No matter how near Vilnius is, it’s always a bit of a journey. In search for contemporary culture you never stick to the city center, you circulate, move, walk, drive from one end to the other. Youngkim members arrived here early in the morning, and after a couple of espresso shots were ready to see Rupert centre for Art and Education, one of the kernels of Vilnius art scene, located on the city’s outskirts. A peaceful environment surrounded by wilderness is hosting Rupert residents here, giving them all the opportunities for both artistic contemplation, relaxation and intense work in the studios. Artist residency is an exceptional place where the concepts of work, leisure, process and result, research and presentation are fluid, and this fluidity is the most hostile environment for the art projects to ripe. Here youngkim met a Latvian artist Daria Melnikova, Rupert resident, who was previously collaborating with kim? a lot. What could be better than having an old friend as a personal guide?
However, we have to move on, and those who want some adventures inevitably end up at the CAC, Contemporary Art Center. A brutal white modernist whale in the heart of Vilnius had no exhibitions in it’s insides at the time of their arrival. Enthusiastic youngkim’ers were loitering around the vast empty halls accompanied by the CAC team members Audrius Pocius and Eglė Trimailovaitė, who were guiding them through this legendary institution, telling stories, articulating plans, answering questions, comparing the Latvian and Lithuanian art scenes. An empty contemporary art institution is never empty entirely, though. It’s full of material history, palpable future and, in this particulary case – a lively CAC birthday celebration youngkim’ers were more than glad to attend.
Just at that same time an international art fair ArtVilnius’17 was taking place on the other side of the city. Here in the huge exhibition complex Litexpo, youngkim found a vast number of exhibitions on view: crowds were walking around, checking the exhibits with the galleries on the map, galleries with the names, and the names with the prizes and prices. That’s how they actually ended up where they’ve started: at the Rupert pavilion in the middle of this pulsating art event. Different from others, Rupert has chosen a non-hierarchical way of displaying almost all of the artworks on the floor, contemplating materiality and the ambiguous status of how exhibitional space, material and biological forms are distinguished, individuated and evaluated. As Kathryn Lloyd has put it in her review, Rupert’s offering was indicative of the institution itself, as a facilitator of collaborations between artists, researchers and curators, presenting a cohesive ‘exhibition’ in opposition to its functional context. Perhaps, that’s not a bad idea of how we could work with contemporary art these days, is it?