APPARENT/INVISIBLE. THE ISLAND OF PERCEPTION
The solo exhibition of Gints Gabrāns - the winner of arts prize
of the Hansabank Group.
RIXC Media space, 11. Novembra krastmala 35
May 25 - May 31 2005, 11.00 - 19.00
The title "Apparent - Invisible" can also be interpreted literally. The seeing
or sensation of light is caused by electromagnetic waves - a physical phenomenon
similar to infrared radiation, radio waves, cosmic rays, etc., that remain
invisible to our eyes. We can can perceive only a very narrow range in the
general flow of energy - an illusion our visual culture is based on, an artificially
modified island of perception in the blind ocean of energy.
The invisiable is also the unbelievable. The art is to show it.
Above and below the light
The invisible lake
The shadow of the rainbow
Above and below the light
More information about artist.
Organisers: Latvian Contemporary Arts center
Supported by: Hasabank group, VAS Latvenergo, RIXC
PERFORMING FOR REAL
By Mara Traumane
Text first published in Estonian Arts magazine. 2005.
Effect - that's the engine behind the most of the Gints Gabrans artistic motions. In a way, this is where my writers unease starts, as Gints repeatedly has asked not to refer to art in writings on his work. So art is supposed to be the least important detail to talk about, like the frame around the painting. Still it is this unsteady borderline between the artificial ("art") construction and the reality that he keeps exposing.
This might be traced as a part of the broken tradition of intended "trouble" in Latvian art. Gints Gabrans started out in the mid-90's within the generation of artists like Mikelis Fišers, Andris Fridbergs and Janis Vinkelis who combined the mockery of establishments and mental escapism in their ouvres. Just to mention tryptich of the doped Baltic presidents swinging after the alien DJ painted by Fišers or Fišers/ Vinkelis round the clock surveillance cage "Alvils Indriksons" in exhibition "The State" where person bearing this name was continuously monitored by surveillance cameras. Art critic Inga Šteimane attempted to attach the label of "message art" to this trend. For me the title largely fails in relation to Gabrans works because they seem rather infused by hints and ambivalences of situations. He is also the only of the group still visible in the current art field.
To my mind "Apparent/ Invisible. Island of perception" succeeded in the task
consequently pursued by this artist - eliminating the artwork. Meaning is
invested less in the formal solutions but rather in the exercise of mind,
but, unlike conceptualism, effect is based on the affluence of the real-life
The method how Gabrans got rid of the art-pieces in this show reminded me of the scandalous practical joke-statement from his past. In 98 he sold "his" artists page in the magazine "Literature. Art. Us" to the Zwilling knife company. The result was huge ad image of chopper complemented by slogan "Cutting is art". The scandal around 'mercantile' artist was aggravated by the ads clear reference to the sentence in the earlier Gabrans installation "The knife to cut your arse with".
The way his art looks and works has changed greatly since the 90's. Still the accomplishment of the classic colour scheme in the "Apparent Invisible" were the white circle is the sum up of the blue, red and yellow projector rays reminds me of the essential idealism that backs most of the Gints Gabrans projects. To mention - desire for happiness was the backbone of "Riga Dating Agency" tours, and Gabrans recent project "Starix" is far more about the media based fame factory for everybody than about the success pack of a certain bum. Formal appearances are just the tools of framing far more general and elusive quests, challenging individual and social preconceptions. "Its all in your head" as was stated once by the artist.
The catch is in the cut into reality. Gints Gabrans literary resamples everyday actions and structures into the exhibition showcase. With no innocent purpose. In some old interview he explains "We live in the constructed world. Fascinating is that the art is totally constructed too, and that second artificial thing breaks the rhythm".
Recent and I'd say mature Gabrans pieces seem to have kept certain features
of his harrasing and ironic early installations - he puts forward the antithesis
to the usual course of things. So "Imploding priest" appeared as subverted
- alive but passive, "closed" art object, drifting in another reality of sleep.
Elements are real and recognisable still all is fake and stripped of its function. What we see is the construct plunged in the anarchy of profane meanings versus the lofty ones. At will one could see the appearing and dissolving images in the mirror peace in "Apparent/ Invisible" as a paraphrase of this thinking. In a way that's the mechanics for setting off the basics of survival - doubt and caution in consuming these pieces.
Gabrans works are marked by the lack of balance - on the one hand they promise "wonder" of ideal on the other there is evidence of harsh trickery and incopleteness. The viewer or art critic is set to be the starving easel between these haystacks. And that's what "Apparent/ Invisible" marks out too - illuminated space for thinking about seeing and wanting to see. Gints Gabrans system for shutting out questions about art as art.