11 November – 18 December, 2014
Opening reception 11 November (Tuesday) 6 pm

At the beginning of November Galerija VARTAI will be showing Echo Conditioner, a solo exhibition of work by Aidas Bareikis, a New-York based Lithuanian artist who uses installation, painting, and collage. Bareikis is one of the most active Lithuanian expatriate artists with a forceful and unique artistic language. 

The exhibition is titled after the artist’s newest installation Echo Conditioner, which occupies the gallery’s largest hall. The name alludes to the process of repetition and constant reconsideration, through which an idea or an object is refined, clarified, and purified like air. With this work Bareikis continues his series of impressive and affective installations, constructed from various everyday use objects, waste material, and readymades, which have helped him become established and well-known on the international contemporary art scene. 

The display also features sculptural objects titled The Sun Behind My Shoulder as I Enter the Woods from the Valueless Objects series, created exclusively for this exhibition. Aidas Bareikis’ objects emerge like the moments of perfection described in Jean-Paul Sartre’s novel Nausea, which first appear as omens. Later, an unique situation slowly and solemnly unfolds in a person’s life. Everything is then left to the viewer as to whether he will be able to recognize the uniqueness and significance of the situation. Each sculptural situation is a material to be processed.
Bareikis seeks to create his objects with minimal physical effort. He arranges and connects the found objects until they acquire a new form as a totality, while at the same time retaining their original shape and remaining recognisable. According to the artist, everything is potentially a piece of rubbish, but it is not material aspects that determine how fast a thing will turn into one. The artistic, cultural, or symbolic value assigned to things extends the life of material objects a hundredfold. 

Emphasising the vices of the consumer society, the decline of values, and unconditional conformity to the all-encompassing laws of capitalism, Aidas Bareikis is searching for deeper meanings and the ultimate aim of humanity’s progress, which lies in the metaphysical rather than material domain. According to Bareikis, in today’s world aesthetics can fundamentally dictate morality, philosophy, or even faith; art can be prophetic. 

In the artist’s installations one can often sense an entropic, post-apocalyptic atmosphere, which while symbolically prophesying complete collapse and decay, also presents an immense potential for new ideas and a new beginning. Bareikis, in producing emotionally affective scenarios, manages to combine surreal humour, social commentary and the craft of alchemy in his installations. 

Aidas Bareikis (b. 1967) graduated from the Vilnius Academy of Arts with a degree in painting in 1992. In 1993 he became a Fulbright Scholar and went to study and live in the USA. In 1997 Bareikis graduated from Hunter College in New York. The artist has held solo exhibitions at the Leo Koenig Inc and Marta galleries (New York), the Queens Museum (New York), the Asbaek Gallery (Copenhagen), the Contemporary Art Centre in Berlin, and the Kunsthalle Wien. His work has also been presented at the Athens Biennale 2007: Destroy Athens and at the Migros Museum of Contemporary Art in Zürich, Switzerland. Bareikis has participated in numerous group exhibitions at various contemporary art centres, museums, and galleries.
Patron Vilnius City Municipality 
Exhibition supported by Lithuanian Council for Culture 
Sponsors of the gallery: Lietuvos rytas, Ekskomisarų biuras, Infoterminalas, Namas ir Aš, Echo Gone Wrong 

Special thanks to Romas Kinka