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"Down on the farm"

Date: 26 April 2018 17:00 - 03 June 2018 00:00


M. Žilinskas Art Gallery, Nepriklausomybės St. 12, Kaunas

In 2012 Duncan Higgins presented an exhibition at M. Žilinskas art gallery, titled Unloud that was a response to Higgins’ experiences on and related to The Solovki Archipelago in northern Russia from 2005 to 2011. Higgins’ returns to M. Žilinskas art gallery with the next iteration of new art works Down on the farm that further explore related events in north Russia and Lithuania. The exhibition consists of over 1000 paintings, works on paper, textiles and a book.

Within menacing evocative moments Down on the farm sets out to go “where the eyes never see”, it is part autobiography, part riposte to culture, and part collated testimonies constructed through an interwoven polyphonic form; somebody speaks here. Deliberately wandering long passages intertwined with short shards and re-collected fragments are coupled with struggling monologues that slip between omniscience and embodiment, and images dissolve and reveal.

With pain and accusatory anger, and at times callousness, Down on the farm delves into illness, death, love, and being defective or displaced; caught up in un-imaginable events that struggle with an almost impossibility to be articulated or represented, and yet are somehow also banal. 

Down on the farm speaks through a polyphonic, non-linear form, making dazzling shifts in perspective where individuals’ experience, expression and voice has been a directly un-represented narrative, giving the work a crushing yet sad and graceful symmetry. 

The result is urgent, neurotic, and harrowing, a resistance to and reminder of a particular mess we’ve made and are making. But it’s oddly reassuring, too: a problematic reminder that the romantic has the heart that the system never will.

Higgins’ research and educational engagement are inter-related and focused on the questioning of how the production of the image, the act of making images and how they perform can communicate or describe moments of erasure or remembering of ‘Our image’. Our image is at the heart of how we have and are continually constructing our ethical positions and social conduct today. This has specific relationships in terms of both historical and personal narratives with direct reference and relationship to our voice/s in the representation/s of place.

Duncan Higgins is a visual artist based in Sheffield, UK. Higgins is Professor in Fine Art at Bergen Academy of Art and Design, Norway and Professor in Visual Art at Nottingham Trent University, UK.

Most recently he has had solo exhibitions at Bloc Projects, Sheffield, Agios Sozomenos, Cyprus, Site specific exhibition in the former Bergen children’s hospital Norway, Hong Kong Design Institute, Architecture Research Center, University of Nicosia, The Bag Factory Johannesburg, Reid Gallery Glasgow School of Art, Lithuanian National Museum of Art Kaunas, South Bank Centre and Royal Festival Hall, London; Czech Cultural Centre and Russian Centre for Art and Science, Prague; Solovki State Museum Reserve Russia, Academy of Arts in Warsaw, Poland and Room8, Bergen, Norway.

Exhibition works: 26 04 2018–03 06 2018