Lithuanian Videospritz: in Trieste the appointment with the protagonists of Lithuanian video art

In late November, the second edition of "Lithuanian Videospritz," curated by Daniele Capra, arrives in Trieste: video screenings of Lithuanian video art protagonists, starting with Jonas Mekas, pioneer of Fluxus.

Trieste Contemporanea presents the second edition of Lithuanian Videospritz. The project, curated by Daniele Capra, consists of two consecutive weekends in which screenings and conversations will alternate: together with scholars who have analyzed their work, an international art historian from the Baltic country Jonas Mekas (Nov. 18-20) and some of the most significant voices of contemporary video art artists (Nov. 25-27) will be the protagonists of the event. Lithuanian Videospritz is being realized under the auspices and support of the Embassy of the Republic of Lithuania in Italy and the Lithuanian Culture Institute, in partnership with the Lithuanian Interdisciplinary Artists’ Association in Vilnius, with the support of the Lithuanian Council for Culture and the Lithuanian Film Centre of the Ministry of Culture, as well as locally with the collaboration of L’Officina Association and Studio Tommaseo.

The first weekend, Homage to Jonas Mekas, is entirely dedicated to the great writer, poet, artist, filmmaker and co-founder of the Anthology Film Archives, among the most important members of Fluxus, whose 100th birth anniversary falls this year. The Trieste event (which follows the tradition of video art to be enjoyed at aperitif time) participates in the Jonas Mekas 100! initiative, a rich program of events coordinated around the world in 2022 by the Lithuanian Culture Institute to celebrate precisely the centenary of one of the Baltic country’s most important cultural figures in the 20th and 21st centuries, and a global cultural phenomenon in his own right, considered by many to be the father of avant-garde cinema. On Friday, Nov. 18 and Sunday, Nov. 20, from 4 to 8 p.m., thanks to the collaboration of the Lithuanian Film Centre, it will be possible to see the documentary film As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty, a long experimental film in which Mekas condenses a lifetime’s worth of moving images into an uninterrupted stream.

On Saturday, Nov. 19 at 6:30 p.m. Giulia Simi (Livorno, 1979) will dialogue with the curator about the Lithuanian artist’s body of work starting with Jonas Mekas: cinema and life. This is the first Italian monograph on the artist that Simi fired to the presses for Edizioni ETS just in 2022 and in which the scholar, a researcher and lecturer at the University of Sassari, covers the entire span of Mekas’ multifaceted life and work, in which artistic practice is intertwined with critical and curatorial practice: from the diffusion of New American Cinema to the foundation of the Anthology Film Archives.

Jonas Mekas (Semenišk?s, 1922 - New York 2019) was a legend of experimental and avant-garde cinema and the first cantor of the family film as an art form, he devoted his life to the moving image: from film to video, from installations to the web. Film was for him (a Lithuanian prisoner in a Nazi labor camp and emigrated to New York at the end of the war) the thread with which to stitch the wound with reality, transforming the pain of the loss of his homeland into a space for acceptance and celebration of life. His Diary Film, born out of necessity and “desperation,” transforms the cinema of the minute happenings of the everyday into a revolution of the gaze and a political act. Giulia Simi’s publication traces the entire span of the author’s life and multifaceted oeuvre.

The second weekend, An Aperitif with Artists, will be devoted to discovering the work of Patricija Gilyt?, Egl? Gr?bliauskait? and Vitalij Strigunkov. On Friday, November 25, at 6:30 p.m., the three artists will engage in a dialogue with Daniele Capra with respect to their practice, recounting the ways in which they conduct their investigation, the casual interactions between life and work, and also the political implications of their analysis. The dialogue will be held in English. On Saturday, Nov. 26 and Sunday, Nov. 27 from 4 to 8 p.m., the space will host a screening of selected works by the artists.

The research of Patricija Gilyt? (Kaunas, 1972) originates from a keen interest in the three-dimensional elements and performative practice of sculpture, the outcomes of which range freely from installation to video to environmental work. In the videos Behind the Front. Legend or Lakeside Finish, which feature the artist herself as the protagonist, Gilyt? investigates the mutability of the body and natural phenomena and, together the instantaneous possibilities of sculpture. Instead, in works such as Tri Galaxian L-4116, the artist stages a real set, similar to that employed in animation or science fiction cinema, in which she moves the camera, allowing the unwitting viewer to perceive distant worlds and to fantasize about spaces that open up infinitely.

The artistic practice of Egl? Gr?bliauskait? (Vilnius, 1974) stems from an analysis of social and political dynamics, and the interaction between people, places, and memory in the mutability of political contexts. In her practice such themes take shape in painting, in video or sound works, and in installations in public space. In works such as M?TOO, in which the artist places old Soviet-era metal letters in front of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vilnius, or New Good Floor for Titanic, in which she restores the concrete floor of an exhibition venue previously covered with tiles, Gr?bliauskait? reflects on the intrusiveness and means of coercion of power reflected in individual histories and the public context.

The work of Vitalij Strigunkov (Vilnius, 1990) analyzes the social, cultural and anthropological context through minimal interventions, associations of images or completely random events, which materialize in a video narrative. His works investigate the symbolic aspects of human action and the cultural construction of the spatial or temporal boundary. Videos such as Wainting, made on the occasion of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Lithuania, bear witness to how a random delay in the politician’s exit from the plane sends the scripts of the television commentators who were following the event into crisis. In A Year, A Few Months and Some More, the artist compares the measurement of time in different places around the globe and the laws that determine the validity of copyright, reflecting on the limits of the law’s applications and the impossibility of real synchronicity between events.

For all info you can visit the Trieste Contemporanea website.

Image: Patricija Gilyt?, Lakeside Finish (2013; video, sound, 7’03’’)

Lithuanian Videospritz: in Trieste the appointment with the protagonists of Lithuanian video art
Lithuanian Videospritz: in Trieste the appointment with the protagonists of Lithuanian video art

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