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Natalia Januła: The Picnic

On 11 July, Natalia Januła’s exhibition opens at apiece, a showcase-style gallery strategically focused on autonomous artistic expression.

“Come closer”, she said to the snake. Tongue flicking and hissing “ss-sss-ss”, the snake moved towards the slick and scaly Goddess. Their picnic was formed of turbulent material, so the snake picked a path with care, navigating that which had been gathering in a time before time. Her utterance might have been lost between one epoch and another, but feeling beyond words, the snake registered an imminent potential resonating within the Goddess’ command. The eternal void was slippery with change, and there was so much motion in it; seas of chaos laughed, glittering as the formless waters churned. Amidst this hung an egg, still and perfect. The Goddess, a fish of great wisdom, watched as the final guest slithered to join them. She wondered if she had welcomed the one who could sustain the patient embrace required to release the multitudes focused inside her egg, but that is quite another story. “To health, to life, now let us begin”.

  • Hannah Blows

The Picnic is exploring the potential and the paradox of a hyper-capitalist, globally connected reality. Bodies, nature, food, gender and labor are employed in an industry where even invisible and abstract forces, such as love, can materialize into a definitive economy of objects, consumerism, units and value. The work references culinary, anatomical and bric-a-brac assemblages via a nostalgic and satirical version of a “cabinet of curiosities” and edible products, for which the apiece gallery becomes a showcase.

Like goods in shop windows, the works of art displayed in galleries, especially in this one, are not themselves. In general, there is no such thing as a thing in itself. They signify the relationship among the present, future, desires, references, parallels, the ability to form memories and rituals, as well as the possibility of exploring the exchange between the object and the subject. Similarly, the egg, including its ability to nourish and give birth to new life, is a motif found in the mythology of many cultures and civilizations (the Cosmic Egg or the Earth Egg). Or else, the tongues and the fish, these silicone and 3d printed references to anatomical parts and animals, as well as the floating miniature table, express a humorous approach to Eastern European culinary delicacies.

Januła’s artwork focuses on socio-cultural rituals and practices, aesthetic-commercial methods of arousing desire and the “force of materiality”. Compulsive and habitual consumption is our cultural responsibility and duty, an indicator of our place in the social hierarchy. While Professors of Design Dunne and Raby argue that “by speculating more, at all levels of society, and exploring alternative scenarios, reality will become more malleable and, although the future cannot be predicted, we can help set in place today factors that will increase the probability of more desirable futures happening”.

Natalia Januła is a Polish-born artist currently based in London. She received her MA from Slade School of Art in 2016. In her current artistic research she looks into bodily fragility and the ambiguous and obscure connection between domesticity and technology, futurism and decay. Her practice employs a range of technologies and methods, including video, installation, CGI, performance, sculpture, kinetics and sound.

Crossing the boundaries of the intimate and alien, her work can be at once comforting and unnerving, desirable yet repulsive. A perturbing humor twists and winds pervasively throughout. Januła often works collaboratively in an effort to build a reciprocal ecosystem with individuals from various disciplines and backgrounds.

Januła has exhibited in the UK, USA, Canada and Europe including two solo exhibitions at New Art Projects (London) and Union Gallery; her group shows include the Horse Hospital, Final Hot Desert, Collective Ending, Iklectic, TBA Academy, Gossamer Fog, Embassy, Subsidiary Projects, Xxjira Hii, New Art Projects, the Factory Project and Conditions, amongst others. She has also participated in residencies at Jupiter Woods, Camden Art Centre, Biquini Wax and Arts Territory.

Exhibition curators: Milena Černiakaitė and Aušra Trakšelytė

Communication: Menų komunikacija

Graphic design: Marek Voida

The exhibition is partly funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture and Vilnius City Municipality.

The exhibition is open 24/7, until 1st of September 2024

Vladas Urbanavičius: Dvispalvis

On 15 May, exhibition of Vladas Urbanavičius, laureate of the Lithuanian National Prize for Culture and Arts, opens at “apiece”, a showcase-style gallery strategically focused on autonomous artistic expression.

The sculptor had a bunch of proposals for the showcase-type space, so it was quite a challenge to focus on “just one thing” that the object should be or do. The sculptor also said that the gallery itself presented a challenge, since it is neither a standard enclosed space, nor a public space in its usual sense. Moreover, one side of the gallery is oriented towards M. K. Čiurlionis Street (a more urban space), while the other side faces nature (S. Kymantaitė-Čiurlionienė Square). In the ambiguity of this “closed vs. open”, “culture vs. nature” space, Urbanavičius’ “Bicoloured” is wedged into the gallery space that is itself framed by its windows. The work remains monumental without being dominant, and retains the characteristic features of the sculptor’s work: attention to material and a subtle sense of form and of exhibition space.

Sculptor Vladas Urbanavičius was born in 1951. He graduated from the State Art Institute (now Vilnius Academy of Arts) in 1977. Since 1976 he has been participating in exhibitions, and since 1978 in sculpture plein air exhibitions both in Lithuania and abroad. Urbanavičius’ sculptures are of unambiguous constructions, generalized monumental volumes and reductionist shapes. The author’s works have been acquired by private collections as well as Lithuanian National Art Museum, National M. K. Čiurlionis Art Museum, and the MO Museum in Vilnius.

Exhibition curators: Milena Černiakaitė and Aušra Trakšelytė

Communication: Menų Komunikacija

Graphic design: Marek Voida

Exhibition partly funded by Lithuanian Council for Culture and Vilnius City Municipality

Exhibition open 24/7

Līga Spunde: SURPRISE, SURPRISE

On 14 March, Līga Spunde’s exhibition opens at apiece, a showcase-style gallery strategically focused on autonomous artistic expression.

SURPRISE, SURPRISE is the title of the first solo exhibition of Līga Spunde in Vilnius, Lithuania curated by Romuald Demidenko at the apiece gallery. An installation by the Riga-based artist shaped as a gift, treated as a souvenir from a neighbour, or a seemingly selfless gesture from a friend.

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“You brought us gifts,” Michelle Obama said to Melania Trump on January 20, 2017, during the presidential inauguration ceremony at the White House. However, the contents of a gift-wrapped box were not publicly disclosed, and neither Melania Trump nor Michelle Obama shared what was inside. What we saw was merely a bluish box and the exact details of the offering remained disclosed. According to the noteworthy century-old essay The Gift by sociologist and anthropologist Marcel Mauss, there are no free presents, and almost everything should be reciprocated. With this in mind, in what way Michelle was expected to respond? Or was the offering she received already an ineffable expression of gratitude?

There were rumours and speculation that the incoming First Lady’s wrapped box was a frame. An empty frame, implying a box within a box? Līga and I pondered this during an exhibition opening in a private apartment in Amsterdam where she had contributed her cuboid-shaped plaster sculpture that was covered in bluish paint to look as eye-catching as a package that all the media ran through (1). We have become accustomed to the idea of giving something to others for special occasions but clearly, not all gifts are desirable, just as the viral video of Michelle’s embarrassed expression captured so well.

Līga Spunde’s exploration of the mysterious, unexpected, and probably unwanted gift involved creating a replica of the bluish box, titled You Brought Us Gifts. This sculpture was transported from her former residence in Brussels in March 2017, precisely seven years before the exhibition at apiece gallery in Vilnius. The artist, who currently resides in Riga, is also referencing her 2018 performative exhibition, Free French Fries, at Komplot in Brussels (2). Visitors to the event could taste Belgian (French) fries made from Latvian potatoes. The artist brought them from her homeland in a backpack crafted from red, yellow, and blue mesh potato bags. “(…) hideously appetising, shredded, sliced in the shape of stakes. Ideally aureate and crispy longitudinal potato pieces straight from non-polluted Latvia,” as the dish was advertised in the press release.

Through her installation showcased at apiece gallery, Līga Spunde proposes confusion rather than generosity, most likely expressing a gesture of mockery rather than addressing something specific. By partially concealing the glass walls of apiece gallery and wrapping it up almost entirely with a self-adhesive matter, the space becomes an anti-expositor. An object that is visible, yet remains hidden, reminiscent not only of public art traditions but also, perhaps unexpectedly, of neoliberal forms of advertising that can be both received as art and also confused with it. To comprehend the artist’s intention, she invites all interpretations and encourages us to consider varied notions of an (unsolicited) gift and its hidden meanings, bringing up forgotten covenants and convictions, and eventually leaving questions unanswered.

Does Līga Spunde deliberately address the potential of the unknown conceived on the eve of the United States election, coated in the midst of anti-democratic trends seen globally? For her Vilnius exhibition, she somewhat refrains from using graphic works that have become her signature in recent years. In her cartoonish work and open-ended compositions, Līga often depicts figures or deformed anthropomorphic and animal-like creatures, fairy-tale protagonists whose representations blend with those of non-human entities, drones and other devices known from our digital-realist surroundings. This amalgamation evokes a blend of fears and fantasies derived from the immediate reality we inhabit. “What is within?”—we’ll ask. “And how will it manifest to our eyes?”

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Līga Spunde (1990, Riga) graduated in 2016 from the Department of Visual Communication of the Latvian Art Academy. Her works are multimedia installations, where personal stories are closely intertwined with carefully constructed fiction. The interpretations and use of recognisable characters serve as an extension of her personal experiences, tapping into general truths. Usually, the content of the work determines the physical form of the conception, so a variety of media and materials are used in the installations. Līga Spunde has participated in various exhibitions and art projects in Latvia and internationally such as Latvian Center for Contemporary Art, Kim? Contemporary Art Center, Latvian National Museum of Art, La Casa Encendida, National Gallery in Prague.

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Romuald Demidenko is a curator and art historian based in Warsaw.

Endnotes

(1) Meet Me at The Metro Station, Amsterdam, GUEST ROOMS, March 4–10, 2017, with work by Ghislain Amar, Simon Asencio, Francisco Camacho, Nicholas Grafia, Hrafnhildur Helgadóttir, Anna Maria Łuczak, Gregor Różański, Līga Spunde, Susan Pietzsch & Miho Shimizu, Beata Wilczek, Annemarie van den Berg, and contributions from Helena Aðalsteinsdóttir, Ásgerður Birna Björnsdóttir, Emma Panza & Johan Romme, convened by Romuald Demidenko, http://guestrooms.xyz/prologue/, accessed February 2024.

(2) Līga Spunde, Free French Fries in Komplot, Brussels, June 30–July 1, 2017, introduction by Romuald Demidenko, https://www.kmplt.be/project_id_158, accessed February 2024.

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Acknowledgments: Milena Černiakaitė, Aušra Trakšelytė, Samantha Lesley Lippett, Patryk Walaszkowski

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Exhibition curator & text author: Romuald Demidenko

Exhibition coordinator: apiece

Communication: Menų komunikacija

Graphic design: Marek Voida

Photographer: Vytautas Narkevičius

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Exhibition is funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture, State Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia, Nordic Culture Point & Vilnius municipality.

Exhibition open until 5 May 2024

Exhibition is open 24/7.

More about apiece: www.apiece.lt

Moa Gustafsson Söndergraard: Moving through

On 31 January, Moa Gustafsson Söndergraard’sexhibition opens at apiece, a showcase-style gallery strategically focused on autonomous artistic expression.

The work Moving through is a research of movement and the physical aspect of walking

using geological and anthropological perspectives. The artist asks: what does it mean to be a human today as we physically move through the world? What paths are created and what questions arise as we explore our surroundings? What is our relationship with the outside world when we are spending ever more time in the virtual one?

The first version of Moving through was created during a three-month residency in Berlin (2023). This paper sculpture is based on thinking about the difference between moving in the cityscape in comparison to nature. The work reflects on how our body is changing the environment we are moving through by the traces we leave behind, but also how we ourselves are changed physically by the places we encounter. According to the artist, “since then I have been reading and writing and seeking more experience of being a moving vessel in the 21st century.”

The exhibition venue becomes an extension of the work itself: placed in apiece, thework Moving through creates a new dialog with the gallery space. Taking into account the shape of the space, the artist has created a rectangular sculpture in which cotton ropes are threaded through the sculpture and attached diagonally to the walls of the gallery, so that the sculpture floats within it.

Moa Gustafsson Söndergaard’s (1991) work is situated around materials and places we surround ourselves with. She is interested in the memories these places and objects carry with them and how they shape both us and our society. Her practice is based on the method of field research. She collects materials, images and objects from different places and uses them as starting points for her work.

Materials that reoccur in her work are clay, hemp thread and paper. She is drawn to materials that have a sense of resistance and are easily altered or cast into a shape, as well as to materials that are connected to nature in some way or carry a narrative of their own.

More about artist: www.moagustafssonsondergaard.se

Exhibition curators: Milena Černiakaitė and Aušra Trakšelytė

Communication: Menų komunikacija

Graphic design: Marek Voida

Exhibition is partly funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture and Nordic Culture Point.

Exhibition open until 11 March 2024

Exhibition is open 24/7

Aistė Ambrazevičiūtė & Delphine Lejeune: a breath, the crumbling of fallen leaves

On 2 December, Aistė Ambrazevičiūtė and Delphine Lejeune’s exhibition opens at apiece, a showcase gallery strategically focused on autonomous artistic expression.

On the surface, microorganisms are destructive creatures. Through metabolizing matter, they shape-shift the appearance of substance by either dealing with or causing its dying. Patterns of behaviour emerge when organisms and microorganisms form a bond, resulting in a symphony of moulding. Changing the perspective by looking at the act of digestion through a microscopic lens places this process in a different light: an ornament is a lively death.

Aistė Ambrazevičiūtė and Delphine Lejeune’s exhibition a breath, the crumbling of fallen leaves introduces us to the visually alluring world of plant pathology. Their work sets itself in the environment it arrives from: standing underneath the little grove that surrounds apiece gallery, we look inside and see a material translation that originated in the collection of fallen leaves.

The microscopic imagery of those leaves demonstrates viral, bacterial and fungal infections and is rendered through 3D-printed objects.

The artists show us a process of metamorphosis from image to object, from word to form, from meaning to interpretation – a tender but strong fabric on which the vastly enlarged diseases cling, as if they were clutching the alveoli in our lungs. 

The exhibition has us look at disease with a hint of fear, as the human eye’s incapability to see a virus or a bacterium, but seeing rot, death, decay. The brown crumbling of a fallen leaf reflects on our own mortality. What we look at is uncannily beautiful, not morbid, but very much alive and opposed to the self-consciousness of finitude. In fact, there is so much life that comes after life, it should solace us to think that death is soil and thus the possibility to live on. 

It is not only the translation of visual, tangible and spoken languages that play a role. The game of scale adds a fourth vernacular to the mix: lost time. 

Exhibition curators: Milena Černiakaitė and Aušra Trakšelytė

Communication: Menų komunikacija

Graphic design: Marek Voida

Photographer: Vytautas Narkevičius

Light design: Justas Bø

Editing and translation: Alexandra Bondarev

The exhibition is partly funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture.

The exhibition is open 24/7.

More about apiece: www.apiece.lt

Donatas Jankauskas – Duonis: DUNGASKRUODIS

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On 18 October, Donatas Jankauskas-Duonis’ exhibition opens at “apiece”, a showcase-style gallery strategically focused on autonomous artistic expression. Here, Duonis presents a new piece that encompasses the gallery in its entirety.

The work has been inspired by a caricature, and the artist made a model of the exhibition out of a small aquarium and kept it on his windowsill next to his working desk. Previously, in an interview with Agne Narušytė, the artist said: “I’d love (…) to turn the “apiece” gallery in Vilnius, at the beginning of Čiurlionis Street, into a skyscraper. I once saw a caricature made of two drawings and laughed a lot. One of the drawings showed King Kong hugging the top of a skyscraper in New York, while the other one had a big office in this skyscraper, there was a shareholders’ meeting going on and through the window they could see this: King Kong’s genitals stuck to the window. Ha-ha-ha (…)”.

The exhibition DUNGASKROODIS fuses romantic capitalism and Čiurlionian visions: the light source installed at the top of the sky-splitting spire refers to the plot of M. K. Čiurlionis’ painting “Truth” (1905 (1906?)), while “The Altar” (1909) is embodied in a more contemporary architecture. The artist usually uses polyurethane materials to create his works, and this is no exception. Coincidentally (or not), the outer walls of the gallery are also coated with polyurethane, so that the work organically extends the gallery’s spaces and mercilessly alters its dimensions.

With this work, Duonis adds to his list of works in public spaces (Sapiegos Park, Paupys district, the CAC courtyard, among others) and claims to be an artist/public activist. Presented in the form of an exhibition at the “apiece” gallery, the work, with its Duonis-like character and peculiar title, is, by common accord, a joke in earnest.

Donatas Jankauskas-Duonis was born in 1968 in Seda. In 1994 he graduated in sculpture from the Vilnius Academy of Arts. Since 1990 he has been actively participating in exhibitions in Lithuania and abroad. Duonis creates sculptures, sculptural objects, video art, installations, costumes and sets for theatre, and organizes artistic actions. His works have been acquired by the Lithuanian National Museum of Art and the MO Museum in Vilnius.

Exhibition curators: Milena Černiakaitė and Aušra Trakšelytė

Communication: Menų Komunikacija

Graphic design : Marek Voida

Exhibition partly funded by Vilnius City Municipality

Exhibition open until 30 November 2023

Exhibition open 24/7

One–night performance of THE HEALING SESSIONS pt 2

There once lived a red-headed man who had no eyes or ears.

He also had no hair, so he was only in a manner of speaking called red-haired.

He couldn’t speak, since he had no mouth. He had no nose either.

He didn’t even have arms or legs. And he had no stomach, and he had no back, and he had no spine, and he had no innards at all. He had nothing at all! 

So there’s no knowing who we are talking about.

We’d better not talk about him any more. 

                                                                         / Blue Notebook, No.10 by Daniil Kharms

apiece is thrilled to host and welcome you to a one-night performance of THE HEALING SESSIONS pt 2 taking place on Saturday, October 14th, from 5:30pm at apiece, M. K. Čiurlionio square, Vilnius.

Through a symbiosis of technology and contemporary performance, THE HEALING SESSIONS creates a meditative sensation—mental and tactile— available to any passerby. Aiming to investigate the role of VR beyond the technological realm, the performance merges the virtual and the physical, the private and the public, building a circular unity of Observer and Participant, inviting to see and be seen. 

Exploring the intersections of perception within the context of ritual, THE HEALING SESSIONS bridges realities aiming to reunite with our physical sensations.

Performance by Žanete Skarule (LV) in synergy with Jette Loona Hermanis (EE), Viktoria Martjanova (EE), Anna Ansone (LV) and Evita Bhandari (LV)

Created with a support of VVFoundation and PAiR ResidencyPhoto by Pēteris Vīksna from The Healing Sessions at Alma gallery. 

apiece suggests: Dress up warmly!

Driton Selmani: Prrallë

Driton Selmani’s single artwork exhibition Prrallë

On September 16, Driton Selmani, an artist from Kosovo, opens an exhibition at “apiece”, a showcase-style gallery whose strategy focuses on autonomic artistic expression. It is the first time this interdisciplinary artist will be presenting their work in Lithuania.

Selmani’s artistic practice uses a variety of media and means of expression, but text (the power of words) plays a particularly significant role. Through short maxims, the artist seeks to reveal not only new meanings but also new uncertainties. His textual works are witty and cover a wide range of topics, including politics, ecology, art, and philosophy.

Born and raised in the capital of Kosovo, the artist was inculcated from a young age the idea of worshipping a country that no longer exists, which led him to be sarcastic about any perceived truth and/or reality.

The title of the work presented in the gallery “apiece” is the Albanian word Prrallë, meaning fairy tale. As the sentence “You will become a song” gracefully revolves on its axis, it transforms into a totem of profound spiritual essence, infused with the captivating power of words and their rhythmic passage through time. The phrase becomes a mantra that does not, however, determine whether the transformation of our story into a song/fairytale is fate or inevitability. Contextually, the work also encodes the period of Lithuania’s Restoration of Independence and the so-called “singing revolution” marked by numerous demonstrations, rallies, and “Marches of Rock” in the country. For the Baltic States, the song became the main expression of peaceful revolution.

Song, like fairytales, is an essential part of cultural heritage and includes both preservation of unique traditions and the presentation of symbolism that resonates with human emotions and experiences. The oral aspect of performing songs or telling stories strengthens bonds and emphasizes the importance of preserving cultural narratives across generations. According to the artist, the work focuses on the idea of linking the inner perception of personal trajectories with the residues of modern society, at this critical point in human history. While re-contextualizing both the words and the meanings they have in different cultures, Selmani’s work sparks conversations about the complexities of contemporary life and the role of visual culture in shaping our perceptions and beliefs.

Driton Selmani graduated from Arts University Bournemouth (MA) in the UK.

He has exhibited at solo and group exhibitions at MAXXI Museum (Rome), Kunsthaus (Graz), MMSU  Rijeka’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Croatia), Ludwig Múzeum ( Budapest), Stacion Center For Contemporary Art in ( Pristina), Kunstraum Niederosterreich (Vienna), Casa Contemporanea (São Paulo), Mediterranea Biennial 16 (Ancona, Italy), U10 (Belgrade), 5th Marrakesh Biennial, Amsterdam Light Festival,  Fabbrica del Vapore (Milan, Italy), Bregenz Biennale 2018, Exchiesetta (Polignano a Mare, Italy), National Art Gallery (Tirana), La Maison des Arts (Brussels), Škuc Gallery (Ljubljana), MoCA Museum of Contemporary Art (Skopje), Kahan Art Space (Vienna & Budapest), and others. In 2022, his artwork Love Letters that has been ongoing since 2018 was presented at the MANIFESTA’16 biennial distinguished for its nomadic character and a focus on the dialogue between contemporary art and society.

Exhibition curators: Milena Černiakaitė and Aušra Trakšelytė

Communication: Menų Komunikacija

Design: Marek Voida

Exhibition funded by Lithuanian Council for Culture, Vilnius City Municipality

Exhibition open from September 16 to October 13 2023

Exhibition can be viewed 24/7

More about the artist: dritonselmani.com

Adomas Žudys: Nerves of non-time

On 5 August 2023, showcase gallery apiece, whose strategy centers around autonomous expression of artwork, opens an exhibition by Adomas Žudys. The artist abandons the traditional understanding of the exhibition space and splits it into two parts, an internal and an external one: these can also be said to be mutually navigable spatial and temporal systems. One part of the “system” consists of an oak root installed next to the gallery, which the artist himself dug up in his native Šiauliai region. It is a mass of roots from a tree that was struck by lightning several hundred years ago.

The viewers might associate these roots with currently much debated and outraged topic of cutting down healthy trees in cities. In addition to this issue, which unites people and brings them together into protest groups, the work also encodes another aspect, that of “returning to one’s roots”. However, rather than biological interactions, the artist himself is more interested in the contemporary environment constructed by our thinking and digital applications. Žudys does not question the biological, but rather the digital “systems of knowledge”.

According to the artist, it is “an attempt to understand a complicated world that is becoming incomprehensible, and to create a navigable knowledge system based on mythological, cybernetic, natural, as well as artificial artifacts. And since cybernetics and computers are an extension of the human nervous system, the root also functions as a “Sculpture of the Internet”.

At the gallery apiece, the artist presents a root fragment levitating in space, covered in gold dust, with a black box laid on the floor. The principle of displaying objects becomes the first step of alchemical work, as one gradually discovers the processes of negativity, decay, rotting and loss. This is linked to the attempt at representing that which resists representation, but it also enables creating arches of institutional value that unite the internal and external parts of the exhibition.

The title of the exhibition, which, according to Žudys, sounds ambiguous and somewhat comical, is an allusion to sculptor Philip Pavia’s essay Excavations in non-history (1959), which explores the interactions between nature, art and consciousness. The text prompted the artist to “dig into non-correct areas” thus creating an image of a “wooden” Internet: an extension of our nervous system. The connections of non-time in the exhibition can mean both a new eruption of an underground root as well as mental fatigue or the nervous burnout syndrome that we experience in an environment permeated with digitality and which leads to us (un)consciously trying to return to our “roots”.

Adomas Žudys (b. 1988) is an artist working at the intersection of digital and analogue media. In 2021 he graduated from Vilnius Academy of Arts with an MA in Photography and Media Studies, and actively participates in exhibitions and events dedicated to interdisciplinary art in Lithuania and abroad.

In 2017, the author was granted the status of art creator by the Republic of Lithuania.

Exhibition curators: Milena Černiakaitė and Aušra Trakšelytė

Exhibition communication: Menų Komunikacija

Graphic design: Marek Voida

Exhibition funded by Lithuanian Council for Culture

Exhibition open until September 13 2023

Exhibition can be viewed 24/7

More about the artist: www.zudys.lt

GALLERIES EXCHANGE PROGRAMME: Astrid Hjortdal and Maria Toll: The Observer (Portal to Everyday Life)

On July 2, Astrid Hjortdal and Maria Toll’s exhibition opens at “apiece”—a showcase-style gallery strategically focusing on autonomic artistic expression.

The exhibition is the second part of an exchange programme between galleries in different countries, initiated by apiece. The first result of such exchanges is the exhibition “Soap between fingers” by young Lithuanian artist Eglė Pilkauskaitė at “Galleri Toll” Stockholm.

We live side by side, but not together. Me, on the outer edges, either above or on the ground. At foot level, I get kicked at, but also fed. Or on top, on your windowsill or on a bronze sculpture. Looking out over all the landmass that has, over time, been replaced by construction works and facades. A glance through the letterbox or watching the neighbour on the balcony on the other side of the backyard. It is an ecosystem that is self-contained. I sit here, contemplating life and existence, bobbing my head back and forth to sharpen my vision, being let in and out through sliding doors at the train station. In and out of the café. I walk around eating cereal and leftover croissants. I look through all the windows as I fly by and think: I wish I was the one living there. Side by side with other strangers. Neighbours separated by layers of insulation, plaster walls and wood. We get close, but not too close. It’s important to know your boundaries.

Astrid Hjortdal and Maria Toll met in 2016, when they were studying fine art at Bergen Art Academy. They share the same interest in tactility and in creating narratives through sculpture and installation. Their work originates from daily discussions and thoughts about everyday life and the absurdity of living on this planet. Previous exhibitions of theirs as a duo include shows at Galerie Feiertag (Kassel, Germany) in 2022 and Afloat Contemporary (Bergen, Norway) in 2023.

Astrid Hjortdal (b. 1994, Denmark) lives and works in Oslo. Her individual work revolves around themes of narrative, perspective and scale, and using sculpture and texts to mix animals, humans and objects. She has also published a book entitled the function of the body is to carry your life.

Maria Toll (b. 1990, Sweden) lives and works in Stockholm. In her individual sculptural practice, she works with time and nostalgia and seeks to evoke individual remembrances connected to public spaces and food. She also runs the art vitrine “Galleri Toll” located in the Stockholm metro.

Exhibition curators: Milena Černiakaitė and Aušra Trakšelytė

Communication: Menų komunikacija

Graphic design: Marek Voida

The exhibition is funded by the Vilnius City Municipality and the Lithuanian Council for Culture, Office for Contemporary Art Norway.

The exhibition will be open until 5 August, 2023

and can be viewed 24/7

More about the artists:

astrid-hjortdal.com

mariatoll.com