VILNIUS - Do you drive an Italian car? If so, it's quite probable that a chunk of the assembly plant machinery that made it is now adorning the open-air art museum at the Europos Parkas, the self-proclaimed epicenter of Europe.
Certainly, this has to be the weightiest foreign exhibition in Lithuania of all time. "Substance - Voltage - Form," as it's called, consists of 10 gigantic sculptures by the Italian artist Massimo Ghiotti. Each of the gargantuan sculptures weighs some 10 tons or more and some of which rise up to three meters or so above the average-sized visitor's head.
At first glance, it may be tempting to think of Ghiotti's art as a sort of totem to industrialism. However, some art critics have gone much further, suggesting that Ghiotti's sculptures are an exploration of postindustrial humanism. Working in a similar way to the Renaissance sculptors and architects who first accurately mapped out and dissected the human body, Ghiotti similarly analyzes the anatomies of these vast steel mechanisms.
The sculptor also manages to seamlessly merge huge and essentially abstract fragments of machinery in a way that challenges our fear of the mechanical. The sculptures consequently take on a life of their own and almost assume a character in their form-friendly structures.
It is strongly recommended that you refresh your knowledge of physics before going to see "Substance - Voltage - Form," however, since you're as likely to have questions about how the hell Ghiottii managed to produce such amazing combinations of objects as what it all actually means. The sculptor seems to enjoy provoking people in this wonderfully stimulating game of logic. It only goes to show that our eternal fascination and aversion to machinery is as much a reflection of ourselves as anything else.
All the works on display were created over the past 10 years in Ghiotti's hometown of Torino, a heavily industrialized place that specializes in the manufacture of automobiles. Ghiotti's work continues a long tradition of European art that explores the relationship between people and the machines that so dominate their lives. However, most art experts seem to agree that Ghiotti's work is neither an ironic criticism of the consumer society or an attempt at conceptual comment. In other words, his work just is, make of it what you will.
This is a unique chance to see a collection of Ghiotti sculptures all gathered in one place since most of his work is spread out around Europe. And anyway, Europos Parkas is always a wonderful place to visit. o
"Substance - Voltage - Form"
Joneikiskiai, Vilnius region
from 9 a.m. to sunset
Tickets: 6 litas (1.75 euros) -10 litas
for more info