The international contemporary art fair ArtVilnius is the biggest art fair in the Eastern European region, which this year is celebrating its one-decade anniversary. ArtVilnius’19, the tenth iteration of the fair, took place at the LITEXPO exhibition and congress center in Vilnius, Lithuania. On this occasion the exposition ‘In Art We Trust’ was held in the non- commercial project zone of the fair. ‘In Art We Trust’ was an exposition where trust in art was revealed through various interpretations of Biblical motives presented in the form of old and contemporary international artworks from the one of the biggest private art collections in Baltic region – the Lewben Art Foundation. The chairman of the board and the collector of the Lewben Art Foundation Vilius Kavaliauskas few years ago became a member of Eastern European Acquisitions Committee at one of the biggest museums of the world - London based Tate Modern.
A part of the Lewben Art Foundation’s collection was presented in the project section of the fair. Luminaries of the Tate, MoMA and international biennale scene – such as Andres Serrano, Jake and Dinos Chapman etc. – require no introduction in the context of the contemporary art world.
IMPLMNT architects few years in the row were selected to design the expositions for the Lewben Art Foundation. The architectural idea of the exposition this year essentially corresponded to the curatorial idea of the exhibition. Two motives were combined here – the contemporary interpretation of the theme of Christian Iconography and the dialogue between old and contemporary art.
The exposition structure came from centuries old, ordained and highly canonized interpretation of the church and it’s perimeter lines as a house of a religion. Its appearance in the space was like an iconic, highly acclaimed, even egocentric object in the urban structure of the city.
However, the chosen materiality completely confuses the concepts. If religious buildings, as a rule, are a collection of solid, durable materials, in this exposition they were replaced by completely modern, fragile, even non-organic materials. This symbolizes a certain extremity.
The structure of exterior walls consisted of steel profiles [used to install light partitions] and large size polycarbonate panels. The structure shined by scattered, non-concentrated light, unlike the dark walls of churches, its transparency and light created heavenly-mystical sense of environment. To create that kind of the atmosphere helped the architecture of hangar-type exposition center, naturally opposing to the traditional religious space. That is why the architects left it not covered, exhibited, thus creating a real situation of extremity. Transparent walls interpret the curatorial idea - the transcendence of ages. Massive and mysterious masonry of a church is transformed into a transparent screen that allowed the viewer to approach the mystery of the ages.
Exposition architecture is not a statement or vision of today's religious space, it is more a space for questions, individual interpretations, or doubts.