YouTube Video 1:
I find this video to be incredibly important when it comes to explaining this pavilion. This video shows a lot of the art work that was featured, which is helpful and important. It also highlights some of the artists and their thoughts on the show. But more importantly, it explains the vision behind the whole pavilion. Including commentary from the curator, Raimundas Malasauskas, and I think if anyone can explain this show eloquently, it’s him.
YouTube Video 2:
I really enjoy this video, although long and mundane at some points, I feel like it truly gives you the experience of this pavilion. You see the cold hard walls, the swarms of people, the stagnant artwork placed about this gymnasium. Although you get the visual, you don’t get the feel at all. You can’t experience the energy and the concepts and the depths without actually being there. But as far as visually experiencing something, I think this video does a wonderful job documenting it. And at the end you even get a look at the young gymnast’s performance.
YouTube Video 3:
Maria Hasabi played a huge role in the Lithuanian Exhibition. She is one of the main artists that got the theme of the show across by doing a continuous performance piece. This is her main style of art making and I think her voice behind it is very important and explanatory. That’s why I think this video is very useful in understanding her as an artist. Although she is discussing her work outside of the Biennale, knowing her mind behind her work, understanding the concepts helps to understand the meaning behind her piece “intermission” that she did during the exhibition.
YouTube Video 4:
I find this interview not only interesting to watch but at the same time, it’s a great look into the work and mind of Gabriel Lester. He is the artist behind the piece “cousins”, which took up the whole gymnasium floor in the Lithuanian Pavilion. This piece contributed so much to the general mood and atmosphere of the exhibition. That’s why I think it’s important to understand him better as an artist and I think this video really assists in doing that.
YouTube Video 5:
Although this video is short and includes a lot of interviewing of that particular show, I think this video is helpful in showing different contemporary art shown in Lithuania. It’s nice to see other art outside of the Venice Biennale. This video shows a more lively side to Lithuanian art than what was shown at the Biennale, which I think is very valuable.
Lithuania is located in northern Europe, it borders Latvia, Belarus, and Poland. The weather is typical European continental weather, having hot summers and cold winters. Although the weather can be breezy and humid due to the proximity of the Baltic sea. As far as the population goes, around 3 million people live in this country. But if we look back in history, 1918 was the first time Lithuania declared independence as a sovereign state. Nearly 20 years later, in 1940, Lithuania was occupied by the Soviets, then Nazi Germany and then the Soviets once more, losing their independence again. For the next 50 years they would struggle and fight to reclaim it and by 1990, a year before the fall of the soviet union, they reclaimed their independence. This half a century long struggle is what would shape this country into what it is today and what kind of people inhabit it today. And after regaining their independence, Lithuania kept strong democratic traditions. In 2009, they elected the first female president, which symbolized a massive switch in politics. Because of the constant struggle they faced for independence I believe it resulted in a much more open, progressive society today. And as a result they are moving forward in a positive direction, which their art can only imitate.
In the 2013 Venice Biennale, the Lithuanian Pavilion aimed to do something massively revolutionary and progressive. They partnered with another country to share one common space and one curator, while still having separate exhibitions. They called this Idea oO. It focused on assymetry and it’s affect on perspective, while also highliting the idea of cohabitation and things existing together while maintaining their differences but not their isolation. One of the main pieces of the show case was a piece by Gabriel lester called “cousins” which included walls set up on the main floor that had been taken from various museums. These walls took up such a large amount of space that you could not help but walk around them like a maze. Another show stopping piece was the performance piece by Maria Hassabi called “Intermission”. During this piece, the famous performance artist danced and crawled and moved slowly across the bleachers symbolizing movement, time, and space. Kind of used as a back drop to this piece was Phanos Kyriacou’s piece “Eleven hosts, twenty-one guests, nine ghosts”. This was an installation hung from the ceiling that included random objects such as brooms and chairs, lamps, and broken sticks. His work accompanied Maria Hassabi so beautifully creating an environment exactly what oO was about. Cohabiting and sharing space while being separate but not isolated.
Success of the pavilion:
I personally do think the show was a success for the most part. I absolutely loved the theme of oO. I thought it was conceptually beautiful and creative. Taking in account Lithuania’s political history, I don’t really think it was politically motivated. It seemed to deal more with things of the present and positive places it wants society to go, rather than dealing with wounds and stories of the past. I do think, to a certain extent, it did mirror Lithuanian society currently. Just on the basis of electing a woman president and just how successfully the country is moving. I think artists will always be somewhat of a reflection of the society from which they come, but I don’t think the work is continously being influenced by political agendas. I know that Cyprus chose artists based on who they thought was talented but not in the spotlight yet. But Lithuania chose their artists based on who they thought was talented and would represent their country and theme the best. Their last Biennale exhibition was about showcasing unknown artists and as many artists as they could, so I think this year they strayed away from that and had a really strong idea and theme. And overall I thought it was very successful and pleasant.
About the Artists:
Starting with Maria Hassabi, she a director, performer, and choreographer. She has done many collaborative works with many artists. She is a Cyprus born artist who travels all over the world but works out of the Chelsea Studio in New York. She doesn’t consider herself a performance artist, just an artist who happens to use her body to convey messages. Another big artist from the exhibition is Gabriel Lester. He was born in Amsterdam and grew up in a small city. But at the age of 12, he moved to the city where he started to become interested in hip hop culture. He started to graffiti and make his own music. Eventually he ended up going to cinema school in the Netherlands for a bit and really learning the skills he needed. Now as a professional artist he does experimental films, installations, and sculptures. He’s now partially based out of Shanghai. Phanos Kyricou was another big artist at this years exhibition. He graduated from Middlesex college of fine arts in London and is currently based in Nicosia and Berlin and mainly works on dialogues that work with the urban landscape. He does this usually through sculptures and installations. Lastly, we have Jason Dodge. He is an American artist who graduated from Yale University School of Art. He is a materially minimalistic yet has a complex process in all his work. His work functions as small pieces to a larger narrative, usually with lengthy titles that include the complicated process within their words. His words explain the significance of his work. Currently Jason works in Berlin Germany and continues to make work consistent to his detail oriented style.