art 2004/2

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Eimantas Ludavičius. Šuolis. 2004, popierius, skaitmeninė spauda, 160x120. Foto Rimvydo Rukštelės

How and Why I Curated the 13th Tallinn Print Triennial

by Redas Diržys

As an egocentric artist, I would rather participate in such exhibitions. Yet I could not turn down the invitation to cooperate I received from Peeter Allik, the artist I deeply respect, and a good friend of mine. In Exile, such was the theme of the 13th triennial, was expected to be a scandal, he announced. With such a goal in mind, I set out to search for unorthodox approaches, strategies, social message or politics. What I found, was plenty of illustrations for lyrical poems. I got the impression that Lithuanian art is dominated by the tendency to hide behind an elaborate form without revealing one’s personal attitude, this applies not only to work in print media. I think many selected works in the exhibition sent a message different from the one intended by the author. As a curator, I used the right of liberal interpretation in the given context. People pointed to individual works, asking, if this was exile. Yet exile is not a separate phenomenon, but a context of these. If we look at the previous triennials, we can see them to have applied the principle of selecting the works that staid within the generic limits of the given event. Such practice strikes more like tourism than exile.
I think that such principle of selection has largely contributed to the establishment of the new method of organizing curated exhibitions: the method of filling. I claim that contemporary Western curators’ elite have developed a new form of representing the art world. The small countries in Eastern Europe have started producing filling for the huge biennials in the West…
What is filling?
Filling is the ideal medium for the rise of designated stars.  
Filling always takes pride being in the neighbourhood of the stars.
Filling is supposed to be of high quality, thoroughly made and keep low profile.
Filling never reveals itself – it reveals the curator and the stars.
Filling keeps it all in one piece.
Destroy the filling and the stars will spill on the dusty floor like rusty pieces of tin! 

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