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

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

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

I am 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 American artist and composer’s Alvin Lucier’s (1931-2021) landmark sonic piece, created in 1969, in which Lucier used technological process to capture natural frequencies of the space. The exhibition provides a glimpse into the power of material storytelling as a way of processing the highly 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 Rupert

The booth itself functions as a leaking isolation room – partially fractured, never fully closed, and ripe with ways in which we process moments of radical self-confrontation. The participating artists Aistė Ambrazevičiūtė, Anastasia Sosunova, Aistė Marija Stankevičiūtė, Vytenis Burokas, and Katryna Čiurlionis seek to explore the multi-faceted forms of isolation, which shape-shift and spread across bodies and spaces. The unflinching look at oneself unveils not only hidden conflicts and desires but also the feelings of compassion and humility, and a deep yearning for comfort and shelter.

“We are pleased to give platform for the emerging Lithuanian artists to present their works at EXPO Chicago,” says Tautvydas Urbelis, curator of programs at Rupert. “We also see this exhibition as a great opportunity to highlight our alternative art education programs and share our expertise in empowering and supporting artists as they build their creative practices on an international scale.”

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, which explore the socio-political landscape of modern Lithuania: popular folk traditions, national identity and models of magical thinking; “Whirlpool” by artist and writer Aistė Marija Stankevičiūtė highlighting elements of ancient myths and today’s “bling” culture; the series of paintings “Appearances Can Be Deceiving” by the artist and curator Vytenis Burokas whose practice researches the exchange of knowledge and its fermentation; and the works of Katryna Čiurlionis, Lithuanian-American creator and researcher of interdisciplinary design.

Vytenis Burokas, Sanatorium, 2021.
Courtesy Rupert

About Rupert

Rupert is an independent, publicly funded center for art, residencies and education, 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 with the social and cultural life of Vilnius and Lithuania, while also maintaining a strong international focus.

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 on an international scale. More: https://rupert.lt/

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

Alternative Education Program seeks to expand the academic field by promoting self-study practices while bringing individual creators into a community. It is a para-academic learning program that does not grant an academic degree. Each year, a small group of people is selected to take part in the program, giving them an opportunity to develop their projects and receive practical and theoretical assistance. Rupert maintains relations with the participants after the program by involving them in Rupert’s various activities, allowing further learning through active participation.

Participating artists

Aistė Ambrazevičiūtė 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 forms, shapes and textures found in the intricate and complex nature of things. Aistė is a creator of ‘Plantasia Lab’, where she designs digital plants using the intuitive imagination of technology. Currently she is a PhD-in-Practice candidate at the Vilnius Academy of Arts working on the ‘Grammar of the Forest Tectonics by Lichens’.

Anastasia Sosunova is an interdisciplinary artist based in Vilnius. By mining personal histories, geographical imagery, and subtle material gestures that people leave in their habitats, Sosunova weaves together stories about communities and the identities they produce. She investigates the socio-political landscape of contemporary Lithuania: popular folk traditions, national identity and magical thinking patterns. Sosunova has recently exhibited at FUTURA (CZ), Galerie Britta Rettberg (DE), New Museum (US), Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art 2 (LV), Manifesta 13 parallel events (FR), and 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 myths and contemporary bling culture, where pieces of architecture cling to human skin in the form of words, objects and clothing. Through fields of visual art, fashion, theater and art criticism, she delves into themes of intimate connection between artificial bodies and human beings, possibilities of self-expression, pleasure and curiosity. Last year, she had a solo show called Ears lick lips, was one of the selected artists in the exhibition JCDecaux Prize” 2020: The Words I Have at the Contemporary Art Center (Vilnius).

Vytenis Burokas is an artist and curator currently living in Vilnius, Lithuania. In his practice, he investigates metabolism and the fermentation of knowledge drawing attention to 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 has approached the relationship between the body’s processes of metabolism, inebriation, and the evolution of philosophical thought. Burokas is a graduate in contemporary sculpture from Vilnius Academy of Arts where he is currently teaching and a participant of the Rupert Alternative Education Program in 2013 – 2014. He has exhibited at CAC, Vilnius; FUTURA, Prague; Editorial projects, Vilnius; Rupert, Vilnius; Autarkia, Vilnius; Bus Projects, Melbourne; 427, Riga; Komplot, Brussels; MOCAK, Krakow; Nida Art Colony, Nida, and more.

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

The project is supported by:

The Consulate General of the Republic of Lithuania in Chicago, The Cultural Attaché of the Republic of Lithuania in USA, Lithuanian Culture Institute, Vilnius municipality, Arka Express Inc., GP Transco, Devbridge, Narbutas.


Anita Shire

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