NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

The project dedicated to the 15th anniversary of the Tsekh Gallery.

The reality of spirits

There are more than ten interpretations of the word “spirit” in the English language. That is both “a part of a human” with opinions, feelings, and character, and the type of your determination — “combative spirit”. Also, there exist the spirit of the community and the spirit of times, as well as “spirits’ in the sense of strong alcohol.

This is also the name of a project of the TSEKH gallery with which it marks its 15th anniversary. Due to the
COVID-19 the celebration has to be postponed, however, the quarantine has not become an obstacle for creating an international project with the number of participants that is a record for the gallery — 11. They represent Ukraine, Lithuania, and the USA.

It is impossible to imagine the TSEKH without its residents who have been working with it since the 2000s and have earned recognition among art connoisseurs and collectors over the time. These are Yaroslav Derkach, Rustam Mirzoev, Mykola Bilous, Ievgen Petrov, and VALYA. Derkach keeps embodying his own system of signs in sculpture, these are, in a way, spirits. For Spirits the artist visualizes the things one has hardly ever seen — an alien and the lightning coming from the underground.

While Derkach is associated with meditation, an attempt to get to the core of the things, Petrov’s watercolor painting depicts sarcastic stories where the characters are covered in emptiness, either external, or internal. The spirit of the woods is boring the prisoners destroying his possessions and leaving only the stubs of spruces with his eyes. And girls are making acrobatic stunts in the water-hole, entertaining tourists who are looking for fun among icebergs.

The attempts to catch the spirit of youth can be felt in the works by Mykola Bilous. A woman in heels is sitting on a toy zebra. She seems to feel awkward either because she has been caught doing absurd things, or because she has nostalgia for her childhood. However, open colours used by Bilous fill in the existential emptiness around her.

It looks as if spirits with Rustam Mirzoev stand for alcohol, his pictures seem to be painted in port wine and absinthe liqueur. Though, probably, that is about the spirit of the truth that is born in wine? You have a chance to check whether one can get drunk from paintings.

VALYA has been working in the USA for quite a period of time, but she does not leave the TSEKH and has created the installation “Chyron” for the exhibition. Normally the word is used to denote a moving line in TV news. The artist creates chyron conveying information coming from the ancestors — the symbols embracing the period from Trypillia culture to Kyivan Rus. The author assures that these codes cannot be perceived by human mind, the reading of the “newsfeed’ happens at the level of senses.

One more representative of the USA is Wing Simpson, and this is his first project in Ukraine. Simpson has created the sculpture “The Spirit of Creation: Inflation”. He has managed to put the ideas about the Big Bang and appearance of the Universe into a ø 30 cm sculpture, which prospectively can be endlessly expanded.An artist from Lithuania, Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė, has long been known in Europe for her metal embroidery. She offers the “National Currency” — a bowl with embroidered vegetables made in the colours of the Lithuanian flag. “The Bucket of Light” is a candlestick made of the bucket and sanitary ware, embroidered with flowers. Drilling and welding seem to add importance to cross stitching which is despised by many people as the hobby for old ladies. Household crafts become the embodiment of the spirit coming from the most wretched conditions.Vladimiras Mackevičius has, vice versa, cemented a real violin to visualize how life circumstances test the spirit, impede and chain. But can they destroy? The artist is sure that no. But you can argue with this solo of a cemented violin.Linas Liandzbergis and Egle Ridikaite (the laureate of the 2020 National Art Award of Lithuania) presented their painting in the TSEKH in 2009 for the first time. The project Spirits also includes their works. Ridikayte has reproduced the dreams of something that will never happen. Her picture is the view of the Statue of Liberty through a telescope. That is the dedication to her perished friend from the USA. The author intended to visit him, but was late.Liandzbergis’ treble painting is called “Day Six” and refers us to the Bible to the moment when God created man. Light and darkness split on the first day of the creation of the world get mixed again.A textile work by Žydrė Ridulytė can become everything you want. That is what it’s called. And it is up to the viewer what spirits will inhabit it. Spirits do not leave one indifferent and invite for cooperation.

Gallery name: TSEKH Art Gallery

Address: Vytenio 6, Vilnius

Opening hours: Tue-Sat 14:00 - 20:00

Open: 19.03.2021 - 26.06.2021