LAZNIA 2 2016 - Liudas Parulskis. Baroque and Concrete
opening: 2.09.2016 (Friday), 6 p.m.
CCA LAZNIA 2, Strajku Dokerów 5 Street, 
Gdańsk Nowy Port
Free entry

Curator: Laima Kreivyte
Coordination: Agnieszka Kulazińska-Grobis, Aleksandra Ksieżopolska, Lila Schally-Kacprzak
Exhibition is part of Vilnus in Gdansk Festival
Liudas Parulskis digests the city. Mostly his home town - Vilnius, the crossroads of different cultures and religions. Wilno, the cradle of Adam Mickewicz’s poems and Vilna, the Jerusalem of Lithuania still speaks many languages and reveals stories inscribed in architectual cityscape. From the old days Vilnius is a source of inspiration and the object of work for many painters and photographers. The current view of the town is built of dozens of cultural layers and subjective visions left in the memory. Vilnius of Jan Bułhak, struck by the baroque light; Sofija’s Urbanaviciute-Subaciuviene Vilnius, demolished during the war; Algimantas’ Kuncius Vilnius, static with the scarcity of the Soviet years; archival Vilnius of Antanas Sutkus; Vilnius of Gintautas Trimakas, photographed up from a bicycle.
The photographic project of Liudas Parulskis invites to look at Vilnius’ views like they were maps of self-perception. They are chronicles of physical and virtual changes of the town, where documentaries are combined with fiction, stories are wrapped up deleting bits of the past or projecting the future in a utopian realistic way. One could call the project of Liudas Parulskis the visual meta-research of the town. It is not fixating or analyzing; it is (de)constructing Vilnius self-view, its self-perception. This town exists not only in the exact space and time, but also in a semantic field of artworks. As in dreams and visions too – mind that Vilnius was born in the night dream of Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania. This is also the reason why transformation and metaphors are deep in the genetic code of the town.
Paradoxical relation between architecture and photography in the works of Liudas Parulskis actualizes the importance of creative imagination. Holding a degree in architecture, the artist creates buildings-centaurs, ‘edits’ baroque architecture with fragments of concrete-paneled apartment buildings or decorates the standard concrete-paneled architecture with baroque elements. Conceptual puzzles reflect different modalities of time, interaction of architecture and ideology. They are transformations of the physical and virtual urban landscape, activating the process of viewing and thinking.
“Vilnius Undone” – this is what the author calls his artworks. Undone – because it is impossible to finish creating a town. Until a town is alive, constant changes take place: vision of the town might come to reality in the future, and the present can always falsify the past. For this reason artworks analyze not only the town, but also the look (creating and destroying) and shifts of mentality. What meanings do we give to important buildings; what happens when they disappear or other buildings are put in the place of the previous ones? Photomontages (and their negatives – when buildings are not added but removed instead) of Liudas Parulskis visualize architectural transformations of Vilnius and our fears, concerns and expectations that we have to our space.
Architecture, atmosphere of the space, imagination and reality resound especially well when the most symbolic sights are being changed: the Cathedral Square, the Gate of Dawn, the Campanile of St. John’s Church. Two players – the author and the time – meet in a single image and transform the reality in their own way. The Cathedral Square in the montage of Liudas Parulskis looks strange not only because the belfry is missing. It looks strange also because the relentless time has wiped off the old tiles, concrete flowerbeds, and like a whirlwind uprooted trees of the Gediminas castle hill. There is not a sign yet of the Palace of the Grand Dukes. By adding and removing buildings the artist also switches the time – ahead and back. The viewers can never be sure if they are visiting the town in the past, in the present or in the future.
Urban photo-transformations of Liudas Parulskis encourage looking differently at the town and its future scenarios – desirable and avoidable ones. They invite to reflect on the history of Vilnius, its architecture and symbols, sacral and everyday-life spaces. Series of 3D images also shown in the exhibition activates the process of viewing and contributes erasing the lines between the real and the virtual. This exhibition actualizes imaginary, in memory recreated Vilnius; it is searching for a dialog not only with architecture but also with photographic and artistic interpretations of it.
Curator Laima Kreivyte
Municipal Institution of Culture