In Vilnius, art takes a holiday

  • 2007-11-28
  • By Kimberly Kweder

BALLS OUT: Works by six artists, based on their travels to France, Lithuania and the U.K., make up the Holiday In exhibit. The results are sometimes too abstract to interpret.

 VILNIUS - A high-pitched noise comes from the back room where a close-up of a young Belarusian woman appears on a wide video screen.
After arriving at a London airport, she is smiling, blue eyes wide in amazement, as she recounts her flight in broken English.
"I just flown from the sky and landed in 's London? I'm surrounded by British people!" she tells the camera.
This is Holiday In, one of the latest exhibits to open at Vilnius' new Contemporary Arts Center. The project's installations were created by six artists during their travels to three different countries 's France, Lithuania and the U.K.

In March 2007, three international art organizations, including the CAC in Vilnius, acted as travel agents for the artists, who took two to three month "holidays" on which to base their art.
Flavia Muller Mederios' "European Belarus" is part of a small video and photo documentary project covering the young Belarusian movement at the European Humanities University in Vilnius, an institution that was forced out of Minsk in 2004.
Mederios' projects are a simplistic look at current political issues through contemporary art. Next to the video, her small book titled "Irka" details the story of a young Belarusian art student in Lithuania and her interests in border-related issues.

A group portrait of the politically displaced EHU students and video scenes of the students at the CAC are all on display along with her book.
A more lighthearted, or rather bizarre, display comes in the form of colorful mixed media works by Ollie Bragg, an artist who spent his time in Paris trying to absorb the bohemian life.
His comic strips stereotype France as a place for beautiful women and drunken bums.
In one of his photographs, a dumpster is centered in front of a morbid group of tombstones in Paris' famous Pere Lachaise cemetery. The artist labeled the dumpster "Some Guy 1981 - 2007," without further explanation.
Some of his works seem childish. In one of his scenes he reveals his travel journal stroked in black finger-paint: "Went to Montmarte in search of inspiration didn't find it so went home ate cheese."
Each of the exhibitions has objects placed in random spots without little to no description; basketballs hanging from the ceiling with fishing line, a bed of bark piled in a corner, and a toy bike with a drum attached between the pedals.

They lend a certain curiosity to the artists' works, but for the most part, it's Mederios' projects that make "Holiday In" worth a trip to the CAC.

Holiday In
Through Jan 13
Contemporary Art Center
Vokieciu 2, Vilnius
Open Tue - Sun, noon - 7:30 p.m.
Tickets 6 litas
Discounts Wednesdays