Deimantas Narkevičius, The Dud Effect

The Dud Effect, 2008, 16 mm film on Blu-ray Disc

19 March - 19 April 2009
Mala galerija, Slovenska cesta 35, Ljubljana

Deimantas Narkevičius (born in Utena, Lithuania, in 1964) lives in Vilnius and works as an internationally recognized artist, critic, and curator. He works principally in film and video, with occasionally resorting to sculpture, photography, and installation. In his films he deals with the experience of collective history, primarily of Eastern Europe, seeing in these countries, which have been politically and culturally turbulent since the turning-point year of 1991, chiefly ideological self-awareness rather than reflections of individual personal histories or visions of the future.

In his works Narkevičius inventively uses historical footage to compose personal biographies, thus pointing out how easy it is to mythologize reality. He sees temporality and memories as key markers in contemporary society; he constructs past and future histories, and probes the interconnections between records, memories, and testimonies. The protagonists in his films reconstruct memories of their own experiences and synthesize them with imaginary events or incorporate them in the linear concept of history as a generally accepted truth. He explores the medium of (documentary) film by accompanying photographs and drawings with informal commentaries or by simultaneously employing various film techniques and narrative styles. His approach is clearly influenced by the tradition of the Soviet film and constructivist, conceptualist, and post-conceptualist strategies.

Narkevičius won international recognition as a representative of Lithuania at the Venice Biennale in 2001, by exhibiting at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin in 2006, and by presenting his work at the Skulptur Projekte Münster 07. In 2003 he participated in the Urban Utopias, Urban Realities exhibition, curated by Igor Zabel in the Mestna galerija Nova Gorica. In 2008 he won the Vincent Award from the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdan for his work, while this year the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid staged his solo exhibition Unanimous Life in collaboration with the Van Abbemuseum from Eindhoven and the Kunsthalle Bern.

In the Mala galerija in Ljubljana, Narkevičius is presenting his latest video installation The Dud Effect. It is set on a deserted former Soviet missile base in Lithuania. During the Cold War category R12 nuclear missiles were stationed there, aimed at the West. Narkevicius 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.

Exhibition curator: Igor Španjol.

Related events:

Lecture by Deimantas Narkevičius on 19 March 2009 at 6 p.m.

The project has been supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.

Opening hours: Tuesday - Sunday 10.00 - 18.00. Free admission.

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