On Thursday, July 31st at 6 pm the Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center will open an exhibition by Saulius Leonavičius titled: WHAT WAS PROPOSED IS NOT ALLOWED. ALSO, YOU CAN’T TALK ABOUT WHAT WAS PROPOSED. ALSO, YOU AREN’T ALLOWED TO TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT YOU CAN’T TALK ABOUT ALL OF THAT.
For this exhibition, I selected works from recent years that can be called interventions and/or appropriations. Other criteria for selecting the works were their direct connection to Lithuanian artists or a local context. I also used the opportunity to address particular institutions and the stories connected to them. The motivation to manipulate the artworks of other artists answers a need for disturbing their status quo and meanings. Each work trespasses a rule and is an observation of how each is neutralized in a gallery space. If there is a purpose for such actions, it is probably the intention to ruin and confuse relations among language, artwork and context. One of the reasons for that may be an attempt to deny any metaphysical conditioning of an artwork and its independence from institutional templates. At the same time, it is an observation of how structures themselves can become self-reflective and self-critical. Obviously, any disturbances are just another way across this field of language, through observing its (un)limitation.
Saulius Leonavičius belongs to the camp of dematerialized socio-esthetics, who are interested in the socio-political (institutional) relationships of space and time. Leonavičius questions the status of an “art work” and its functioning in the art system. His works are contextual in a primary sense because he frequently deconstructs a particular context, by opening (previously latent) socio-political layers in an innocent (at first glance) socio-esthetic space. Mini-interventions, micro-actions or daily practices that are difficult to define in esthetic terms are frequently used for such “deconstructions”. Leonavičius creates situations that inevitably highlight (hide) the basic normative mechanics of a certain discourse and/or an institutional system. In other words, he is digging under the foundation of “art“.
At the Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center, Saulius Leonavičius presents a mini-retrospective of his work and also a new work focusing on the JMVAC.