Paraphrases, Latvia, Curator: Māris Vītols


9 December 2015 – 10 January 2016

Curator: Māris Vītols (Latvia)

Participating artists: Blue Noses Group (Alexander Shaburov and Vyacheslav Mizin, Russia), Mario Chromy (Slovakia), Didier Fiusa Faustino (France), Beatrice Gibson (UK), Dmitry Gutov (Russia), Patricija Jurkšaitytė (Lithuania), Frančeska Kirke (Latvia), Cristina Lucas (Spain), Mathieu Mercier (France), Maarit Murka (Estonia), Pavel Pepperstein (Russia), Ievgen Petrov (Ukraine), Miervaldis Polis (Latvia), Marija Teresė Rožanskaitė (Lithuania), Pavla Scerankova (Slovakia), Markus Schinwald (Austria), Elaine Sturtevant (USA), Lilli Thießen (Austria), Audrius Puipa & Gintautas Trimakas (Lithuania)

From 9 December 2015 through 10 January 2016 Galerija Vartai (Vilnius) will present an extensive international exhibition of contemporary art titled Paraphrases offering an opportunity for art enthusiasts to get acquainted with important artworks from private and public collections based in Austria, Bulgaria, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Russia, and Slovakia.

According to the concept, the exhibition is dedicated to appropriation art and presents as an exciting journey through the world’s art history, the finest examples of which offer a bountiful source of inspiration for today’s artists. Exactly 50 years ago the influential American artist Elaine Sturtevant surprised the world by remaking well-known works by famous male artists. Her first solo show in 1965 included ‘copies’ of Warhol’s ‘Flowers’, a Johns ‘Flag’ and Stella’s concentric paintings. Sturtevant spent her long career (she died in May 2014) taking artworks of other artists and making them her own – some critics cheered her bold individuality but others decried her as little more than a plagiarist. ‘Same is a copy but it’s not the same,’ she said, fiercely defending her method, which delves into wide-ranging questions of authorship, gender and originality. Sturtevant, with her artwork ‘The Revolution is Us’ included in the exhibition, was sometimes called ‘the mother of appropriation art’, but she disdained the term, preferring to call her working method ‘repetition’. Repetition is represented in any form of creative activity: plagiarism, quotations, parody, the play of intertextuality can be found in different artistic traditions. However, it is the art commonly referred to as post-modern, which makes the most obvious use of the artistic legacy of previous eras, using it as ‘building material’ for creativity, with appropriation as the method that is applied most frequently.

Integration of references from art history into new artworks often also presumes evaluation of elements of past culture, frequently with a touch of irony.
One of the concepts used by the Italian writer and philosopher Umberto Eco to describe post-modern culture is an intertextual encyclopaedia: a text that incorporates references from other texts; their recognition expands understanding of the text. In this exhibition the viewers should be aware beforehand that knowledge of appropriated works of art is a necessary prerequisite for perception of new ones. Essentially, it is an invitation for everyone to play with their own encyclopaedic expertise. One should find the explicit and recognisable references that flirt with intertextuality. Thus art plays with its own history. Furthermore, the network of multi-layered references creates a sort of post-modern labyrinth. It has neither a centre nor a periphery; it also does not have an exit, thus becoming potentially infinite. Relying on each traveller’s erudition, attentiveness, even on their patience – the labyrinth outlines changes. No guide is needed when navigating through this journey. There is a risk that an art enthusiast equipped with a guidebook – comments on the artworks on view – might be transformed into a bored tourist. No comments provided.
Māris Vītols

The exhibition is organised in collaboration with the Association Latvia Cultural Projects.

Special thanks for the loans:
ABLV Bank collection for the Contemporary Art Museum (Latvia)
Lewben Art Foundation (Lithuania)
Modern Art Center (Lithuania)
Mūkusla Art Salon collection (Latvia)
Collection Vilma Dagilienė (Lithuania)
Collection Milan Dobnak (Slovakia)
Collection António Gomes de Pinho (Portugal)
Collection Colette and Michel Poitevin (France)
Collection Puipa Family (Lithuania)
Collection Slava Nakovska and Nedko Solakov (Bulgaria)
Regina Gallery (Russia)
Collection Rolandas Valiūnas (Lithuania)
Collection Irina and Māris Vītols (Latvia)
Collection Erwin Wurm (Austria)