Monday November 25, 7pm
ANYTHING IS ALWAYS NEARBY OR NEXT TO SOMETHING ELSE
Films and videos by Ugnius Gelguda & Neringa Cerniauskaite
approximately 45 minute
admission $6 – artists in person
Still from “Patterns” (2013, Ugnius Gelguda and Neringa Cerniauskaite) © courtesy of the artists
Microscope Gallery is pleased to present the American debut of films and videos, accompanied by sounds, repetitions, and interruption, by Lithuanian artists Ugnius Gelguda and Neringa Cerniauskaite. The works by the currently Brooklyn-based collaborators include the premiere of their latest video “Patterns”, a film approached from the perspective of recognized Western artist patterns which were appropriated by artists that worked in the first Experimental Bureau of Artistic Construction in the Soviet Union.
“Let’s take a walk through some histories of things – buildings, sculptures, ornaments. It’s the first time they all meet together in one room, in one hour. Let’s see what will come out of this.” – UG & NC
2013, 11 min, HD video, color, sound
“Patterns” is a 11 min. film from the perspective of patterns telling about the search, appropriation and translocation of various patterns and fonts by artists that worked in the first Experimental Bureau of Artistic Construction in Soviet Union. The artists working in the Bureau (unconsciously) appropriated works of other artists from the West in order to use parts of the ornaments and patterns they liked for the applied graphic design they created. Fragments of op-art painting by Vasarely became patterns for candy boxes, and entire meaningful texts were deconstructed and re-constructed enjoying only the formal beauty of a linear character. However, the constant search of patterns in the film flips – the ornaments and underlying geometric shapes start to haunt the viewer eventually taking over the film itself.
In The Highest Point
2011, 3’51 min, digitalized 16 mm film, color, silent
60’2 min, videofilm, full HD. Script: Tamara Levkova and Michail Kariukov, Let the galaxies collide!, 1959 (excerpt from an unproduced film script)
Department stores Mercury, Saturn, Comet, Rainbow, children’s club Meteor, Cosmonauts Avenue – all of them mark a residential area or a monument to the conquest of the cosmos on the outskirts of Lithuanian capital. A cinematographic fantasy found expression in the buildings of social function. Silent film In the Highest Point, (2011) shot on 16 mm, restores the aura of fading architectural utopia. It captures a kinder-garden, built in the early 1970’s in the residential area-monument. Forty years later, the skeleton of an architectural fantasy looms like the simulated façades of western towns in the wide expanses of Cinecittà. Coupled with an unrealized scenario Let the galaxies collide! (1959) for the first sci-fi in Lithuania, the kinder-garden functions as a forgotten scenography of an unproduced sci-fi film. Pompous words of the scenario express the euphoria of the space age, while sharply contrast with the decaying architecture of the unusual lunar-like kinder-garden.
Reflection Wood Chronicles
2012, 7 min, digitalized 16 mm film, color, silent
Sound: private sound recording performance in Menu spaustuve, Vilnius, February 4, 2012. Henry Purcell Music for a while, performed by Viktoras Gerasimovas. Recording released in vinyl format.
Reflection Wood Chronicles tells about a Modernist open-air sculpture museum established in Lithuania. Yet, the chosen form of narration – a short story of moving images captured on a 16 mm film – helps to avoid direct references to the quite successfully operating museum, but directs our view to the sculptures and installations arranged in natural surroundings. Strongly affected by the changing outdoor conditions and invasive vibrant nature, part of the works are becoming more reminiscent of nature’s creations than man-made artefacts. In the film, the park becomes a fictitious landscape for a scene of a relaxed walk with a dog in a forest. Multiple reflections rising from sculptures and water reservoirs in the park create a shimmering view, which keeps us from distinguishing reality from a post-apocalyptic film chronicle.
Last Time We Walked on a Frozen River
2013, 1 min, digitalized 16 mm film, bread crumbs, seagulls, Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York
Photo-documentation of Haacke’s Live Airborne System, planned 1965, executed 1968, captures the artist’s intervention in an ecological system, throwing crumbs to seagulls off a pier in Coney Island, Brooklyn. In 2013, this gesture of intervention acquires almost extreme urgency. When “futuristic” speculations about changes finally becomes official governmental policy, the artistic interaction is no longer about creating sculptural objects, but about demonstrating interconnectedness of all agents in large-scale systems. It is not a mere reiteration of the artist’s gesture: in the loop of 16 mm film, one is suspended in the ambiguity of the scene – is the gathering of seagulls caused by human intervention, or is it taking place already without any human presence?
A Paradise Tree
by Ugnius Gelguda, 2011, 6 min 41 sec, HD video, color, sound
Video work A Paradise Tree documents the rise of a new neighborhood of artists in Vilnius, Lithuania, which is often artificially compared to the New York’s SoHo. The story is ‘told’ through a hypertext link with the less known video work A Walk by Jonas Mekas created in 1990. During this one hour walk across the rainy SoHo neighborhood, Mekas gives an intimate and chaotic recital of neighborhood creation, tells about the first tree planted in the then industrial area by himself and his colleague Machiunas, and notes the transformation of SoHo streets and their inhabitants.
The video work revisits a community sustained by the relationship of an urban space and a uniting idea, and the inevitable change of this relationship under the influence of time and strong commercial mechanisms. The video camera slowly follows the shapes of lofts that are being set up on Sevcenkos Street as well as the carcass of a former factory which still exists but has already changed its function, combining the views of rough and dull buildings with the hopes of future settlers and thus transplanting real spaces into a fictional or potential story.
Still from “Reflection Wood Chronicles” (2012, Ugnius Gelguda & Neringa Cerniauskaite) © courtesy of the artists
Ugnius Gelguda and Neringa Cerniauskaite have collaborated since 2009. Their body of work includes 16mm films, photo slides, objects, performance, and sound. Since their first project, the artists have followed the social life of objects, how they participate in human history and activities, and how objects relate and perform for one another. Geiguda’s and Cerniauskaite’s latest solo shows include Wolfgang, is that you? at Gallery VARTAI, Vilnius (2013), Now More Than Ever, Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), Vilnius (2012), and the group exhibition Space Travelers, ar/ge Kunst Gallery Museum, Bolzano, Italy (2013).
As a solo artist Ugnius Gelguda’s (born 1977, Lithuania) photography and time-based media art projects have been presented at MUMOK (Vienna), Salamanca Contemporary Art Centre (Spain), Zacheta National Gallery of Art (Warsaw), and Prague biennale 3 (Prague) among others. Solo shows include ARCO (Madrid), Art Cologne, Contemporary Art Centre together with Neringa Cerniauskaite (Vilnius), Gallery VARTAI (Vilnius), and Lithuanian Art Museum. His films have previously screened at Les Rencontres Internationales (Centre Pompidou (Paris), Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin, and Cineteca Matadero, Madrid). He has received Licentiate of Arts degree in Vilnius Art Academy, Department of Photo and Media Art. He is represented by Gallery VARTAI ,Vilnius.
Neringa Cerniauskaite (born 1984, Lithuania) is an art critic, curator, editor. She has curated several exhibitions of younger generation artists as well as international group exhibitions at the largest contemporary art gallery in Vilnius Vartai as well as in unconventional spaces in Vilnius. She contributes texts for Lithuanian cultural press, exhibitions’ catalogues and international magazines (Flash Art, Parkett, ARTMargins.com, MAP). She is an editor of the web-based art magazine www.artnews.lt that was launched in 2008. She is a M.A. candidate, 2014, at Bard College Center for Curatorial Studies, NY
Both artists are based in Vilnius, Lithuania and Brooklyn, New York.
© Image courtesy of the artists