Deimantas Narkevicius

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anti-Semitism, borderline experience, capitalism, democracy, dictatorship, everyday life, family, history, holocaust, homeland, identity, industrialisation, language, marginalisation, memory, myth, oral tradition, people, perception, revolution, socialism
Film (documentary, historical film, political film, video)
Europe, Baltic, Europe, Western
Lithuania, France
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May 28, 2003
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Deimantas Narkevicius
Deimantas Narkevicius; photo: Eric Boutin; courtesy gb agency, Paris


The dynamism of memory

Deimantas Narkevicius was born in 1964 in Lithuania and lives and works in Vilnius. He works in film and video taking a subjective and contemporary view of history. He has gained recognition at the highest level within the international art scene and represented his country at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001. He has a solid record of exhibitions world-wide and held solo exhibitions in France, Belgium, Lithuania and at the Munchner Kunsverein.
Deimantas Narkevicius was born in 1964 in Utena, Lithuania and lives and works in Vilnius. He graduated from the Art Academy in Vilnius as a sculptor and spent a year in London in 1992/93. On his return to Lithuania he was concerned with site-specific objects but a strong interest in narrative led him to record interviews and conversations with artists. This process evolved into an exploration of different narrative structures through film and video, the work for which Narkevicius is now best known.

Narkevicius is one of the most consistent and widely recognised Lithuanian artists on the international art scene. He represented his country at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001 and exhibits at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003 in ‘Utopia Station’ curated by Molly Nesbit and Hans Ulrich Obrist.

Since 1992 he has exhibited extensively around the world in group shows at many significant contemporary art venues and events. He showed at Manifesta II in Luxemburg in 1998 and has exhibited in London, Paris, Brussels, Vilnius, Manchester, Dublin, Vienna, Brussels, Helsinki, Stockholm, Zurich, Rotterdam, Melbourne and many other cities. Solo shows include ‘Either true or fictitious’, at FRAC Pays de la Loire in France in 2003 and ‘Deimantas Narkevicius Project’ at the Munchner Kunstverein, Munich in 2002.

Narkevicius described the themes and origins of his work at the 49th Venice Biennale:

´Although my works deal with contemporary themes, the underlying problems usually go back a long time. I started my work as an artist in a period of dynamic change for my society. The stress and neurosis caused by all the dynamism diverted this society from both historical reflection and future concerns. The ideological "orientation" that dominated for decades was - among other things - an attempt at creating a society above and beyond history. The new political situation re-inserted us into the rotating circuit of history, which inevitably requires a vision. But as we started working on such a vision for ourselves, things re-emerged from the past; phenomena that had been hidden under the surfaces of ideology. They lead us into uncharted, unwanted, unpleasant territory, muddling our vision of the future.´

Film works presented at Venice in 2001 were ‘Legend Coming True’ (1999, 68 min.), the story of a woman survivor reminiscing about the Jewish ghetto in Vilnius during the Second World War and ‘Energy Lithuania’ (2000, 17 min.), a documentary study of an electric power plant designed as an embodiment of optimism in the Modernist era. Narkevicius also made ‘Feast – Calamity’ a site specific installation that turned architectural detail into a light ‘post-sculpture’. The artist stated: ´The work takes place as light and darkness interchange. These two qualitative extremes do not mark a metaphysical dimension. They indicate, rather, the human, physiological reaction to changes in lighting, as well as the technological source for rays of light.´

In an interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist in 2002, Narkevicius spoke of the connection he sees between sculpture and his films. ´I think my film is a sort of extension of my sculpture. For Manifesta II, I made an installation using films. These films deal with space. The projectors were equally important. In terms of painting and sculpture, ‘Energy Lithuania’ is an ongoing image like a painting…. When I was making the film I was thinking of it as a documentary, but the connections with painting very much emerged during the editing process.´ Obrist asked about his process in making a film. ´It’s probably like making a sculpture, though not in the sense of modelling objects. Rather it is a matter of choosing an area in which you’re going to work. It’s more like a sculpture for a specific location. Within this area that you yourself define, I start to look for a certain structure. Because of the specificity of the medium, there are always things that I leave to happen in unexpected ways within the filmed objects and people, the unexpected surfaces.´

At Munich Kunstverein in 2002 Deimantas Narkevicius curated the exhibition of his own work. Critic Maria Lind wrote, ´There is something uncompromising about Deimantas Narkevicius’ way of placing the individual and his or her history at the centre of things. Nevertheless it is neither a question of a personal cult nor neo-liberal individualism. He is interested in people with ordinary lives, even though they live in a changing society, and in authentic and often existential biographical experiences.´ He showed ‘His-story’ (1998), ‘Legend Coming True’, ‘Energy Lithuania’ (2000), ‘Europa 54° 54’ - 25° 19’’ (1997) and a new work, ‘Kaimeitis’ (Countrymen).

´Deimantas Narkevicius uses recent Lithuanian history in order to question how it is possible to be creative and adopt an avant-garde position in a context that makes personal creativity and pioneering activity in general difficult.´ (Maria Lind)

SOURCES: based on ‘Giving Voice, Giving Body’ article for Kunstverein Munich by Maria Lind and an interview by Hans Ulrich Obrist with Deimantas Narkevicius on
Author: Judith Staines


Deimantas Narkevicius was born in 1964 in Utena, Lithuania and lives and works in Vilnius. He is one of the most consistent and widely recognised Lithuanian artists on the international art scene. He represented his country at the 49th Venice Biennale in 2001 and exhibits at the 2003 Venice Biennale. Narkevicius makes film and video works which uncompromisingly place the individual and their history at the centre of things. He is a conceptual artist, a critic and exhibition curator.



Exhibition / Installation,
2005 Petites Compositions entre amis, Séquence 2, gb agency, Paris 2005 Mémoires vives / Schwindel Gefühle, curated by Aurélie Voltz, Plattform, Berlin 2005 Delicious, Sint-Truiden, Belgium 2005 Black Market Worlds, The 9th Baltic Triennial of International Art, CAC, Vilnius, Contemporary Museum, Riga; ICA, Londres 2005 Prague Biennial, Czech National Museum, Prague. 2005 The Invisible Insurrection of a Million, Sala Rekalde, Bilbao, Spain 2005 Video Rental, e-flux space, New York, USA 2005 Do Not Interrupt Your Activities, Royal College of Art Galleries, London, UK 2004 Time and Again, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. 2004 Instant Europe, Villa Manin Centro d´Arte Contemporanea, Udine, Italy 2004 The Future is not what it used to be, Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig. 2004 Busan Biennale, Busan, Korea. 2004 Brainstorming, topographie de la morale, Centre d¹Art Contemporain, Vassivière. 2004 Focus on D. Narkevicius, 33rd International Film Festival Rotterdam. 2004 Films by Anna Klamroth & Deimantas Narkevicius, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee. 2004 Utopia Station Posters, DasTAT/Bockenheimer Depot, Frankfurt. 2004 The Role of a Lifetime, Second Video Festival, Kunstverein Muenchen, München. 2003 Now What?, Dreaming a better world in six parts, BAK, Basis Voor Actuele Kunst, Utrecht. 2003 Utopia Station Posters, Haus der Kunst, Munich; Museum in Progress, Vienna. 2003 Links, gb agency, Paris. 2003 Utopia Station, 50ème Biennale de Venise, Venice. 2003 Déplacements, ARC, Musée d¹Art Moderne de la ville de Paris, Paris. 2003 Nouvelles acquisitions, Musée d¹Art Moderne de la ville de Paris, Paris. 2003 Bareikis/Narkevicius, National Gallery Zacheta, Varsovie. 2003 Opening show, Die Brücke, Kölnischer Kuntverein, Cologne. 2003 Exposing Cinema, International Film Festival, Rotterdam. 2002 Die Aufgabe der Zeit, Kunstverein, Munster. 2002 Museum in Progress, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano. 2002 Nuits blanches, screening, Plus qu´une image, Paris. 2002 Détours, screening, Frac Basse-Normandie, Caen. 2002 Mare Balticum, National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen. 2002 The 8th Baltic Triennial of International Art Centre of Attraction, Old Printing House, Vilnius. 2002 Platform of Encounters, Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius. 2002 The Baltic Times, Gallerie im Taxipalais, Innsbrück 2002 Parc Humà, una exposicio de criatures globals, Institut de Cultura Palau de la Virreina, Barcelona. 2002 What is cinema, 31st International Festival, Rotterdam. 2001 Ausgeträumt..., Secession, Vienna. 2001 Wonder World, Kleines Helmhaus, Zürich 2001 Oh Europe, The Netherland Foto Instituut, Rotterdam. 2001 Affinités Narratives, gb agency, Paris. 2001 Egzotika, Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius. 2000 Innocent Life, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius. 2000 Inverse Perspectives, EDSIK, Stockholm. 2000 Re: songlines, Halle fur Kunst, Luneburg. 2000 Central Station, Milch Gallery, London. 1999 After the Wall, Moderna Museet, Stockholm. 1999 Lithuanian Art 1989-1999: the ten years, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius. 1999 Signs of Life, Melbourne International Biennial, Melbourne. 1999 Near and Elsewhere, The Photographers´ Gallery, London. 1998 Utopia, Chateau de Beaumanoir, Le Leslay. 1998 Manifesta 2, Biennale Européenne d¹Art Contemporain, Luxembourg. 1998 Cool Places, 7ème Triennial of Contemporary Baltic Art, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius. 1997 Ground Control, Beaconsfield, London. 1997 Invasion, International Saaremaa Biennial, Kuressare, Saaremaa. 1997 Footnotes, Municipal Museum, Reykjavik. 1997 Focus: Vilnius, Galerie im Trudelhaus, Baden. 1996 For Survival, Experience, Feeling¹, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius. 1996 Personal Time, Art of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania 1945-1996, The Zacheta Gallery of Contemporary Art, Warsaw; Exhibition Hall, Saint-Petersbourg. 1996 Subordination, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius. 1995 Compulsive Objects, Gallery Rubicon, Dublin. 1995 Art in Lithuania, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius. 1995 Mundane Language, ville de Vilnius. 1995 ARTEST, Kunsthalle Palazzo, Liestal. 1994 Non- recurring, Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius. 1994 Bread and Salt, Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius/ Edinburgh College of Art (1995) / Cornerhouse, Manchester (1996). 1993 The Delfina Studio Trust: Summer Exhibition, London. 1993 Between Sculpture and Object in Lithuanan, Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius. 1993 Good Evils, Picture Gallery, Kaunas. 1992 Forma Anthropologica, Tallinn Art Hall, Tallinn. 1992 Mare Balticum, Nordic Art Center, Helsinki. 1992 The Delfina Studio Trust: Winter Exhibition, London. 1991 Europe Unknown, TPSP Exhibition Hall, Krakov.


Exhibition / Installation,
2006 gb agency, Paris. France 2005 Once in the XX Century, Academy of Arts, Berlin, Germany 2005 Residency DAAD, Berlin, Germany 2004 Two Sculptures, CAC, Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius, Lithuania 2004 Film screening, Tate Modern, London, UK 2004 Foksal Gallery, Varsovie 2004 Deimantas Narkevicius Screenings, Roseum Contemporary Art Center, Malmö, Sweden 2004 Legend Coming True, Museum of Jewish Art and History, Paris, France 2004 Galerie der Stadt Schwaz, Tirol 2003 ´The Role of a Lifetime¹, Art and Sacred Places, St. Peters Church, Brighton 2003 ´Either true or fictitious´, FRAC des Pays de la Loire, France 2003 ´Déplacements¹, ARC Musée d¹Art Moderne de la ville de Paris, Paris 2002 ´Deimantas Narkevicius Project´, Munchner Kunstverein, Munich 2002 Galerie &: gb agency, Paris 2001 Galerie Jan Mot, Brussels 2001 Lithuanian Pavilion, 49th Venice Biennale, Venice 2001 One day film and video screenings, Moderna Museet, Stockholm 2000 ´8 x 16 x 35´, Contemporary Centre, Vilnius 1994 ´Unforced Reality´, Akademija Gallery, Vilnius


Film / TV,
- Moderna Museet, Stockholm, Sweden - National Museum of Contemporary Art, Oslo, Norway - Fonds National d´Art Contemporain, FNAC Paris, France - Musee d´Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris, France - Frac Pays de la Loire, Carquefou, France


Film / TV,
2003 ´The Role of a Lifetime´,Betacam SP video transferred on DVD, 16 min. 2003 ´Scena´, film 16 mm transferred to video, 10 min. 2002 ´Kaimietis´ (Countryman), film 16 mm transferred to video,19 min. 2000 ´Energy Lithuania´, super 8 mm film transferred to video,17 min. 1999 ´Legend Coming True´, super 8 mm film transferred to video, 68 min. 1998 ´His-story´, Two films: one in 35mm,7 min. and the other in 16mm, 30 s. 1997 ´Europa 54 54´-25 19´´, 16 mm film, 9 min.


1993 Residency, Delfina Studios, London


This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the partner institutions.

Art and Sacred Places

(04 October 03 - 29 November 03)


Jan Mot Gallery, Brussels


Hans Ulrich Obrist interview with Deimantas Narkevicius, 2002, under ´Features´ on website

gb agency

Artist´s gallery/agency in Paris
Legend Coming True
Once in the XX Century
Once in the XX Century