25/03 - 14/05/2023, opening 24/03, 18:00
sekretas (Lithuanian for secret) is an exhibition by Marija Olšauskaitė that peers into her long-standing affinity with the glares of glass. It focuses on a particular facet of her work that is attentive to the ways in which sculptural practice and the social lean into one another.
sekretas assembles suspended surfaces to look through, resting vessels to hold, vividly colored benches to carry, a vitreous pond, hand-blown tableware, reproductions of flowers in so far as the logic of glass permits, words jotted in notebooks, plants picked in Uzbekistan, and the company of friends and neighbors to keep.
sekretas borrows its name from an urban leisure activity practiced by youngsters in Lithuania and many other countries that were part of the former Soviet Union. Zestfully, children would enter a courtyard and place small objects under a pane or a found shard of glass: flower petals, golden bottle caps, shells, beautiful rubbish, and other idiosyncratic elements to be organized and composed into material expressions of friendship. The glass would then be covered with soil or dust, as a sekretas recedes from view. A fortunate passer-by or friend on the lookout might then find these secrets, these minute compositions of mundane, seemingly nonsensical elements, which would carry the greatest meaning for those who knew.
sekretas looks into that joint where sculpture, composition, and the making of social bonds revel in each other’s presence. Here, glass takes on a distinct role. It frames and shelters composition and friendship, both concretely and symbolically, while simultaneously prefiguring their fragility and potential shattering.
sekretas presents works that are imbued with a whimsical and slippery attitude toward the fixity of sculpture. They quiver between traditions of craft and ornament, the social role of sculpture, and the ways in which objects populate daily lives and customs. At the same time, Olšauskaitė’s pieces also harbor the idiosyncrasies of cryptic abstraction and enigmatic composition. Throughout her work resounds the tradition of stained-glass production, which flourished in post-war Lithuania, then often seen in public sculptures and state commissions. The artisans who remain in these glass workshops and whom Olšauskaitė continues to visit embody and transmit this artistry, which she, in turn, transforms and bends.
sekretas is punctuated by the appearance and vanishing of works by fellow artists, friends, and guests. Unannounced, their liminal presence will manifest itself throughout the exhibition.
sekretas is accompanied by an extensive public program that will unfold throughout the opening weekend. Moving between sonic contributions, a lecture performance, publications, and edible offerings, sekretas will be activated by Lauren Duffus, Antanas Lučiūnas / Ragemore, digestivo (Lucía Bayón and Lukas Meßner), Raimundas Malašauskas, BILL (Julie Peeters), and Han-Gyeol Lie.
sekretas will also be accompanied by secrets, a publication that gathers words, plants, and glass contributed by Elena Narbutaitė, Marija Olšauskaitė, Maria Tsoy, Aleksandra Krivulina, and Tom Engels, designed by Julie Peeters.
Marija Olšauskaitė (b. 1989, Lithuania) lives and works in Vilnius. Her solo exhibitions include Song Sing Soil (with Eglė Budvytytė), Vleeshal, Middelburg (2023); I Want to Stuff My Heart with Moss, Editorial, Vilnius (2022); Witness on our behalf, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius (2019); and Marija & Petras Olšauskai: Miss Bird, Art in General, New York City (2014), among others. Olšauskaitė participated in group exhibitions internationally, including The Milk of Dreams, the 59th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia (2022); and suddenly it all blossoms, RIBOCA2, Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art (2020); Homegrown, Hauser & Wirth, online (2020); I walk the night, PM8/Francisco Salas, Vigo (2019); Joy and Mirror. Port city, Fourtoseven gallery, Riga (2016); and Karaoke Police, Kunstverein, Amsterdam (2015), Nomas, Rome (2014), Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius (2013), among others.
sekretas is realized with the support of the Embassy of Lithuania in Austria and the Honorary Consulate of Lithuania in Graz.