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Exhibition "LOOK FOR THE ONE"

LOOK FOR THE ONE

Painters participating in the exhibition: Konstantinas Gaitanži, Jonas Gasiūnas, Eglė Karpavičiūtė, Jolanta Kyzikaitė, Ričardas Nemeikšis, Eglė Ulčickaitė, Tomas Valeika.

Opening - April 3, 6 p.m.

In one of his most famous paintings, Caravaggio paints an intimate scene of a lonely Narcissus, shrouded in darkness, gazing at his own reflection in the water. The smooth surface of the water returns Narcissus his dark image, and he, mesmerized by his own gaze, is caught in a loop of infinite longing. The one he seeks is himself, but this he cannot have.

There were those who thought that Narcissus invented painting. As if every painter is first of all someone who tries to read the shimmering surfaces and catch sight of himself, his time, his place and his context. Yet at the same time, he is also someone who is deeply devoted to illusion. Each painting seeks to seduce spectator and to become that enchanted surface that allures whoever looks at it.

But today’s Narcissus, sound asleep from the excess of his reflections, is having a nightmare. He dreams of that clear water – whose surface has always charmed him with the power of reflection – slowly turning into a thick murky mass. And now he is no longer looking at the smooth surface of the water, but at an indifferent cold mass. He sees his image dissipating in scattered light and gradually being absorbed by a surface that no longer shows anything. Now he is no longer longing for himself. Rather, he is longing for the longing itself.

Dreaming the same Narcissus nightmare, from which one can no longer wake up, this exhibition brings together artists from different generations of contemporary Lithuanian painting. Each of them is looking for possible ways to preserve the lucidity of a dreamer by exploiting the insidious medium in their own ways, by differently experiencing that feverish, crumbling, and sinking gaze. Poison here becomes expression. For some, this rigid, formless mass becomes the glue that holds the canvas together, for others it manifests itself through trembling bodies, blind spots or decaying forms, while still others search for the right ignition temperature, the right tonal and colour ratio to reflect that lukewarm state of numb senses.

Therefore, rather than aiming for a quick anaesthetic effect, rather than succumbing to the spells of imitation and the automatism of self-replicating images, these artists strive for a more arduous sleep and a fiercer illusion. Here this illusion becomes material, it never ceases to seduce and yet seeks to be denounced. For ultimately it belongs to those who, in the words of Walter Benjamin, have no illusions about their age, but who nevertheless are devoted to it with an unlimited commitment.

After all, if dreams do come true and Narcissus eventually becomes blind, what else is left for him if not to seek consolation in dreaming the one?                                                                               

Brigita Gelžinytė