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Onsdag-fredag 12-17, lørdag 12-15


Adomas Danusevičius

29.09.2012 - 27.10.2012


Carmine (it. carmine < arab. qirmiz - cochineal + lot. minium - cinnabar (red pigment)) is a colour of paint extracted from a certain species of insects whose males have an ability to transform their gender and fertilize themselves when it is vital for their survival. Carmine is not just a natural pigment, but also a certain allegory, which Danusevičius employs as an allusion to the problems of shifting identity and queer lifestyle that he explores in his work.

The exhibition presents the artist's painting work and drawings from various periods. The ongoing series titled Carmine, started in 2009, tackles the theme of the army as a mechanism that embodies institutional power and the levelled individuals confined within it. The army, like the monastery, is a strict, hierarchical, markedly masculine environment, where the representational and politicised role obstruct any expression of sensuality, especially in its non-heteronormative forms. On the other hand, the system itself provokes this sensuality, which becomes all the more intense when it is being repressed. The rose palette of carmine alludes to love, desire and blood, simultaneously neutralising and sublimating the controversial subject matter of the works, covering it with a deceptively hedonistic veil.

One can view Danusevičius' works through the prism of Gilles Deleuze's theory of becoming, which the artist himself acknowledges as relevant. The characters' psychosexual identity is ambiguous, fluctuating between being a boy-man-woman, and is thus molecular. Partly because of that, the depicted faces are ephemeral, obscure, and sometimes absent altogether. Another reason is the fact that the deviants themselves are hiding in order to retain their social safety.

The opposite of a molecular personality is the molar configuration, which is not as productive and open to change due to its strictly defined nature. The anonymous political figures, suit-clad men or religious patriarchs who reside somewhere beyond the cognitive limits of simple people and make decisions that have a global impact, seen in many of Danusevičius' drawings, can be understood as representatives of this plane. They are the elite, agents of invisible power who manage the everyday processes. Yet their appearance is absurd: their gestures and postures look comic because of their hypertrophied trust in the power of the systems they represent.

The author reflects on the issues of male identity, (self-)representation, sexuality, masculinity, and fears, basing his insights on various philosophical theories, studies of masculinism, and even fairy tales that actualise the archetypes of masculinity (e. g. the book Iron John by Robert Bly (based on a tale by the Brothers Grimm) which highlights the role of a teacher and mentor and the laws of human civilisation in the process of a boy becoming a man). Danusevičius' daring, sensual, and intuitive work is a provocation that reveals polarising social aspects from a personal perspective as well as speaks out on common human issues. Working in Lithuania, a fairly conservative country where Catholic traditions are very strong, the artist is one of the few authors to boldly and consistently address the controversial themes of homosexuality and identity, and has made a significant contribution to the development of the discourse of queer aesthetics in Lithuanian art during the relatively short period of his creative activity.

Adomas Danusevičius (b. 1984) is one of the most interesting and talented young generation artists who lives and works in Vilnius. He graduated from Vilnius Academy of Art with an MA degree in painting in 2009. Has been actively participating in group exhibitions since 2004. In 2010 he won the third place in the Young Painter Prize competition, which aims to support the most promising young Lithuanian painters.

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