Emerging Art and Alternative Education from Lithuania on Display for the First Time at EXPO Chicago

Anastasia Sosunova, Diluvial Valleys, 2021, Swallow gallery, Vilnius. Photo: Laurynas Skeisgiela
Courtesy of Rupert

Rupert, the independent center for art, residencies and education in Vilnius, will present I’m sitting in a room at EXPO Chicago 2022, Booth 467. Bringing contemporary Lithuanian art to the fair’s audience, the exhibit features for the first time 5 emerging artists who are alumni of Rupert’s Alternative Education Program.

I’m sitting in a room probes the experience of isolation and reflection on one’s environment in the context of different artistic practices. The title pays homage to the historic sound piece by American artist and composer Alvin Lucier (1931-2021), created in 1969, in which Lucier used a technological process to capture the natural frequencies of space. The exhibition provides insight into the power of material storytelling as a way to address the very personal, yet universally recognizable, symptoms of detachment. The variety of media, subject matter, and execution speaks to the nature of isolation as a highly divergent experience.

Aistė Ambrazevičiūtė, Lichen Grammar, 2021
Courtesy of Rupert

The cabin itself functions as a leaky isolation ward – partially fractured, never fully closed, and ripe with ways we deal with moments of radical self-confrontation. Participating artists Aistė Ambrazevičiūtė, Anastasia Sosunova, Aistė Marija Stankevičiūtė, Vytenis Burokas and Katryna Čiurlionis seek to explore multi-faceted, shape-shifting forms of isolation that spread through bodies and spaces. The unwavering gaze upon oneself not only unveils conflicts and hidden desires, but also feelings of compassion and humility, and a deep desire for comfort and shelter.

“We are happy to give a platform to emerging Lithuanian artists to showcase their works at EXPO Chicago“, explains Tautvydas Urbelis, curator of programs at Rupert. “We have also see this exhibition as a great opportunity to showcase our alternative arts education programs and share our expertise in empowering and supporting artists as they build their creative practices internationally.

Works in the exhibition include “Lichen Grammar” by digital artist Aistė Ambrazevičiūtė, which aims to stimulate the art of attention and convey unimaginable visual realities; “Passage Pie” and “Diluvial Valleys” by interdisciplinary artist Anastasia Sosunova, who explores the socio-political landscape of modern Lithuania: popular folk traditions, national identity and magical thinking patterns; “Whirlpool” by artist and writer Aistė Marija Stankevičiūtė highlighting elements of ancient myths and present-day “bling” culture; the series of paintings “Appearances can be deceivingby the artist and curator Vytenis Burokas whose practice seeks the exchange of knowledge and its fermentation; and the works of Katryna Čiurlionis, Lithuanian-American designer and interdisciplinary design researcher.

Vytenis Burokas, Sanatorium, 2021.
Courtesy of Rupert

About Rupert

Rupert is an independent, publicly funded art, residency and education center located in Vilnius, Lithuania. Rupert has been operating since 2012.

Rupert’s mission is to establish close cooperation between artists, thinkers, researchers and other cultural actors through transdisciplinary programs and residencies. Rupert is committed to integrating into the social and cultural life of Vilnius and Lithuania, while maintaining a strong international orientation.

Rupert manifests this mission through three related programs: the residency program, the alternative education program and the public programs. They are all dedicated to creating platforms for conversation, research and learning. Through these programs, Rupert supports local international thinkers in realizing their projects and establishing their creative practice internationally. More: https://rupert.lt/

Rupert’s Alternative Education Program combines arts education, professional development, and non-hegemonic modes of knowledge exchange. The program aims to broaden academic discourse by promoting self-learning practices, peer-to-peer learning, and knowledge de-prioritization combines arts education and professional development to encourage knowledge exchange between participants and practitioners working in the contemporary arts and other fields.

The Alternative Education Program seeks to broaden the academic field by promoting self-learning practices while bringing individual creators into a community. This is a para-academic learning program that does not award a university degree. Each year, a small group of people are selected to participate in the programme, giving them the opportunity to develop their projects and receive practical and theoretical assistance. Rupert maintains relationships with participants after the program by involving them in Rupert’s various activities, allowing for further learning through active participation.

Participating artists

Aistė Ambrazevčiūtė is a digital artist and ex-architect based in Lithuania. Her work focuses on the decorative arts of architectonics, where she celebrates and employs the shapes, forms and textures found in the intricate and intricate nature of things. Aistė is the creator of “Plantasia Lab”, where she designs digital plants using the intuitive imagination of technology. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate in practice at the Academy of Arts in Vilnius and works on the “grammar of forest tectonics by lichens”.

Anastasia Sosunova is an interdisciplinary artist based in Vilnius. By exploring personal histories, geographic images and subtle material gestures that people leave behind in their habitats, Sosunova weaves stories about communities and the identities they produce. She studies the socio-political landscape of contemporary Lithuania: popular folk traditions, national identity and magical ways of thinking. Sosunova has recently exhibited at FUTURA (CZ), Britta Rettberg Gallery (DE), New Museum (US), International Biennial of Contemporary Art Riga 2 (LV), side events Manifesta 13 (FR) and at the 14th Baltic Triennial (LT).

Aistė Marija Stankevičiūtė is an artist and writer currently living and working in Vilnius, Lithuania. Aistė Marija’s work unfolds around ancient and contemporary myths bling culture, where pieces of architecture cling to human skin in the form of words, objects and clothing. Through the fields of visual arts, fashion, theater and art criticism, she explores themes of the intimate connection between artificial bodies and human beings, the possibilities of self-expression, pleasure and curiousity. Last year, she presented a solo exhibition titled Ears lick lipswas one of the selected artists in the exhibition JCDecaux Awards » 2020: The words I have at the Center for Contemporary Art (Vilnius).

Vytenis Burokas is an artist and curator currently living in Vilnius, Lithuania. In his practice, he studies the metabolism and fermentation of knowledge by drawing attention to the relationships between microorganisms and people. Known for creating and preparing beer recipes based on artistic, philosophical, anthropological and sociological ideas, in his publication Beer Metaphysics he addressed the relationship between bodily processes of metabolism, intoxication and the evolution of philosophical thought. . Burokas graduated in contemporary sculpture from the Academy of Arts in Vilnius where he currently teaches and participated in the Rupert Alternative Education Program in 2013-2014. He has exhibited at CAC, Vilnius; FUTURA, Prague; Editorial projects, Vilnius; Rupert, Vilnius; Autarky, Vilnius; Bus Projects, Melbourne; 427, Riga; Komplot, Brussels; MOCAK, Krakow; Nida Art Colony, Nida, and more.

Katryna Ciurlionis is a Lithuanian American multidisciplinary designer and researcher. Her background in interior architectural design stems from a deep fascination with the power of the environment to affect both mind and body. In her work, she seeks to look beneath the surface of built environments in order to discern the major cultural paradigms they support. Currently, his work is defined by a subtle dance between the fields of architectural history, critical theory, molecular biology and pharmacology. Through an autonomous and collaborative practice, she uses space – whether digital or physical – as a medium to weave stories and articulate implicit values.

The project is supported by:

Consulate General of the Republic of Lithuania in Chicago, Cultural Attaché of the Republic of Lithuania to the United States, Institute of Lithuanian Culture, Municipality of Vilnius, Arka Express Inc., GP Transco, Devbridge, Narbutas.

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