Our dear readers, do you know those magnificent Ruperts of history, blessed with the name that means ‘of bright fame’? Rupert, King of Germany? Ruprecht von der Pfalz, our Teutonically named forebear? Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your perspective, Rupert is probably more likely to conjure up the Rupert of cuddly cartoon bear fame (fame?) or, according Wikipedia, a charming animated squirrel who features in a 1950s film (alas, not famous).
For this Rupert of Vilnius, was our name an error at the institutional baptismal font? A cunning exercise in cultural branding? An attempt to resurrect the cartoon squirrel? Yes, perhaps all are true. Whatever the origins and motives behind the name, we have now reached the venerable age of 5. And over those years many things, many people, many perspectives have made us who we are. Looking back and focusing on our future, bright fame and glory were and are not our aims; instead, a commitment to explore, to share ideas, to be curious.
This may have the ring of a self-congratulatory press release. And looking back we don’t want to be tiresomely smug, although we are proud to have the support of so many practitioners over these 5 years. But, we do want to celebrate. And this is why next month we are launching our 6th year with a celebration of our 5th with an anniversary publication that will draw together several contributions and objects from many of those who have been part of our 5-year development. In the spirit of Ursula Le Guin, the publication is like a bag and has the capacity to keep growing (you’ll see in January…) and so with it, we are looking forward to more voices, more perspectives and maybe some Ruperts in the future.
The forthcoming first edition of this publication was sold at our annual benefit dinner, which featured works by our residents and affiliated artists Joseph Pomp, Guy Oliver, Antanas Gerlikas, Laura Kaminskaitė, Jonas Mekas, Visvaldas Morkevičius, Philomene Pirecki, Pakui Hardware, Ona Lozuraitytė and Petras Išora, Daniel Rossi, Vytenis Burokas, Beatričė Mockevičiūtė, Rūtenė Merk, Viltė Bražiūnaitė and Tomas Sinkevičius, and performances by Lina Lapelytė, Robertas Narkus and Vytenis Burokas. We have to thank our generous artists and benefactors for their support and the lively dinner we all enjoyed.
Talking of nice dinners, you may have noticed how menus now regularly feature octopus tentacles to replenish the protein reserves of well-heeled diners. But wouldn’t it be better if we were like jellyfish and could regenerate our cells on our own without the need of such tentacular entrées? Well, the artist duo, Pakui Hardware, are coming back to Vilnius to explore just such ideas in science, culture and artistic practices in their performative lecture called the ‘Stressed out Jellyfish’, this Wednesday at Rupert. Stress (oh and holidays) are only a short tentacle away, but stay tuned for our programmes when we start our 6th year
Ona Juciūtė, installation view “Insects and Midges” from “Insider Outside”, the 6th Alternative Education Programme Exhibition, Rupert, 2018. Photo by Andrej Vasilenko.
Guy Oliver (UK) a graduate of The Royal College of Art (MA Painting), Guy Lives and works in London. With recent solo shows in London and New York, his work excavates the landscape of contemporary popular culture, primarily interested in notions of identity, masculinity, comedy and tragedy. His project at Rupert, entitled Mutual Incomprehension will document his time in Vilnius and also the unfolding geo-political news narrative occurring at the same time. Coinciding with the projected conclusion of Brexit, new 2-d and video work will explore the relationship between micro and macro identities and histories and the dysfunctions present within collective cultural and political expression.
Tuomas Ollikainen (Finland) – is a Finnish artist. He graduated from the Saimaa University of Applied Sciences Fine Arts department in 2015. He creates installations, which combine sculpture, video and sound art, photography, text and drawing. In his installations, Tuomas tries to employ both embodied and narrative experiences. Themes, which rise up in his work, can be political and actual, but also personal and exploratory in the field on human consciousness. At Rupert, Tuomas will be working on his multidisciplinary project “Floor -1”. The project researches the theme underground and presents questions about our relationship to it and the importance of ‘underground’ on the life on earth. This residency is supported by Joensuun Taiteilijaseura, the artist association in Joensuu.