Laisvydė Šalčiūtė "Secrets"

On the 29th  of March at 5pm, the opening of Laisvydė Šalčiūtė exhibition “Secrets“ will take place at the Klaipeda Culture Communication Centre exhibition spaces (Didžioji Vandens str. 2,Klaipėda).

The exhibition consists of a series of photographs, installations, and a video film, where the author explores the human gaze, tensions it creates, and transformations of relationships. Laisvydė Šalčiūtė reflects on and emphasizes the power of a gaze to turn the subject into the object and vice versa.

Using water (which, according to oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, is the ultimate symbol of love) as the core of artistic expression in the series, the author transforms the traditional approach towards the power of a glance. She observes how a male photographer represents a female body through the photo lens, as if designing it / taking it apart and turning it into a playground for his fantasies.

By taking photographs herself, L. Šalčiūtė reflects on the subject's place within the mechanism of a double vision and glance, and emphasizes the moment when the subject itself being in possession of the power of a photo lens becomes observed both from the side and from the object‘s perspective – from outside and inside –  and thereby as if looses its power and becomes an object itself.

According to the exhibition curator Laima Kreivytė, Laisvydė Šalčiūtė‘s "Secrets" is a transformation of a  child‘s game into an adult mystery. "Secrets" is like a flower arrangement pressed on with a piece of glass, covered with soil. It is not an image that is the most important here, but the fact that it is a secret. The secret to be shared only with the best friend. Exchanging confidences and (non-) preservation of a secret creates magical power of "secrets". When revealing a confided secret to a stranger’s gaze, you expose both yourself and the secret keeper.

Laisvydė transfers the structure of a secret into her installation. It consists of photographs, mirrors, a  square of soil, and a video. The artist  splits the found photographic images of women into fragments and "hides" them under water and glass. The most vulnerable parts of the body become the dead blossoms drawn from the darkness of the memory by the gaze of a viewer. Secretly seen images are disturbing but they also open up mechanisms of the subconscious, which are revealed in the best way through mythological images.

After entering the hall, a  viewer is caught by the petrifying glance of Medusa. Although the women looking out from the photographs do not scare with snakes for hair, they confront you with what is usually concealed in public. Uncovered intimacy questions the power of a glance – a secret made public is no longer used for blackmailing. A female body converted into an object turns from a pleasant sight into a source of vague threat. It itself becomes an observer which makes us, the audience, its objects – as if turning the mirror on our voyeuristic stare. Medusa's head is separated not only from the body but also from the shield of Athena.

No one is safe from the killing gaze.

Curator: Laima Kreivytė

The Exhibition will run until 28th April, 2013.

Ilustration:  Laisvydė Šalčiūtė “Secrets“