The work of the Lithuanian film and video artist Deimantas Narkevičius (born in 1964, lives in Vilnius) addresses perceptions of history as reflected through contemporary and subjective points of view. Using various film and narrative strategies, Narkevičius combines a number of strands of historical development with personal experience, linking the people he films with the context of their urban and economic environments. Narkevičius studied sculpture, and he sees film making as the production of digital sculptures. His aim is to identify and define specific places with their own specific structures.
Galerie Barbara Weiss is pleased to be showing our first solo show by the internationally renowned artist, entitled The Dud Effect. Narkevičius represented Lithuania at the 49th Biennale in Venice in 2001, and has since attracted considerable attention – with his exhibition at the Berlin Akademie der Künste in 2006 and as a participant in Skulptur Projekte Münster 07, with his film Once in the XX Century. Most recently, Narkevičius received the Vincent Award 2008 from the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, in recognition of his oeuvre to date. In November he will be presenting a solo show entitled The Unanimous Life at the Museo Nacional De Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, and this will then move on to the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven in February 2009.
In The Dud Effect Deimantas Narkevičius is showing his first work, Europa 54° 54' – 25° 19', made in 1997, and also his most recent film, The Dud Effect, made in 2008.
A dud is a bomb that does not explode. The film is set on a deserted former Soviet missile base in Lithuania. During the Cold War category R12 nuclear missiles were stationed here that were aimed at the West. Narkevičius combines archive photo material with new film of the now semi-decrepit missile base and its enormous underground catacombs. The main protagonist, Evgeny Terentiev, is a former officer who served at a military base in Lithuania, like the one shown in the film. He demonstrates the firing of an R12 nuclear missile, following the exact sequence of commands as he recalls it. The Dud Effect thus shows a very precise fictional recreation of the firing of a missile, but staged for a contemporary audience, and it also presents a detailed exploration in film of the landscape with the remains of the massive missile base. The intention of the artist is to show the psychological perception and also consternation at the extent of the destruction that was possible.
Europa 54° 54' – 25° 19' is a 16 mm documentary film of a car journey the artist made one Friday morning in the 1990s, from his apartment at the time to the geographical centre of Europe. The narrative tone of the soundtrack reveals the reason for this excursion. The camera takes us through very ordinary parts of the city of Vilnius to the destination, which is just a few kilometres beyond the city outskirts.
Deimantas Narkevičius / Charlotte von Carmer