Deimantas Narkevicius: The Role of A Lifetime

29 August–21 October 2007

Documentary film is a broad category of visual expression that is based on the attempt, in one fashion or another, to “document” reality. Documentary aspects have had an obvious centre of attention within contemporary art besides that it has become important for the way we interpret our surrounding world. During the summer and fall, Index shows Lithuanian artist Deimantas Narkevicius’ The Role of A Lifetime (2003), a film that both broadens and challenges the concept of the documentary. The film intertwine three distinctively different elements: the artist’s interview with British filmmaker Peter Watkins, resident and working in Lithuania since several years: drawings of landscapes in Gruto Park, the place where a lot of post-war socialistic sculpture in Lithuania resides; and films by an amateur filmmaker depicting Brighton, Great Britain. The interview with Watkins joins recorded text with the visual documents that the drawings and films are representing. The Role of A Lifetime is a meta-film – a film that, in the words of Andeas Gedin, avoids falling into the pitfalls of documentarism, and makes the viewer become part of the melancholic and matter-of-fact process that recreating the past always will imply.

Issues surrounding the document are recurrent in the works by Deimantas Narkevicius. He has consequently used the media of film to explore complex and personal stories against the background of the political changes that his home country has been exposed to during recent years.

The Role of A Lifetime, 17 min, was produced by Art and Sacred Places for Brighton Parish Church of St Peter, Brighton. The film has lately been screened in institutions such as Tate Modern, London, Secession, Vienna and Akademie der Künste, Berlin. Curator is Andreas Gedin, artist, critic and PHD student at Valand Art Academy, Gothenburg. In connection with the opening on 29 August, Deimantas Narkevicius visits Index and discuss his work with Andreas Gedin.

Peter Watkins is well known for his genre-breaking fictive documentary The War Game (1965). His first film, The Forgotten Faces (1960), a fictive mise-en-scene of the Hungarian uprising in 1956, will be screened at Index together with Deimantas Narkevicius’ The Role of a Lifetime and with a short introduction by Andreas Gedin (26 September, 6 pm).

Index wishes to express our gratitude to Lithuanian Embassy, Stockholm, who generously has supported this show.