Paradise. Cerebral Cortex Landscapes.
November 8 – December 16, 2017
Opening: November 8, 6 PM
Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center, Malūnų g. 8, Vilnius
The Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center presents artist Benas Šarka and his exhibition Paradise. Cerebral Cortex Landscapes.
The exhibition presents a small, albeit more “tangible” or even “object-oriented” part of the work of Benas Šarka – photographs of activities, sketches, objects, video creations. The compact retrospective covers the last 20 years of his (non)creative work. All of the works have been “pulled out” from Šarka’s performances and shows – they are documents of performability in general. Some are being exhibited for the first time. Some “theatrical” creations were formed from interesting things thrown out onto shore from the sea. Everything exhibited is a composite of the elements of a spiritual whole, a process that has neither a beginning, nor an end.
Paradise. Cerebral Cortex Landscapes. was inspired as a name for this exhibition by a series of x-rays of the cerebral cortexes of (anonymous) patients at the Naujoji Vilnia Psychiatric Hospital at the beginning of the 20th century. These x-rays are remarkably similar to landscapes. Any one of the x-rays might be that of the brain of an intellectual or an artist of the time, perhaps even the “inner landscape” of the cerebral cortex of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis himself.
Benas Šarka (b. 1963) completed his studies in Directing at the National Conservatory in Klaipėda and founded the Gliukų Theatre. The Gliukų Theatre does not have a permanent troupe of actors. Actually, it is a one-man show consisting of only Šarka and that is why he chose to call it a “troupe” (a play on the Russian word for corpse). By just merely existing, Šarka questions the conventions of the arts system or, in other words, its artificiality. Šarka’s work is often described as “amateurish” and “provincial”, however, Šarka himself cares nothing about “high” or “low” class styles.
In general, trying to present Šarka as a “director”, “actor” or “performance artist” would not be correct because Šarka is one of the most authentic avantgardists not only in Klaipėda, but in all of Lithuania. He ignores the borders between different genres, types of art, business and the avantgarde, art and spiritualism/magic, dreams and reality. Šarka is all of that combined in one. Šarka’s (non)artistic work, as well as his creations from things, can be defined as performability per se.
Šarka is a Fluxus artist by birth. He is, in a certain sense, Jurgis Mačiūnas’ soulmate. The aesthetics of a specifically theatrical reality are also important to him.
Curators: Kęstutis Šapoka, Gintaras Sodeika
Sponsor: Lithuanian Council for Culture