2020 October by Kotryna Markevičiūtė and Yates Norton


IntroductionIn October 2020, Rupert presented a group exhi-bition, Other Rooms, which included new commis-sions and existing artworks from seven artists: Kah Bee Chow; Leah Clements; Milda Januševičiūtė; Renée Akitelek Mboya; Joshua Schwebel; Edward Thomasson; Romily Alice Walden. Among the many reasons for developing this exhibition was our wish to celebrate and to bring back to Vilnius some of the brilliant artists who had been part of Rupert’s programmes and to explore with them what ‘structures of support’ can mean and do. As we wrote in the exhibition’s opening statement:

‘Support structures extend in complex webs in which we are inextricably, helplessly tangled. These structures can be fragile, sometimes rough and awkward. Often, they are hardly-noticed gestures, feelings and atmo-spheres, like the texture of a blanket in a hospital that is soft to the touch or the sound of a voice that sustains a memory. They can emerge from our local environment and they are built from tiny details and with care, atten-tion and tacit understandings. These structures of support form a kind of erratic vernacular architecture, woven together with stories that are gath-ered, shared and reconfigured. They might keep things going or nudge us toward repair and restoration. They can give us the capacity to imagine, daydream and hope when it feels as if there is little time, space or energy to do so.

At certain periods–like the one we are living in now–these webs of support and the care and work that builds them up may come into relief. Often, it is these moments that show us how to move out of the closed, dark room of individualism and competition into a vast web of interdependencies.’The articulation, fragility and intimacy of these structures of support have informed how we look at the artworks in this exhibition, for instance, how a work may appear as a manifestation of already existing structures of support or a representation of their absence. Furthermore, we wanted to put our attention on the vital conditions that allow an artwork to be made, maintained and displayed. Often, in curatorial practices and exhibitions, we don’t take enough time or space to reflect on these conditions–they can be deemed no longer ‘relevant’ or ‘interesting’ once they reach the ‘neutral’ space of the gallery and enter into the exhibition’s particular narrative. What makes up these conditions? So many things, visible and invisible, tacit and explicit: friendships, daily routines, connections, institutions, emotional and physical health, conversations, funding, acknowledgments, the movements of the Moon and Mercury and the furniture and architec-ture on which our lives so often depend.This collection of conversations, recipes and recordings produced by the exhibition’s artists and curators together with their friends, collaborators, assistants and their new acquaintances is a virtual continuation of Other Rooms. It carries on this conversation on structures of support but away from the exhibition space and attempts to record that which can often seem difficult to articulate. The contributions to this collection do not follow one logic or format but orbit around the same questions–how we understand, acknowledge and maintain the structures of support in our private, institutional and artistic lives.

The exhibition Other Rooms took place at the Artists’ Association Gallery, 2-31 October, 2020. Curated by: Leah Clements, Kotryna Markevičiūtė, Yates Norton.

Rupert is publicly funded centre for art, residencies and education, located in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Publication editors: Kotryna Markevičiūtė, Yates Norton
Design: TAKTIKA Mantas Rimkus ir Nerijus Keblys

Rupert’s programmes are supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture