12th June, 12 am

Seminar: Historical Transformations of Places for Prayer

Rupert kindly invites you to the seminar ‘Historical Transformations of Places for Prayer’, with a talk by historian and Kėdainiai regional museum director, Rimantas Žirgulis, and a presentation by the artist and current Rupert resident, Erdem Taşdelen. The seminar will take place on the 12th of June, from 12 am (noon) at the Kėdainiai regional museum multicultural centre (Senosios rinkos sq. 12, Kėdainiai). The presentations will be given in Lithuanian and English. The event is part of Rupert’s public programmes and is free and open to all.

Historian Rimantas Žirgulis will briefly present Kėdainiai as a city of reformation and a ‘city of six confessions’ in the 17th century. He will underline and discuss the transformations of the many places for prayer in the city.  At the end of the 16th century to the beginning of the 17th, the catholic church was taken over by the evangelical reformists. By the end of 18th century, the first evangelical reformed church entered into decline. During the second part of the 19th century, the governor of the city, Count E. Totleben built a minaret for the decoration of the city park, and toward the end of the century the first orthodox church was moved to the cemetery where it became the precinct’s chapel. During the Soviet era, the evangelical lutheran, evangelical reformed, the catholic St. Joseph churches as well as three synagogues were closed and nationalised. They were transformed, respectively, into a leather warehouse, grain warehouse, sports school, electrical hardware factory and Rajkoop union warehouse. The Catholic St. George church and orthodox Transfiguration of Christ churches were the only ones left open. Later, along with various other places for player, their initial function was restored or became centres of culture and education.

Erdem Taşdelen, Rupert’s June resident will begin developing a video and sound installation project titled A Minaret for the General’s Wife. In this informal presentation he will outline his interest in taking up the Kėdainiai Minaret as a metaphor for the cultural experience of being out of place in this work-in-progress, and trace a brief history of the evolution of laiklik—a conception of secularism adopted from the French laïcité—in the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey.

Rimantas Žirgulis is a historian, director of Kėdainiai regional museum, he is the author or co-author of many exhibitions, publications, articles and academic conferences. He is the initiator of the restoration of the Duke Radvila mausoleum at Kėdainiai Evangelical Reformed Church;  the establishment of a multicultural center in the winter synagogue, the establishment of monumental plaques for Vilnius Gaon Elihaju (1997), Kėdainiai Jewish Community (2006), A. Freitag (2008), Stolypin (2011); establishment of monuments-installations: Miloszfon (for Nobel Prize Winner, Kėdainiai Region Honorary Citizen Cz. Milosz) (2011), ‘Shoa. Ich bin Keidaner’ and ‘the Wall of Memory’ (Jewish communities of Kėdainiai, Šaita and Žeimiai murdered during the Holocaust) (2011), for the Nazi-killed European Jews (2017), and the destroyed E. Totleben Palace (2017). In 2015, he was awarded the the Cavalier Order for merit to the Republic of Poland.

Erdem Taşdelen is a Turkish-Canadian artist who currently lives and works in Toronto. His practice is rooted in conceptualism and involves a range of media including installation, video, sculpture, sound and artist books. His diverse projects bring self-expression into question within the context of culturally learned behaviours, where he often draws from unique historical narratives to address the complexities of current sociopolitical issues. Taşdelen’s work has been shown in numerous exhibitions internationally. He was awarded the Joseph S. Stauffer Prize in Visual Arts by the Canada Council for the Arts (2016), the Charles Pachter Prize for Emerging Artists by the Hnatyshyn Foundation (2014), and is currently long-listed for the Sobey Art Award.

Rupert programmes are partially supported by the Lithuanian Culture Council. Erdem Taşdelen’s residency at Rupert is supported by Canada Council for the Arts and Office of the Canadian Embassy to Lithuania.

Event partner: Kėdainiai regional museum