Magazine article Artforum International

Zilvinas Kempinas: Galerija Vartai

Magazine article Artforum International

Zilvinas Kempinas: Galerija Vartai

Article excerpt

Zilvinas Kempinas

GALERIJA VARTAI

Zilvinas Kempinas is a master of motion. His kinetic sculptures made of unwound magnetic tape, the chaotic movement of filmed images, and the motion of the viewer's body all create intertwined, often immersive, experiences. In his most recent solo exhibition, the New York-based Lithuanian artist presented motion both as a real-time experience and as an imprint of bodily gesture on a surface. By completely covering the numerous windows of the gallery, located in a nineteenth-century building, and blocking some entrances with his earlier pieces (such as White Noise, 2007) or even shifting angles of the rooms by adding false walls, the artist transformed the space into an isolated three-dimensional narrative.

In Untitled (Forest), 2016, a dark room with an upside-down video projection of a bicycle ride through woody landscape and a "forest" of metal tripods painted white and arranged on a reflective, glossy-black floor leave the viewer disoriented. There is no clear point of reference, just a psychedelic and somewhat frightening play of flickers and shadows of imagery on the walls and their reflections on the tripods and viewers' bodies. The visual density increases the awareness of one's own body and its often clumsy movement through space.

Kempinas is an avid cyclist, and the bicycle is a recurring motif in his work. The video installation Bike Messenger, 2006, documents his dizzying and dangerous ride through New York's Times Square at rush hour, while his recent wall-based series "Ride" and "Cycle Drawings," both 2016, depict traces of his bicycle tires after he dips them in India ink and acrylic and rides on long sheets of paper and canvases. Looking at the black lines zigzagging on colorful canvases and paper, one was reminded of the many examples of drawing and painting with imprints, from Robert Rauschenberg's 1953 Automobile Tire Print through Yves Klein's "Anthropometries," 1960, to the beautiful Zen for Head, 1962, by Nam June Paik, or, among more recent examples, the "Burnout" series, 2007, for which Aaron Young asked motorcycle riders to perform rubber burnouts on aluminum panels coated with paint. …

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