Critics’ Picks

  • Laura Kaminskaitė, Two Pocket Umbrellas, 2021, glass, two sugar cubes, dimensions variable.

    Laura Kaminskaitė, Two Pocket Umbrellas, 2021, glass, two sugar cubes, dimensions variable.

    Vilnius

    Laura Kaminskaitė

    Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius
    Vokieciu 2
    March 19–April 25, 2021

    The scale of the great hall of Vilnius CAC is intimidating. For her first comprehensive solo exhibition, “Double Double,” Laura Kaminskaitė didn’t try to fill it with humongous objects or heavy-handed gestures. On the contrary, she created an atmosphere so subtle, dreamlike, and light that even such apparently solid things as stairs seemed like they might evaporate into thin air. Poetic texts written by the artist are dispersed around the space; language here is tricksterish and evasive, like a magician’s hat with a double bottom. A performer occasionally enlivens the space, twisting her bodies in, on, and around the objects on display. Sometimes she becomes a shadow of the viewer, mirroring their gestures; sometimes she behaves like an animal or a mischievous child.  

    Half of the hall is filled with soothing pink light, creating the impression of the kind of summer dawn one greets while walking home after a (too) long night out. In fact, the whole show suggests the experience of a nocturnal dérive through the city, from “Night Shifter,” 2019–2020, a series of enigmatic abstractions in blue ink, made only  on late evenings, to the video Night Drive, 2021, with its found footage of a ride after dark through Vilnius, gleaming with lights and devoid of people—a brief chronicle of suspended time in quarantine.

    Pieces of bar furniture, stripped down to their metal skeletons in the installation All the Things You Make Me Talk About, 2020, invite you to lean against their cool surfaces and divulge your secrets to a sugar cube (Sugar Entertainment, 2011–) resting on a tabletop. It will absorb them quietly, spilling them only to the water in which it will eventually dissolve. When your stroll is over, you can rest on the stairs next to a reversible martini glass that holds all those accumulated secrets, swimming in sweet liquid.