Considered the best known Lithuanian artist on the international art scene, Deimantas Narkevièius (Utena, Lithuania, 1964) has developed his career mainly through cinema and video, although he has casually approached sculpture. His work is an investigation of how history is perceived and what the mechanisms are that transform it from various utopias and ideologies.
Narkevièius rejects an excessively academic posture to his work, distancing himself from the label of the documentary. The artist, originally trained as a sculptor, lives experience of a course in London (1992-93) and returns home just at the moment of the disintegration of the Soviet Union, moving to the realm of cinema, video and installations. Lithuania's transition from a Soviet society to a democratic state allows him to analyse the collective memory from a critical and subjective standpoint, while reflecting on today's society and historical time. His audio-visual works are based on interviews and real events and move between a present that he does not like and a past that he does not recognise as his own. Narkevièius places the spectator at the rupture between what has actually been lived and what is imagined through films that interpret history as an instrument that is constantly moulded in order to produce myths from reality. They are testimonies from oral memory coming from all kinds of people, counter-memories from official and bureaucratic life. His name sprang onto the international scene as a digital sculptor -a multimedia artist able to overlap the most different cinematic and narrative techniques- when he represented his country at the 49th edition of the Venice Biennale in 2001.
The exhibition La Vida Unánime is the largest retrospective of Narkevièius’ work to date. Composed of twelve films (almost all of his filmography), filmed between 1997 and 2008 in video and 16 mm format. The artist bases himself on documentary film, from the subjectivity of the painter and from the spatial experience of the sculpture. In them, the artist explores the social evolution of Soviet post-war Europe with videos about nuclear missile launch bases, the removal of a statue of Lenin or the Jewish resistance in Lithuania in the middle of the century. The projections that accompany the installations, Concurso individual y por equipos (1995) consist of a rack, trampoline and trellises, and Guerra Santa (1996), a collection of military boots filled with incense and hanging on the wall.
Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, The Netherlands (February 28 - June 1, 2009); Kunsthalle Bern, Bern, Switzerland (October 24 - December 6, 2009); Kunsthalle Brandts, Odense, Denmark (March 4 - May 30, 2010)