Robertas Narkus: Full Moon

14 September - 28 October 2023

We are thrilled to announce that on September 14th, the VARTAI Gallery will present the solo exhibition "Full Moon" by Roberts Narkus.


“This exhibition was supposed to be called Torso and talk about the Beijing bikini*, the changing beauty standards, six packs, the midlife crisis, and ikebana practices (well, and suicide statistics). But it all turned out somehow differently, and now the exhibition is called Full Moon. My father used to blame my mother’s bad mood episodes on the full moon, and it seems that I’ve been programmed in the same way: being sensitive to the moon’s cycles provokes reactions that sometimes turn into acute creative outbursts, and other times into unreasonably wild parties, discharges, or discoveries.


When the exhibition opens next Thursday, the moon will be as thin as the rim of a wine glass. A promising and auspicious time, they say. The exhibition is based on highly subjective and random black and white photograms which turn into maps of the future, domestic magic, and abstract visions of science fiction. In his book The Community of Those Who Have Nothing in Common, Alphonso Lingis described an African tribe’s fortune telling ritual performed by throwing thirteen sticks on the ground; as I look at the images that slowly emerge in the developing chemicals illuminated by red light, I often come back to that passage: every photogram is a little bit of a sign, a little bit of a prediction, always an event, a moment.


So basically, what began as an attempt to reflect on “crocodile tears” – that’s what I wanted to call my short-term (now past) obsession with the midlife crisis (I mean, I’m hitting forty in a couple of weeks) and my desire to “condole” with ordinary, highly lost men – has become a plan of escape, a quest, a game of discovery and fulfilment. Over the summer, I seem to have “recovered” from the Biennale, the children and the loans; I guess my former feeling sapped and exhausted was rather well-deserved. But today, it looks like the leaven of optimism is foaming again. Come and celebrate the eternal dance of light and darkness.” – Robertas Narkus


 * In China, a popular – though officially forbidden – men’s fashion trend of wearing their T-shirts and shirts rolled up to expose the belly


Robertas Narkus (b. 1983, Lithuania) is an interdisciplinary artist, initiator and leader of experimental art, management and food industry organisations such as the Pataphysics Institute, the Artists' Daycare Centre Autarkia, the Experimental Engineering Camp eeKūlgrinda, and the restaurant Delta Mityba. Narkus describes his art practice as contingency management in changing economic circumstances. By hyperbolizing and lightly ironizing the existing nebulous neoliberal world systems of power, entangled by other mechanisms as well, and often generously using the tools they offer, Narkus creates his own unique new order.


Robertas Narkus represented Lithuania at the 59th Venice Biennial in 2022. His solo exhibitions have been held at eastcontemporary in Milan (2023), Galerija Vartai in Vilnius (2020), David Dale Gallery in Glasgow (2019), Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius (2017) and Tenderpixel in London (2015). Narkus’ works have been presented in important international group projects at de Appel in Amsterdam, the 12th Baltic Triennial, Kaunas Biennial and the 5th Marrakech Biennale.


Patrons: Renata ir Rolandas Valiūnai

Exhibition supported by: Lithuanian Culture Council

Gallery supported by: Vilnius City Municipality, Lietuvos Rytas, Vilma Dagilienė, Romas Kinka, Ekskomisarų biuras, MailerLite, Plieno Spektras

Graphic design: Taktika Studio

Installation Views