The Baltic Notebooks of Anthony Blunt
Darius Mikšys. Behind the white curtain (Venice, June 2011)
Page 5 of 5
The narrow streets eventually open up onto the square, an L-shaped area dominated by a church. The light is dim and grey with foreboding. To the right is the building of the Scuola di San Pasquale; a few strings of bunting, stretching from it and over the square, shake lightly in the approaching wind. You reach the exhibition through symmetrical steps that join at the top, into an elevated central hall. A great, enormous white curtain divides the space, growing taller as your eyes move up to the ceiling. The works are entirely installed on this side of the white curtain, scattered, as if they had just attempted to escape from their storage space, or as if, in a moment of distraction, they had got lost on their way back. On the left, you notice a display of small objects, envelopes, photographs. There is an image of his shoes[*]
Dovilė Budreikaitė-Dagienė (b. 1981), Lithuanian State Grant in 2005
, which surprises you because he does not seem like the kind of person who would wear those kinds of of shoes.
Beside them, you find the keys to her house[*]
Aurelija Maknytė (b. 1969), Lithuanian State Grant in 2008
, where you think you might have slept once, one day in escapist, joyful discovery. Sitting on the bench, a scattered handful of people, their flip-flops dangling loosely from their feet, read copies of the same white book. The darkness of the room, their regular breath – for a moment you wonder what has brought these people here, how they found their way, whether they are really choosing what artwork to install next or whether, instead, they might all be here for the sole purpose of waiting for something. An ominous feeling, tension before collapse, pervades. This, you owe to the threat in the light, the wind and the weather, but also to the precariousness of the silence, punctuated by, from a monitor to your left, the sounds of a woman punching white paint into a black wall.[*]
Jurga Barilaitė (b. 1972), Lithuanian State Grant in 1998
Across the hall, a tall work desk, papers, more copies of the book. Leaving the desk, Darius Mikšys, wearing art-handler’s white cotton gloves, disappears behind the white curtain[*]
Darius Mikšys (b. 1968), Lithuanian State Grant in 2000
. You walk across the space and along the curtain. Behind it, the sound of objects being moved. You imagine stacks and stacks of crates, shelves, papers, works being brought into and out of view. As if shaken by the sudden thunder, the white curtain hesitates. You leave the exhibition, the desk.
The rain catches you, torrential, exuberant, as you try to find your way back to Santa Maria Formosa.
(with images from Darius Mikšys’s archive)