Art and Collectibles. Exhibition of Paintings of Eglė Norkutė

12–28 February, 2019.  UAI Project Space ”Galera” (Užupio str. 10A).

Art and Collectibles is the second personal exhibition of painter Eglė Norkutė (b. 1993). After playfully approaching tricks that reality often pulls on us in her previous show, this time the artist invites gallery guests to explore a painted cabinet of curiosities. The exhibition includes unique and stereotypical personal experiences, rare artifacts, globally recognized artworks, souvenirs, Art and collectibles that have been accumulating during author’s great journey. A journey that occupied several previous years of artist’s life and whose end time and location can not be predicted yet.

The starting point of this journey is also hard to foresee because time and space lose their initial significance in Norkutė’s work. Most likely it all began a year ago next to a fence in Sarajevo airport, where Eglė Norkutė sat down to get a few stuck pebbles out of her shoe sole. After seeing the tiny rocks, the artist realized that they, in fact, are pieces of paths that have long been forgotten, that could be lost right there and then. Or, maybe, this journey began a year and a half ago, in the dark halls of Palazzo Grassi in Venice, where Eglė Norkutė was capturing fictional treasures and simulated riches on display in Damien Hirst’s exhibition Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable with her iPhone 5 camera.

Perhaps this journey does not have a beginning, nor will it ever have a particular ending. Reference points may be a matter of completely unnecessary agreement. According to the artist, even though her paintings are full of personal experiences, none of them portray a consistent, linear story. Potential of a narrative remains in the encounter between a painting and its viewer. “When I paint, I use visual tricks, pranks, infantile imitations of reality – illogical visual links that I use to wittily comment on painting as a representational medium in the context of contemporary art and its connection to other forms of artistic media,” says the artist.

Therefore visitors should be prepared to create the storyline on their own once they enter the exhibition space. Mimesis, representation and simulation are all present and in constant motion in Eglė Norkutė’s canvases. Motives swap from objects of worship to cultural artifacts and vice versa while the painting itself is winking and whispering – all of this is just a spectacle. Fictional exhibition within an exhibition reminds us that truths and myths are being created in the same ways even today. It is up to the guests to figure out, what is the truth and what – not quite so.

“Art and Collectibles” and the entire structure of an exhibition inside a painting comes from a persistent tendency to own, appropriate, curate and value images, artworks and names prominent in the art world. Taken over by archival impulse inherent to many artists I started collecting whilst traveling – things I would find on the ground, items from other collections, objects of other cultures and otherness, anything that was glocal or wild, authentic or counterfeit. Maybe this impulse stems from a place of lack, being stagnant and plain lust for unknown reality, or perhaps the opposite – the abundance of symbolic images and not being able to pick and choose. I began telling stories and riddles through objects, assembling new exhibition of my collection while constantly finding myself among the exhibits. I admire real things morphing into works of art as well as ordinary objects becoming museum artifacts after losing their original context without physically changing a bit. Painting newly arranged exhibitions starts the vicious cycle of transformations again.” (Eglė Norkutė)

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