Knut Asdam, Tripoli, 2010
Vartai Gallery is pleased to announce the opening of a solo show titled Tripoli by the Norwegian artist Knut Åsdam on 11 September 2012. In his work Knut Åsdam analyses the problems of identity, place and history, defining our modern existence in urban public space, and explores the impact of our residential environment on our thoughts and desires, the conflicts it causes, and the meanings it encodes.
The exhibition Tripoli consists of installations that will occupy two rooms of the gallery. In one, Åsdam constructs a pseudo-industrial space of concrete and metal for the screening of the film Tripoli (2010). The film was shot on the site of a huge deteriorating architectural project in Lebanon. During the country's economic boom in the early 60s, the prominent Brazilian architects Oscar Niemeyer was commissioned to build a fairground and conference complex in Tripoli. However, the civil war that broke out in 1975 halted the construction. The complex was never completed, and has instead been used for ammunition storage, a landing place for helicopters and other military uses, or simply closed to the public for long periods. Through the architectural dimension, the film looks into the recent traumatic historical and political past with a strong resonance to current tensions in the Middle East.
The film is part documentary and part theatrical drama. The carefully cast characters of the film meet in the oddly empty architectural space in the middle of the city and through limited dialogue create the psychological portrait of the site. Although the plot of the film does not have a continuous narrative, the clipped dialogues of the characters point to the essential problems of the film encoded in the architectural space.
The video installation Tripoli is accompanied by the work Archive (Migration) which was started in 2010 and has been constantly updated with new pictures. The collection of around 3000 pictures found in books, magazines, newspapers and online was born during the creative process when the artist was researching historical and current representation of migration in images for his film Abyss (2010). The visual material was so abundant that it eventually evolved into an independent piece of art with its own logic, representing the major components of the artist's work: the interaction between space and body; the search for identity; socio-political space; economic processes; and architectural situations. Although diverse both aesthetically and in terms of content, the pictures constitute a solid mass pulsating with rising and vanishing notional elements symbolising change and motion in a broad sense, reflecting social and economic transformations within society.
Knut Åsdam (born 1968) lives and works in Oslo, Norway. The work of the artist has gained global recognition and has been displayed in prestigious art institutions, such as Tate Modern and Tate Britain (UK), MoMA (USA), Moderna Museet (Sweden), and the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (France). In 1999, Åsdam represented Norway in the Pavilion of Nordic Countries at the 48th Venice Biennale. The artist's films have been screened and received awards at a number of film festivals, including, amongst others, Locarno and Rotterdam.
Curator - Vitalija Jasaitė
Opening reception 11 September (Tuesday), 5.30 p.m.
Patron: Vilnius City Municipality
Sponsors of the exhibition: Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA), Royal Norwegian Embassy in Vilnius, Culture Support Foundation of the Republic of Lithuania
Sponsors of the gallery: Bosca, Lietuvos rytas, Tark Grunte Sutkiene, Infoterminalas, UAB "Draugų studija"