"Reeds’ Reading" by Algirdas Šeškus
8 December 2023 – 3 March 2024
A solo exhibition by Algirdas Šeškus Reeds’ Reading is the first as inclusive a presentation of the artist’s new paintings in Lithuania. Algirdas Šeškus has for a while been most broadly known for his photography work. His last solo show of paintings took place in 1991.
From several dozens of paintings produced in 2019 – 2023, twenty-three have been selected for this event. Of the artwork produced during this recent stage, only No. 0041, of 2022, was previously exhibited in Lithuania, at the 2022 event Sheets and Splashes by the National Gallery of Art of the LNMA. It will also be on display at the Radvila Palace exhibition.
The exhibit is accompanied by an album of paintings by Algirdas Šeškus, a publication from the LNMA, compiled by the exhibition curator Virginija Januškevičiūtė and the artist Gintaras Didžiapetris. The book also includes only selected paintings – some of them will be part of the exhibition, others feature only in the book.
The artist’s purified approach to art
According to the exhibition curator Januškevičiūtė, all artwork by Algirdas Šeškus, including his most recent figurative painting, is linked by his unique, purified-to-the glow approach to art.
‘Šeškus has compared his recent works to weathered candy wrappers, scattered by a lake. The only eyes that observe them are not of the artist or the viewer, but those of the reeds, which see everything yet nothing at the same time. The candies, the confectionary factory, the faces of the artists who designed the wrappers, and everyone who touched them (these faces and these wrappers) might shimmer somewhere in the distance, but the image of the painting itself dissolves somewhere in the shadows of the reeds, faded, separate, and immersed within itself. Along the shore, a viewer also stumbles, immersed in their own thoughts,’ the curator writes in the new book.
Painting, a medium more flexible than photography
Algirdas Šeškus, mostly known as a photographer during his long career, has also produced paintings, graphic prints and objects, has also published artist’s books and photography albums. Several years ago, after his long experiments with digital photography and printing, he put photography aside and took up painting again. Since then, he paints daily. According to the artist, he returned to painting having realized that compared to digital manipulations, painting facilitates for more precision and flexibility in creating an image. In his recent works, just like previously, a story or a motif are secondary. His work does not concern with social reality, but is a reflection on a rather elusive world of contemporary subjective intuitions, events and scenes.
‘I believe that many of the museum’s audience are assured of the subtlety, consistency and the unbending quality of Algirdas Šeškus’ art. His albums and photography can often be seen at the bookstores and other exhibitions. His art is the subject of scholarly research. For the past four years, the artist has put photography somewhat aside, and has dedicated himself to painting. This exhibition, which took a long time to prepare, provides a unique opportunity to see, with your own eyes, his most recent artwork. No less thrilling is the fact that most of these paintings have not yet been shown in public and they leave the intimate atmosphere of the studio for the first time,’ the curator of the exhibition Virginia Januškevičiūtė unpacks some of the event’s context.
The architecture of the exhibition, and the moving outside the space of museum
The meandering space of the Radvila Palace museum with its unique arrangement of exhibition rooms abounds in interesting vistas and the play of shadows created by the openings of the doors connecting these places. A perceptive viewer will note the differing in character ceilings and the arches of the entrance niches of this ‘maze’, a testament to the building’s rich history. The paintings are allowed to spread out within these spaces with a natural ease, unrestricted by any supporting architectural elements, frames or colours.
There is a surprise awaiting the visitors of the artist’s favourite café Coffee Spells (Pylimo St 38C, Vilnius): some of his paintings will be on show there for the duration of the museum’s exhibition. He is a regular at the café, going there, just like to his studio, daily.
From Lithuania to New York City
The artist’s photography created in 1975–1985 has already entered the major Lithuanian and the world’s collections, among them, these of MoMa NYC and Reina Sofia in Madrid, it was featured by the 2017 edition of documenta in Kassel. His works are in the collections of the Lithuanian National Museum of Art and of the other Lithuanian museums, in the Bibliothèque nationale de France and private collections in Lithuania and abroad.
When Algirdas Šeškus returned to painting, the first presentation of his new creative period was by the Spanish gallery PM8, which represents Šeškus and several other Lithuanian artists. In 2021, the gallery housed his solo show Balandis. Shortly afterwards, Šeškus’ paintings shined at Frieze London, the fair which relies on a careful selection of the young galleries receiving invitations.
Organiser Radvila Palace Museum of Art of the LNMA
Supporter BTA draudimas
Curator Virginija Januškevičiūtė
Coordinator Viltė Visockaitė
Assistant Gintaras Didžiapetris
Graphic designer Vytautas Volbekas
Radvila Palace Museum of Art,
24 Vilniaus st, LT-01402, Vilnius, Lithuania
+370 5 250 5824