A Dance in the Reflections of Fire
No one has so deeply and eccentricly penetrated into the guts of his own body, provoked the audience and strolled off down the dead-end-streets of artistic endeavour like Evaldas Jansas. For that reason, each of his exhibitions is a great opportunity to test the boundaries of art and madness once more in one‘s own imagination, and to compare the radicality of the convulsive art of post-traumatic Lithuania with the present apathy.
By exploring the boundaries of art, society, and consciousness, Jansas has become an exceptional phenomenon in the world of Lithuanian art. Specifically, it was him who created the map of this world, drew its extreme poles, and set the starting points for the quests by other colombuses of art.
Jansas‘ art is abundant with satanic laughter, carnival idiocy, exalted self-humiliation and the elegance of a romantic suicide. His volcanic productivity stretches along the different lines of insulting sculptures and squealing installations, macabrically stupid performances, poignantly empathetic video films, confessional texts, unique documentaries, and fancy post-punk revival style canvases. However, they all obey the artist‘s most open and honest look at the context of art and at himself.
Plunging to the bottom of the socium that savours with mud, death, and smelliness, from there he carries out a bleeding heart made of outstandingly beautiful shatters. Seeing the constant mismatch between aspirations and reality, the absurdity of local artistic castes, the romantic trap of his own radicalism, Jansas chooses self-destruction, and uses some refined body choreography to perform it in his defiantly candid performance In One‘s Own Juice (1998).
I know for sure that the contrasts between brutality and sensitivity, a neat idea and freshness of spontaneity in Jansas‘ oeuvre provide real revival to the youngest generation of artists. They may not know the author personally, but they live with him in times of self-crisis, hanging about the Jansas TV youtube channel. It is an incomparable, slightly psychedelic cultural chronicle, an archive of Jansas‘ obscene performances, and a collection of provoked deliriums, confessions, and exposures of artistic field agents.
This exhibition consists of two different parts. The first, museological exposition, will remind you of the context of iconic artworks by Jansas. It‘s just that here, nomadic images of Jansas‘ studios, screenshots of video material, and sketchy collages or cycles of his instagram diary have turned into independent artworks and have been shaping yet other contexts.
Why are the sculptural objects shown here so amorphous and weird? Because they were born in the darkness of the digestive tract, not in the deftness of the sculptor’s hands, they have been carried along by the bees, and scavenged out by pigs. Inside the showcase, there is also a scaled-down book of his limitless confessions, Ode to the Routine. It has scaled-down size, but is colossal in its heat of the fuel mixture of madness and freedom. This is an unparalleled challenge for the writers who grind lukewarm porridge between their teeth. Each line in the ode breaks up like stone and stinks with urine, begging for proximity and vomiting because of the unbearably gloomy sky.
The second part is dedicated to Jansas‘ return to his origins – the element of painting, and the expressive, gourmet sections of art history and contemporary media culture. Jansas combines artistic, personal and screen stories masterfully in his paradoxical figurative painting compositions.
Alogic combinations, dazzling colors, viscous strokes and empty horizons resemble the world after a powerful explosion, when all the television, online, real and fictitious characters, along with the author, in the form of shatters, are dashing cheerfully into the infinity of the universe.
Jansas‘ joyfully absurd painting awakens one‘s hunger for bright colors and idiotic entertainment. It is performative art, and such painting continues the intensive, honest and finite dialogue with the world typical of the artist’s performances. On the other hand, it demonstrates the vitality of the art of painting, including its therapeutic power in terms of the hoaxing stream of media images.
In his tangled brushstrokes, Jansas immerses both the half-naked Femen activists and Trump, the avant-garde of art and dunghill pigs, and arranges them into virtuoso burlesques. Each time, Jansas‘ candid look, acrid phrase, and broad smile promise an adventure and a twist in meaning. Each piece of his painting has the same surprise, instantaneous reaction, and destructive transformation, which gives the painting the dynamic of an unbridled dance. “My style is dance,” wrote Nietzsche in one of his letters. You must admit it: there is something mephistophilic in Jansas‘ image, and there are reflections of fire dancing tirelessly in his eyes.
Gallery name: Vilnius Town Hall
Address: Didžioji g. 31, Vilnius
Opening hours: Opened by appointment, (8 5) 261 8007
Open: 03.04.2019 - 29.04.2019