This month, we are taking a walk on the other side of the river Maas before the tunnel will close for almost a year. Invited by Paul Elliman to contribute to De Fluyt en de Hoi, Antanas Gerlikas will spend an afternoon walking the brown spotted Charlois resident Dalmatian Rex and the black spotted city centre resident Digsby through Het Nieuwe Instituut, Museum for Architecture, Design and Digital Culture.
From there they will walk towards Rib. The resulting film will be titled A Walk, 2019 a site-specific follow up of the earlier A Walk, 2011 shot in The Latvian National Museum of Art. The film will be on view at Rib until the end of the year and becomes part of the temporary infrastructure of De Fluyt en de Hoi.
Please join us on Saturday, June 1, at 8pm, for a talk with the artist, when Antanas Gerlikas will discuss this latest project, previous work, and share a few thoughts about the animals that sometimes shape his work and his life.
We want to give very special thanks to Het Nieuwe Instituut and Marina Otero Verzier, Head of Research & Development, for opening their doors to us and making this project possible.
Dear Sir or Madame,
When I wore a t-shirt with a grass snake, parrots flew and fish swam at my house, and a roe-deer lay on the carpet when it rained outside. In the “first year, the roe-deer grew a pair of tender, velvet antlers. After a while its appearance changed radically. The tree trunks were scuffed, smeared with blood.
This was the news all the neighbors got. After the antlers had been polished, one did not have to wait long. Not a single intruding animal was left in its territory, and later even cars could not drive into the yard. The worst thing was that it was conscious of its power and was always ready. It met its unexpected guests out of nowhere, at the speed of lightning. It would catch a lying bullet before the bullet reached it, if the one who had shot was someone from its list. It did not accept anyone except those it already remembered.
When it grew up, we encouraged it to spend more time outside. It was only when we tried to carry the roe-deer out that we realized there was something we didn’t know. As we were discussing the roe-deer’s odd behavior, it began to rain. From that time on the roe-deer served us as a weather forecast. Later we saw its territory and many other new things. We would watch it together with the dog. The dog was such obsolete technology compared to the roe-deer that I felt sorry for it. Perhaps also because it resembled a human being. I lived near a town that extended into the “Fields. The roe-deer’s menacing adolescence warned of nature’s globalization in the shape of the animal. It is impossible to train a roe-deer with antlers, just as it is impossible to shoot it; we had no choice but to leave the house ourselves until the roe-deer departed.
I would show it the woods occasionally. I believe it headed for the woods. It was a weird feeling when I took it to the woods and when we came back to the settlement together. When it left, the space changed and became empty. We felt left behind. We had 6 to take the barometer out from the drawer, unable to choose a weather forecast.
Unlike the roe-deer, the snake would adapt to my body temperature. It would creep out through my shirt’s collar without my knowledge. Sometimes it would crawl out of my sleeve during class to wave its tongue. I pondered over its advantages a lot. To become a snake, one would have to inherit the Jacobson’s organ, and implant or develop a device that would be sensitive to odor molecules in the environment; chimeric hearing and a phenotypically plastic body would also be an advantage. One would have an inherited Universal Internet instead of the thing that represents the Internet. The bodies of the roe-deer and the snake were always somewhere else. You face a maximum alloy of aesthetic expression, speed, reaction, hearing, orientation, climate, territory, the magic of words that has no representation.
The roe-deer and the snake have sprawled in all directions; I will have to come back to some of the words.
The roe-deer in and serpent at that time created a powerful sense of abstraction that balances the feeling of insecurity, curiosity, knowledge, and experience.I was inspired to think critically about creativity as an important social action in everyday life in terms of shapes, colors and ideas. While living with wild animals, I was inventing a new design for cars and dunes of the future. It was kind of preparation for something else.
For creating A Walk, I joined together different planes: the one of a picture from the 18th century, of a museum and of the everyday of a city. By doing this I enabled a museum, and a city to gain the meaning in a painting made by Johann Heinrich Baumann (1753–1832); I also created a situation for a piece to frame these changes. Collaboration with a well-known hunter and painter was extremely interesting to me. An image of a hunted bird in the painting of Baumann and an open door of a museum in my own film show a difference between life and death that is essentially close to everyday ritual practices of hunting and museum’s activity.
The event programme of Intermission, Riga, 2011, organised by the CAC Vilnius, curated by Virginija Januškevičiūtė.
I think that romanticism not only showed us the way to reveal the beauty of the past in the present, bus also it taught us how to span bridges between all the diversity of distances. I assume that romanticism is not a classical apotheosis of the past in the present, but a material and/or a real journey of imagination, while overcoming the distances between various people, times and structures. For example, in the work A walk (2011), I collaborate with a painter and hunter Johann Heinrich Baumann (1753-1832) and combine the meaning of his artwork (Still life, 1820) with today‘s practice of storing this painting in a museum and a daily life of Riga.
The main conceptual device of my oeuvre is the revisiting of the concept of a museum by looking at it from the perspective of, on one hand, an artwork, and on another, daily life. For this aim I consider an artwork as a semi-autonomous element dependant on the museum’s discipline – it’s spacial, temporal and ideological conventions, references, construction of history, etc. For this reason I am also interested in how these conventions are acted out in daily life.
With this in mind, my aim is to separate the value of an artwork from an institution (the museum) and to transfer it into some new forms of life. By creating and recording the lives of these forms, discovering and shooting new shapes and structures of life (as I did in my artworks A walk 2011.
With kind regards,
Antanas Gerlikas (1978, LT) is an artist who lives and works in Vilnius, Lithuania. The main conceptual device of his oeuvre is the revisiting of the concept of a museum by looking at it from the perspective of, on the one hand, an artwork, and on another, daily life. For this aim he considers an artwork as a semiautonomous element dependent on the museum’s discipline – it’s spatial, temporal and ideological conventions, references, construction of history, etc. For this reason, he is also interested in how these conventions are acted out in daily life. With this in mind, Gerlikas’ aim is to separate the value of an artwork from an institution (the museum) and to transfer it into some new forms of life, by creating and recording the lives of these forms, discovering and shooting new shapes and structures of life.
Paul Elliman (1961, UK) is an artist based in London. His work follows language through many of its social and technological guises, where typography, human voice and bodily gestures emerge as part of a direct correspondence with other visible forms and sounds of the city. His work has been exhibited internationally in many solo and group exhibitions, including Century City, the inaugural exhibition for Tate Modern, London, UK (2001), Unmonumental at the New Museum, New York, USA (2008); Ecstatic Alphabets at MoMA, New York, USA (2012) Objectif Antwerp (2014); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, (2017); and the Liverpool Biennial (2018). Elliman has been a Yale School of Art faculty since 1997, a long term visiting critic and advisor for Werkplaats Typografie in Arnhem since 2000, and was a tutor and advisor for the (temporary) Master of Voice MFA at the Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam, 2016–18.
Julian Lewis (1963, UK) is an architect and urban planner, and co-founder and director of East, award winning architecture, landscape and urban design practice in London. He is interested in how places influence architecture and the designed public realm, and what role architecture can have in cities. Julian is a member of several London Borough Design Review Panels, and is one of the Mayor of London’s Design Advocates. He has been teaching and lecturing since 1992, having held a Diploma Unit teaching post at London Metropolitan University for 13 years. Julian was invited by Valentin Bearth as Visiting Professor at the school of architecture in Mendrisio, Switzerland, and taught there from 2009 to 2011. Julian is an Honorary Professor at the University of Nottingham Department of Architecture and Built Environment, and will act as External Examiner at the University of Cambridge Department of Architecture from 2019.