Deimantas Narkevičius, Revisiting Solaris Turku Art Museum, Darkroom, 16 April – 30 May 2010

MEDIA PREVIEW on Thursday, 15 April 2010, at 11am, in Turku Art Museum, Aurakatu 26, Turku.
OPENING on Thursday, 15 April 2010, from 6–8pm.
The artist will be present on both occasions.

Thursday, 15 April 2010, starting at 2pm, Deimantas Narkevičius will give a talk in English about his artistic practice in the Janus Auditorium in the Sirkkala campus, Kaivokatu 12, Turku. Admission is free and the meeting is open to the public.    

Darkroom presents Revisiting Solaris (2007, 18:28 min), a work by Deimantas Narkevičius (b. 1964), one of the internationally most prestigious contemporary artists in Lithuania. In the piece, Lithuanian actor Donatas Banionis (b. 1924), who played the cosmonaut Chris Kelvin in Andrey Tarkovsky’s film Solaris (1972), returns to the mood of the film. Tarkovsky based his film on the 1961 eponymous science fiction novel by Stanislav Lem (1921–2006). Narkevičius’ Revisiting Solaris is based on the last passage in the book, which Tarkovsky left out of his famous film. In the passage, Chris Kelvin walks on the planet Solaris just before returning home.

In Revisiting Solaris, a pensive Chris Kelvin walks in a place that resembles the setting of Solaris. The interiors were filmed in a Lithuanian television station and in a former KGB headquarter in Vilnius. The identity of the person in the work remains somewhat ambiguous, however, because in the opening credits the artist has identified Banionis as Chris Kelvin. Some 40 years after the completion of the film, the actor seems to have returned to his role.

The leisurely pace of the man creates a sense of reminiscing in the work. The texts are excerpts from Lem’s novels and Tarkovsky’s film. Everything is bound up with the ocean. When scientists study the planet Solaris, they discover that everyone arriving there acquires material projections of their personal experiences and memories. Thus, on coming to Solaris, Chris Kelvin meets his wife who had committed suicide – and he does so repeatedly. Those who have not visited the planet find it hard to believe such stories. One of the main themes of Solaris is that we see what we want to see. We project our expectations and emotions in such as way that they seem the properties of some other person, or even of an ocean.

The camera moves slowly in Revisiting Solaris, lingering on places and views and facilitating immersion in the film. The deliberate and confident camera movements give us the freedom to interpret the views as we like. Narkevičius’ work engages in an intense visual dialogue with Tarkovsky’s film. There are similarities also in the soundscape. Both works use music by Johann Sebastian Bach, although silence also plays an important part.

Deimantas Narkevičius has been making films for about ten years. He originally trained as a sculptor. For him, the medium of the moving image is analogous to sculpture in that it consists of assembling and combining things and making use of only the finest aspects of the material. Black-and-white photographs from Anapa on the Black Sea, taken in 1905 by the Lithuanian Symbolist painter Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, are an important part of Revisiting Solaris. Narkevičius is tantalised by the idea that, decades later, Tarkovsky had been shooting the same area of the Black Sea for the mysterious ocean in Solaris. A typical feature of the work of Deimantas Narkevičius is how he plays with timing. Photographs from the early 20th century link the piece to earlier history and to place, as does the actor's "new visit" to Solaris.

At the end of Revisiting Solaris, the artist appears in the film himself, to put questions to Chris Kelvin. The viewer cannot hear the artist's voice, only the actor's replies, which are identical to those given by the cosmonaut who visited the planet. The conversation takes place in the two men's native language, which inevitably directs one's thoughts to Lithuania and its history. Lithuania was the first Soviet Republic to gain independence in 1990. With great conviction based on personal experience, Chris Kelvin says that we must not destroy in the name of science something that we are unable to understand at present. Nor should science be regarded as amoral. Did the artist ask questions different from those in the original script? The question can be answered by Deimantas Narkevičius, who once said that it is easier to understand society if you understand how memory works.

The Darkroom series of exhibitions was launched at the Turku Art Museum in 2008. In the first year, the shows presented videos and media works by Finnish artists. Artists from the other Nordic countries were showcased in 2009. The year 2010 in the Darkroom is dedicated to work by artists from the Baltic region and from Russia.


Factory of Found Clothes (RU), 11 June – 12 Sep 2010
Gintaras Makarevičius (LT), 1 Oct – Nov.
Kristina Norman (EE), 26 Nov 2010 – 16 Jan 2011

Additional information:
Jenny Nybom, Curator
Tel. +358 (0)2 262 7094 or +358 (0)50 400 3248
Turun taidemuseo, Aurakatu 26, 20100 Turku, Puh. 02 2627 100. © 2018