2023 12 13–2024 02 29 Jonas Mekas. „Žvėris / The Beast“

Installation by Jonas Mekas

a.k.a. Quartets

Curator – Sebastian Mekas

In the creative realm of Jonas Mekas, word and image are inseparable. This exhibition unveils how significant topics for Mekas unfold in space through the mediums of video films and texts. In one hall, a previously unseen masterpiece by Jonas Mekas, titled “The Beast,” is displayed, revealing the complexity and multilayered nature of his artistic thinking. In another hall, the walls are covered with “The Very Beginning of the Beginning” – Mekas’ manuscript featuring notes, corrections, and translations.

“The Beast” by Jonas Mekas is a spatial moving image sculpture composed of diverse visuals recorded in personal and cultural memory. A cube structure, formed by 16 monitors, displays four important quartets for Jonas Mekas – significant events in art and life.

  1. “Destruction Quartet” portrays losses and new beginnings: Nam June Paik destroying a piano; Dainius Kesminas’ 9/11 fire event; the destruction of the Berlin Wall.
  2. “Soho Quartet” is dedicated to the New York district where Mekas lived and where Mačiūnas founded artists’ lofts. Old Soho images are displayed; Jonas Mekas leaving his apartment at Broadway 491; a winter walk through Soho; George Maciunas.
  3. Martin Scorsese shooting “The Departed”: On four monitors, the process of the director creating, shooting, and editing his feature film “The Departed” (2006) is shown.
  4. The Education of Sebastian. A four-monitor piece showcasing Jonas Mekas and his family’s journey through Egypt. Sebastian, who curates this exhibited installation, travels with them.

The bustling installation with overlapping images and sounds is contrasted by a meditative journey with the pages of Jonas Mekas’ manuscript “The Very Beginning of the Beginning.” The pages are arranged sequentially but can be read in any order. Here, the most significant aspect is the movement of the artist’s thoughts and hand, allowing each viewer to interpret it in their own way.

Text by Laima Kreivytė

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You are invited to the exhibition opening!
December 13th, 18:30 JMVMC (Malūnų St. 8)

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The exhibition is open until February 29, 2024.
Admission is free, the installation is open during JMVMC working hours.

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Presented by: Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center and the Signatory Houses a branch of the Lithuanian National Museum

Supported by: Lithuanian Culture Council

Partner: Cultural Innovation Agency “Art Gene”

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The exhibition is part of the “Keep Singing” festival inspired by Jonas Mekas, taking place on December 13-16.
Read more about the festival HERE.

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