JCDecaux Award 2023 exhibition ‘In Exchange to Ages’ at the National Gallery of Art

On 20 October, the National Gallery of Art (Konstitucijos pr. 22, Vilnius) hosted the JCDecaux Award exhibition “In Exchange to Ages”, organised by the Contemporary Art Centre and the JCDecaux OOH. The exhibition, presenting the work of emerging artists, interweaves folklore, gossip, electricity, weather forecasting, coding, and the ratio of metal to soluble minerals, while the expression of artistic ideas ranges from sculpture to performance.

Discussing their intentions behind the exhibition, the curators say: “From the moment you say a word or a fantastic image is conjured up in your head, when an HTML code is generated in the browser, when you enter the electromagnetic field of other bodies or a rain cloud forms over your head, to indefinitely long civilisational shifts or geological processes. In this exhibition, the artworks stumble on one another, meet in silent dialogue, scatter across the National Gallery of Art and enter into the nearby collection of art. Through the fragmented narrative we have invited viewers to exchange knowledge and beliefs that shape our daily reality into experiences lingering in the flow of different times and temporalities.”

The JCDecaux Award exhibition “In Exchange to Ages” begins on the third-floor balcony of the National Gallery of Art, where viewers are greeted by the artwork Partly Cloudy with Occasional Turmoil by artist Miglė Vyčinaitė, who lives and creates in Copenhagen. By employing cosmological concepts of time and space, and exploring the subtle connection between weather forecasting technologies – from contemporary machinery to magical practices – Vyčinaitė reflects on the history and present phenomena of weather forecasting. The weather is an intricate system and a shared experience which touches everything but, at the same time, goes beyond human perception. It inspires us to rethink our present-day outlook on the world and to look for new possibilities in a narrative that is often considered unchangeable, such as how events from the past materialise into the real effects of climate change.

“In Exchange to Ages” continues in the small temporary exhibition hall at the National Gallery of Art, where artist Joelis Aškinis, who lives and creates in Vilnius, periodically performs a continually evolving piece titled Staccato and holding back a smile. In the performance, the artist combines expressions and forms of speech, and presents information, narratives and references taken from the art field. The material is gathered from contrasting and interlacing sources: conversations between exhibition visitors, random interlocutors, cultural publications, art institutions and art history. Aškinis filters the prevailing and alternative opinions, semantic repetitions, and mellow or categorical reactions through a sieve of subjective interpretation, weaving together different opinions and the ways of presenting them.

The artist Urtė Janus, who currently resides and creates in London, presents the sculptural installation All the Seas Long Gone. With this piece, Janus offers us a glimpse our planet’shistory, spanning beyond the limits of human time and existence, which has led us to the present day. Janus’ sculpture is created using natural materials formed over different periods – salt, limestone, and human-made aluminum. When aluminium is affected by salt, natural chemical reactions occur, leading to slow and irreversible changes in texture and colour. By encoding the natural evolution of materials in her artwork, the artist reflects on deep time, human existence in a wider cosmic context, and the invisible processes constantly unfolding around us.

Sandra Golubjevaitė, an Amsterdam-based artist, exhibits the online/offline installation {ww} [-a] [-non]. In this work, she plays with ideas around the alternative activities of an autonomous server and proposes a different atmosphere of digital space. In the exhibition, webcams capture and automatically filter texts comprising informal language mixed with HTML code. The use of handmade texts highlights a slow, personal code-crafting method as a counterbalance to the speed of commercial production. The text is continuously re-typed and transmitted to the browser. Tata Frenkel, an artist and educator based in Vilnius, participates in the exhibition with an evolving interactive piece titled How One Becomes Antenna. Frenkel creates an immersive, physical, and speculative experience of how certain processes connect us in a circuit, how one’s body can become a ‘radio body’ or simply an invisible and omnipresent body, lightly floating in the air and eventually becoming an antenna. The public is invited to tune the audible frequencies themselves, by moving within the electromagnetic field around the antennas and exploring the electrical potential of their bodies.

Interdisciplinary artist Mykolas Valantinas presents the installation Mouth to Mouth, which spans two exhibition spaces. The focus of the work is a collection of carved walking sticks by folk artist Mečislovas Ežerskis, which has been temporarily relocated to the National Gallery of Art from his personal Museum of Sticks in Kelmė. Alongside the intervention displayed in the 4th hall of the NGA’s permanent exhibition space, Valantinas also presents a future archaeological artefact and documentation of two boys’ search for it. Combining the fictional finding with the real folk art of Mečislovas Ežerskis, the artist suggests new links and a dialogue between the handmade work and artificial intelligence, fantasy and fact, the finder and the creator, the artist and the history of art, and the anthropomorphic and our technological understanding of the human. The JCDecaux Award is an annual cycle of exhibitions initiated in 2016 by the Contemporary Art Centre and JCDecaux to promote the artwork of emerging Lithuanian artists, raising its profile in Lithuania and abroad, and expanding the public interest in contemporary art. Each year, the project’s curators receive applications through an open call, evaluate them and select participants to receive financial and institutional support for the creation and presentation of new artworks. The one-off award of €4,000, granted by JCDecaux, is awarded by an international jury to one participating artist or collective based on their artwork’s originality, relevance and artistic expression. The public is also encouraged to express their preference. The artist most appreciated by the public will be given the opportunity to present their project within the JCDecaux OOH network of public advertising spaces.

The exhibition runs until 3 December 2023 at the National Gallery of Art (Konstitucijos pr. 22, Vilnius). Opening hours of the National Gallery of Art: Tuesday & Wednesday 11am–7pm, Thursday 12–8pm, Friday & Saturday 11am–7pm, Sunday 11am–5pm.


Artist: Joelis Aškinis, Tata Frenkel, Sandra Golubjevaitė, Urtė Janus, Mykolas Valantinas, Miglė Vyčinaitė Curators: Kotryna Markevičiūtė and Ona Juciūtė Exhibition Architecture: Povilas Marozas Organizers: Contemporary Art Centre, JCDecaux Lietuva Dates: 20 October–3 December 2023


The project is financed by the Lithuanian Council for Culture