press release

The National Gallery of Art, Vilnius is proud to present the solo exhibition of the internationally acclaimed Lithuanian contemporary artist and filmmaker Deimantas Narkevičius.

The exhibition premières Stains and Scratches, a montage of moving images evoking the underground staging, among Vilnius students, of the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar at the beginning of the 1970s. It was a legendary albeit not very publicized event in Soviet-era alternative culture. Narkevičius’ film 07.20.2015, made just one year ago (2016) and acknowledged at the international Oberhausen Film Festival, which documents the sharply contested dismantling of the Soviet sculptures from the Green Bridge in Vilnius is being presented at home in Lithuania for the first time. Both works are shot in 3D and open up unique perceptual experiences in the gallery spaces. The leitmotifs and imagery of these new stereoscopic films are consolidated in the exhibition by Narkevičius’ earlier works, such as the Countryman (2002), Revisiting Solaris (2007), and The Dud Effect (2008).

The spatial montage of films in the gallery constitutes an unusual site—not of a typical cinema, but a filmic architectonics. Counter-posing conventional single-channel and stereoscopic film viewing modes in a single space highlights the duality of seeing and perceiving: the perpetual interconnection between what is real and virtual (artificially constructed, imposed) that affects everyday life and human consciousness.

The exhibition underlines the basic conceptual grounding of Narkevičius’ creative work with discourses of memory and utopia intercut with present-day inquiry. He foregrounds [his] living memory with that of his actors and many of the works’ viewers about the traumatic Soviet past and its corrupted Modernist utopia. The films critically address the friction between personal and collective memory and the present, and the politicization of relations with monuments that perpetuate those collective memories. The title of the exhibition draws attention to both the visible material traces of time imprinted in, and transmitted by, old celluloid and other works of art, and to the stains and scratches embodied within our self-awareness.

Curated by Lolita Jablonskienė, chief curator of the National Gallery of Art, Vilnius. Exhibition designer Gintaras Kuginis. Graphic designer Vytautas Volbekas.