Audrius Gražys: freedom and power 0

Ramūnas Čičelis, 2016-07-07
Audrius Gražys. Installation “Sense of Freedom”, 2015. Photo by Deivis Slavinskas

In brief: The works of the artist, painter and author of installations Audrius Gražys who grew up in Klaipėda reveal the question which is old as humanity: can the man be free? Our freedom is constantly tested in the confrontation with the Other as man or thing.

The borders of freedom become clear in places where meetings take place. Audrius Gražys, who lives in cities of Lithuania, France and Belgium, is not the one for who separation is necessary for creating art. When we look at installations displayed by the artist in the fair Art Vilnius 2016, it becomes clear that freedom ends where contact with institutions begins. One of installations – four hens flying on a fan create the effect of hypnosis and persuasion. The man loses conscience for a while and may be persuaded of anything.

The installation of A. Gražys, in which the jackstraw ostrich is placed solid into a concrete column says to the viewer that freedom is not a status of effort and will. It is desubjectivation. Meanwhile, the painting of A. Gražys “To Cross the Yellow River” reveals the status when oneness is experienced: there are no categories of “here” and “there”, there is no past and future. The work is now and everywhere. The view of oneness is created by the fact that there is no line of the horizon in it. The absolute freedom in the painting reminds of eastern experiences – the artist travels in eastern countries a lot. Therefore, freedom for A. Gražys is the balance of the relation with the Other, desubjectivated statuses and minimal appearance in the field of power structures.

As for the painting triptych “Flair” of A. Gražys created on the motives of the book of memoires of Avromas Suckeveris “From Vilnius Ghetto”, they reveal the extreme captivity. Black marks on the white background are the signs of the Nazi coercion and “order”. The verbal text depicting experiences of Holocaust becomes a visual warning that discipline, control and everything that contradicts freedom destroys the individual as well as the subject of power in the end.

Therefore, the works and installations of A. Gražys reveal contradicting values: resolution, situations of choices, courage and openness, which are the main conditions for freedom.

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