Kim? Contemporary Art Centre
Off-site exhibition: BALTICANA

On April 7 Kim? Contemporary Art Centre in collaboration with Hessel Museum of Art and Centre for Curatorial Studies (CCS Bard) opens exhibition Balticana curated by Zanes Onckule. The exhibition will be on display from April 7 to May 26 in Hessel Museum of Art, NY. The opening of the exhibition will feature a performance Is Happiness an Illusion? by Vytautas Jurevičius.


Artists: Auseklis Baušķenieks, BRUD (Aditya Mandayam), Peter Fend, Vytautas Jurevišiuc, Tobias Kaspar, Ilya Lipkin, Ian Rosen and Collier Schorr.

Curator: Zane Onckule


While appearing during a resurgence of patriotism of various kinds – think of the naively pastiche treatment of the National throughout Centennial celebration programs in the Baltics-to far-right nationalism – think of the xenophobic phrases and far-right symbols haunting Poland and Germany-widespread across present day Europe and the world at large – this fabricated non-state – Balticana – is erected to posit a potential for a vitality and a generosity, a correspondence between the private and the (a)political that is not commissioned.


Society is comprised of people who seem to live in different universes. This is so because of the increasingly divided way in which we imagine the world and ourselves. Although my Balticana is my Balticana and likely, it is not your Balticana, this imagination is not solely individual, but it thrives on the social symbols and allegories that give meaning to what it means to be a part of something that has been framed as a “national imaginary.”


Balticana is a poetic exploration of obscure but illuminating connections between the historic, cultural, and sociopolitical contexts of the Baltic region, emphasizing a shared mood across art, society and behavior. Relying on artists, art works and ephemera, and departing from the particularly Baltic atmosphere of fog, the exhibition collects and weaves together metaphors — Portal, Mood, Faktura, Onion, Balts, and Balcans — central to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania to produce Balticana as a new allegory and imaginary fourth state.


Right to say that Balticana would not happen not being distanced from its origins as well as notbeing expressed in an adopted language. There would be no Balticana if researched, curated and written in Latvian or Estonian or Lithuanian, or Russian, there would be no Balticana if someone along the way would not address Yugoslavia, there would be no Balticana if a Russian lift driver from Brighton beach didn’t return a lost wallet.


The exhibition features painting, manuscripts, photography, and collage by artists such as Auseklis Baušķenieks, Peter Fend, Ilya Lipkin, and Collier Schorr, and a reflective panel by Tobias Kaspar, in addition to new commissions. The newly commissioned and site-specific works include an ephemeral light installation by BRUD (Aditya Mandayam), sound and performance by Vytautas Jurevičius, and an online intervention by Ian Rosen. The display of Balticana is conditioned by architectural elements, including one conceived as a portal into National, Philosophical, Historical, Contemporary, Absurdist, and Postcolonial dramas of the Baltic region.


Art works in the exhibition come from the Marieluise Hessel Collection, Zuzāns collection, and curators’ own private collection. Exhibition is accompanied with the thesis-research paper entitled Balticana.


Exhibition is organized as part of the requirements for the Masters of Arts degree at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard Coollege in collaboration with Kim? Contemporary Art Centre. The curator would like to acknowledge all those involved in the process of claiming and establishing Balticana.


Hessel Museum of Art in Anannandale-on-Hudson, NY, was established in 2006 as a museum part of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College. Titled after its patron Marieluise Hessel, Museum’s 17,000-square-foot exhibition space is dedicated to contemprary exhibitions. Museum also hauses the Marieluise Hessel Collection of over 1,700 works of contemporary art, including art works by such artists as, Sol LeWitt, Robert Mapplethorpe, Bruce Nauman, Cindy Sherman, Christopher Wool, and others. Permanent installations include works by Martin Creed, Olafur Eliasson, Robert Gober, and Lawrence Weiner.