections caught in glossy surfaces of dirty bus stops, windows and other objects. It’s a reference to the short story In the Penal Colony by Franz Kafka where the verdict is inscribed on the back of the convict with observers reading it through a glass screen. Dissolving into slimy darkness, the streets and alleys of Vilnius with faded architecture, soft outlines and muted colours as well as brutal signs and graffitis on the glass surfaces are the back of the city imprisoned in time.
The experimental film Plein Air (2004) is a recording of a journey across the Old Town using an off-the-shelf video camera. The artist blurs the image to make it look like a painting. This action is multilayered. At the time of making of the video, the medium was much admired and has replaced painting on multiple occasions. Whereas Ilčiukas himself is a graduate of painting classes, the play with the video camera is auto-ironic.
The photo-installation Hide and Seek (2005) consists of ‘jokes’ with the artist’s grandmother. When the grandma turned 100, the artist took pictures of her in various staged situations. According to the author, Hide and Seek is an attempt to speak about the relativity of time, phenomena and meanings. These personal photo-conversations with the grandmother have already been displayed in an unconventional venue – the funeral home on the occasion of parting, where the artwork sort of melded into the ritual.
The theme of paradoxes of life and death continues in the series of pictures Forest (2011). Forest is a kind of a zone to escape and cleanse oneself, but it also has something dreadful. It gives the awareness that life and death can be equally daunting.
The exhibition is curated by: Jolanta Marcišauskytė-Jurašienė