Camouflage Masculinity

On Friday, January 24, at 18 o‘clock, the Exhibition palace of Klaipėda Culture Communication Centre (KKKC) (Didžioji Vandens street, 2) will host the opening of "Camouflage Masculinity" – exhibition by painter Adomas Danusevičius.

The exhibition displays the newest works by the artist. Their titles clearly indicate that the author is interested in social and cultural (de)constructions of masculinity. Researches on bodies of men and images of masculinity are not carried out so often. Actually, Adomas is one of the first in Lithuania to have started to create artworks focusing on queer topics and aesthetics, queering the usual rituals of "men‘s world" and questioning the patriarchal power structures and normative sexuality.

Adomas Danusevičius is a researcher-artist who has been producing paintings-situations. In 2009, he received his MA degree at Vilnius Academy of Arts, in 2010, he was the third winner of "Young Painter‘s Award", and currently, he has been carrying out his doctoral studies at the Academy. Adomas finds theory equally as important as practice, so his works of art have been of great interest both to "pure art" lovers who appreciate the original figurativity of his paintings and to the philosophizing young people who go to sleep with Foucault‘s books and wake up with Deleuze‘s ones. Some of Adomas‘ works have also been acquired by collectors from countries other than Lithuania.

Adomas Danusevičius‘ painting is intellectual and sensual. You cannot mistake his works for those by other authors. Not just because Adomas has mostly painted and drawn men – going in for sports, communicating with each other or entertaining themselves. The dramaturgy of his pictures is of great importance to the artist: the relationships between the agents, the audience who has been observing them, and the look of the viewer who has come to the exhibition. Along with that, the very look is of huge importance to the painter, the observation, the relations between the painting (the canvas) and the moving image (the screen). It seems that at the same moment, you are inside the picture as one of the viewers of the match, and are observing the action from the outside. You are in the sports hall and in front of your TV set at the same time. Moreover, you are in front of the body as a picture and the picture as a body. So where am I, after all?

It often happens that the viewer feels like checking his/her eyesight: "do I really see the things I see?" The border between the visible and the invisible, the things that are being demonstrated and things that are being camouflaged, are like a tense rope upon which Danusevičius‘ painting has been balancing. What are we really watching during a gymnastics contest, what is the primary relationship between the human bodies there? Why are the sportsmen painted before the contest, but not in the moments when all their energies are put forth? Are sports just an expression of power, but an expression of desire as well?

The answer lies deep in the title of the series: "Innocent Touches". But doesn‘t innocence really resemble the guilt? The denial of guilt or postuling of innocent relations arouses our doubts, while the artist allows them to flush. The author is conscious in creating situations where we can read a touch to the other‘s body both as a friendly and as a homoerotic gesture. The viewer chooses his/her way of reading, while the context of the artist‘s creative work and the means that he has been using encourage us to look for an unusual angle of view.

Art critic Laima Kreivytė

The exhibition will last until 13th March, 2014.