Žygimantas Augustinas. Guarantee

28 May – 20 October 2024

There are unanswerable questions. The Greeks had found a partial solution to this problem. The Delphic Oracle provided answers to mythical heroes and ordinary mortals. Before entering the temple, the visitors were greeted by three inscriptions: the well-known ‘know thyself,’ the lesser known ‘nothing to excess,’ and the third, the meaning of which has been disputed for several thousand years, clearly links surety (certainty) with misfortune. 


Contrary to the Greeks, in today’s world uncertainty has acquired a negative meaning. Efforts are made to eliminate it from all areas of life. The less room for randomness, uncertainty, the better. ‘Guarantee’ is the literal translation of the word Ἐγγύα of the third Delphic maxim. Somewhat ironically it appears in the title of the exhibition. Warranty is an inseparable attribute of modern everyday life, which applies to the purchase of a switch and also when talking about political reality. We want guarantees everywhere and we seem to be getting them. But when reality shows its breadth, the web of certainty crumbles and uncertainty opens up in the gaps. Thus, it remains to ponder how to live in such conditions. 


The exhibition begins with portraits of everyday characters slumped in office chairs, wearing sweaty T-shirts or new suits. These characters seem a little tired and unhappy, just like everyone else. Uncertainty can open up anywhere and unexpectedly. The turn of everyday life in the history of this exhibition is marked by the date of one painting – 24 March 2022, when everyone felt the uncertainty. How to live on? In the exhibition, Augustinas leads the audience on a path of uncertainty. He begins with the Hamletian question ‘Who am I?’ only here, the words and the stage are replaced by the canvas, the study, and the introspection. 


What can be more realistic than oneself, one’s body, one’s expressions, one’s reflection? Why is it possible to be more authentic? At this point, it seems, the basis (or a guarantee) can be found. Yet looking further into Augustinas’s works, the comfortable feeling of knowing who one is begins to slip. Self-portraits leave their bounds. The artist transfers his skin, muscles, and expressions first to everyday people, then to historical characters. The real ‘I’ seems to vanish. ‘Who am I?’ incarnates into others. Self-image multiplies. The sole original is gone. The authentic one disappears. And what remains? Imagination, play, laughter, irony and the doubt that, perhaps, certainty is not so necessary. (Just like a thousand years ago.) 




Akvilė Anglickaitė 


Design studio MOA 


Vilmantas Žumbys 


Gabija Kasparavičiutė-Kaminskienė 


Vilnius Academy of Art 


Works generously provided by:  

Noewe Foundation

MO Museum 

Ieva Burbaitė 

Algirdas and Remigijus Gataveckai 

Marius Grinevičius 

Dalia Gruodienė 

Monika Krikštopaitytė 

Vilmantas Marcinkevičius 

Rūta and Tomas Osencovai 

Other private collectors   

4 Didžioji st, Vilnius, Lithuania
+370 5 261 1685

See also

Exhibition opening

Žygimantas Augustinas' exhibition "Guarantee" at Vilnius Picture Gallery of the LNMA shows the rewriting history and reflections of uncertainty