Galerie Fons Welters - Amsterdam

60W Magic

60 Watt. A measure of the strength of a light bulb. Perhaps the bulb that lights up in someone’s mind when a brilliant idea occurs to him, or maybe just a cheap, basic light source. In the work of the Lithuanian artist Žilvinas Landzbergas (1979), light is not only an important metaphor, but it is also a material to be sculpted and fashioned.

In his solo exhibition at Galerie Fons Welters, Žilvinas Landzbergas shows us certain transformations. Familiar genres such as landscape, still life, and portraiture are subtly interlaced. One wall of the gallery, for instance, has psychedelic wallpaper that initially looks like Op-Art. As they approach, viewers are struck by an almost auditory ‘buzz’. While the pattern itself creates an illusory third dimension and suggests perspective, real ornaments corroborate the illusion. A still life is created by the addition of an extra dimension from which we leave the landscape. The actual characteristics of the superimposed genres overlap and are extended in time and space.

Another wall encloses a small space; we look inside and see several rooms. It is not clear how large they are, or exactly what is happening there. They almost seem to represent a thought-space in which we see ‘Now’, but without being able to look round the corner at the future or the past. The light in the space guides us. We turn around, partly consciously, partly unconsciously, to the rest of the gallery. Our memory plays tricks on us, and the still life we have just seen stays with us only in fragments.

The two interventions in the walls are related to the other objects in the gallery, which make up a spatial collage. Dispersed around the space, they create a rhythm of eclecticism. The luminous head of a duck, a refrigerator, a tricycle. Each object has its own characteristic structure and reality, but is also linked to the other ‘props’ by Landzbergas’s visual language. In his exploration of light, material, and colour, the existing social references are linked to his own imagery. The result is a theatrical stage in which each viewer determines his own dynamic response. The space is shown to us at a pace determined by our own zapping behaviour, which takes us by the hand, as it were, constantly going off at a tangent, while in the meantime we forge associations and generate our own story.

The objects in the exhibition 60W Magic seem to address us and to reveal to us how accustomed we are to listening to them. In an attempt to grasp the rapid succession of products and images to which we are exposed, we are used to immediately classifying them and filing them away under particular references, without really looking. Žilvinas Landzbergas shows us not only a collection of marginal objects that we are sometimes inclined to forget, but also lights up the way to a new dimension.