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Exposition of Žilvinas Landzbergas in Vartai, Vilnius

Visitors to the Vartai Gallery are met with an enormous sign that says “Sunset,” diagonally painted in tasty peach and lemon tones across the wall like an advertising slogan. And it really does remind the viewer of a highlight from a roadside billboard, pointing to some hotel chain or a boat rental place with a dose of kitsch. The slogan calls to mind something seen in the movies, in the spirit of a trip to Las Vegas. This feeling is highlighted by the “champagne machine” set up under the “Sunset” sign, from which—at least according to Žilvinas—this sparkling beverage flowed during the opening of the show. 

Exposition sight in Vartai, Vilnius

When you turn your gaze toward the “Sunset,” you hear behind your back the gurgling of a fountain made of a simple device generating water pressure, set up in an ordinary tub-like bath. This whole slightly “crooked mirror-world” is enhanced by a mirror affixed to the wall on the right, in which, thanks to its slanted positioning, it’s not possible to see yourself. In our conversation, Žilvinas called this a “spooky horror pop movie effect.”

Exposition sight in Vartai, Vilnius

I think nobody will deny that the nature of all the described objects already includes a significant dose of irony and clichéd references, and is semantically saturated enough to form a certain dose of references at least to Hollywood films. Thereby inconspicuously involving the viewer in the creation of meaning for the work of art. Yet to my mind, what’s essential in Žilvinas’s work is the attraction of the object itself, the ability to experience it variously and diversely, to recognize it as close and meaningful. For example, we associate the image of the sunset with such a banal landscape that it seems nauseating just to look at it; yet we don’t avoid doing so in real life, associating romantic moments with a sunset or yearning for one. The same can be said for the calming sound of the fountain, which in Žilvinas’s interpretation isn’t lofty or aesthetically enjoyable as an object at all, but rather more similar to trash. >>