Arvydas Žalpys, "I am all for contemporary expositions" 5

Neringa Krikščiūnaitė, 2015-05-25

In brief: Works presented in the exhibition "Stories. The Man. (Biography Never Written)", ranging from the white empty framed sheets of paper to video documentations where creating a story that included the past and current events as well as the personal future plans.  I had a conversation with Arvydas Žalpys about this exhibition, his work, influences, differences between contemporary and current art and experimentation in our current culture.


Arvydas Žalpys is an artist, a curator and the director of the gallery Meno Parkas. I was wondering how is he able to juggle all the responsibilities and whether he has time left for his art.

Artist says that his creative work suffers, "I do not have as much time for my creative work as I would like to. But this was my decision - I chose a job at the gallery, fully aware that I will have to sacrifice a lot of time and it will be on the account of my creative work. On the other hand, I have never linked the creative work to a daily work at the studio from the early morning (even though a majority of artists are doing so). Besides, that lack of time is not so bad after all, everything is changing. My thinking and my works have changed. Looking from my position, I would even say that it was all for the better for me. Everything is more concentrated, more conceptual. I can focus more on thinking and generating ideas. I do that even while driving of walking somewhere. A sketchbook and a notebook (or a small Scratchpad) is always with me to write down the suddenly born ideas.


I was wondering why Arvydas Žalpys exhibition reminded of post-its, like they were supposed to be reminding of something, documenting. Was it author’s personal documentation?

"Yes it was, but not personally about me," says A. Žalpys. "Every exhibition has its well-thought out idea. I would say that the concept of this exhibition is very clear. Everything appears as a certain part of the book. Book, which has yet to assign pages, chapters and etc. It is like individual finished and unfinished pages that form a book (process is still going on that is why we cannot see a whole book yet). As of now there are more images (illustrations), than text (just like in our favorite childhood books).


“I was really afraid that the exhibition might turn into my performance report - it almost coincided with my 60th birthday. We are really used to organizing retrospective and alike exhibitions for such occasions. I associate it with perception that after such "report- jubilee" exhibitions artist "retires." Thus, I was afraid and aimed at avoiding this consecutive, to me, in this case, boring and final narrative (whether I succeeded and how - is not only for me to decide). In the exhibition I present a process, which involves the past, which I aim to identify as present, relevant here and now; I want to say that this process is not over, that it is the process that is still going on.”



I asked Arvydas Žalpys to identify the place of contemporary art in Lithuania. According to him, situation is the same as in many countries, but he says, we should decide on the definitions of "today's art" and "contemporary art." "If we claim that all Lithuanian artists who are actively working now are creating the art of today then I would say that not a large part of them are creating a contemporary art. Without going into the theoretical definitions of contemporary art, I am simply stating my personal opinion. There are quite a few strong contemporary artists. In their work I can see relevant topics of life, politics, philosophy, culture, history and other themes being addressed. These artists boldly declare their position, they are not afraid of conceptuality, new means of expression, media diversity; these are the artists who are able to avoid my previously mentioned creative monotony.”

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