NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

‘As a painter you have to consider first of all what is really important about images. In times of Instagram and informational overload, I feel the need to clarify the complexity and diversity of imagery today. The visual world is so full of everything, so unstable and unpredictable. My paintings should reflect that condition.’

Lithuanian artist Gabriele Adomaityte (b. 1994) paints from photographs, Xerox copies and many other forms of printed matter. In some of her works, a white frame around the image exemplifies that the picture is essentially a cut out from a much larger and boundless image world. The physical qualities of the source material are somehow preserved in the paintings, like the crumples and folds in a scan printed onto paper (Xeroxed, 2018) or the sun-bleached page of a book (Untitled (Sunbleach #2), 2018). All kinds of sources have been used, from old catalogues of Baltic jewellery to glossy fashion advertisements, from scientific diagrams to medical nano-photographs. Painting these images, Adomaityte addresses the amazing multiplicity of the visual world.

During her studies at the art academy in Vilnius, Adomaityte collected reproductions of artworks and clippings from newspapers and magazines, which she assembled on a series of cardboard charts. Interested in the systematics of archiving and classification, she found inspiration in Aby Warburg’s unequivocal Mnemosyne Atlas (1929): a collection of images from various sources, exploring associative relations that are nigh impossible to express in words. When examining discarded family albums of people unknown to her, Adomaityte tried to figure out the logic behind the lay-out of the photographs. Recently, she gathered piles ofVHS-tapes and books that once belonged to her father, who deceased when she was thirteen, questioning whether or not she could work with such personally charged subject matter. It was not childhood memories or nostalgic sentiment she was after, but a care for recording and conserving images and what they represent. In the end, preserving and displaying images in family albums, data banks, archives and indeed museums, is also a way of representing the world.

Transforming this visual information into paintings, Adomaityte relies on her great technical skills in tracing, copying and duplicating by hand. In paintings such as A Slight Shift in the Angle (2018), an image is reproduced more than once, creating the impression of a sequence or a loop. During the process of painterly reproduction, slight transformations take place. The phenomenon of ‘generational loss’ comes to mind. Copying from copies (analogue as well as digital) will inevitably result in loss of quality, as images irreversibly fade into hazy shades of grey. Adomaityte enjoys these moments, when the motive seems to be falling apart, verging on the edge of legibility. When she finishes a painting, she often can’t remember what the original source image looked like. 

In the ultrafast circulation of digital imagery, images have a very short lifespan, where the attention of audiences diminish increasingly. Adomaityte’s work seems to reinstall a sense of duration into imagery, exploring how images may continue to be actual. ‘My work deals with images and where they come from and how they can continue to live on. Painting allows that.’

Gallery name: VARTAI Gallery

Address: Vilniaus g. 39, Vilnius

Opening hours: Tue-Fri 12:00 - 18:00, Sat 12:00 - 16:00

Open: 05.09.2019 - 11.10.2019