Barrel of Fortune

Aidas Bareikis
Barrel of Fortune
CANADA 331
October 27 - December 4, 2016
Opening reception: Thursday October 27, 6-8 PM

I met Aidas Bareikis in the mid 1990’s at an art camp in Maine, he was on a Fulbright scholarship and had just graduated from Hunter College. He was from the Soviet side of Europe which at that time was still pretty exotic, especially for someone lost in the woods of rural Maine. Somehow with his limited English he got it across to me that he needed help locating cooked lobster shells to help fulfill an orange-colored sculpture he was making. I had a car so maybe I could help.

Over in his studio Aidas was producing expansive fields of stuff carefully orchestrated by color. Wide varieties of things--man made and store bought, utterly organic perishables, strings, wires, empty paper cups-- laid down with an extreme precision all across the studio floor. It felt as if this odd ball array of parts were being engineered, like Bareikis was building a working mechanism, setting up and tuning a vast antenna to communicate coded intelligence back to some mother ship.

Since these early experiments, Aidas has gone on to exhibit across the globe: digesting and regurgitating its consumer waste into surreal and seemingly animate installations. Sometimes they pull themselves up into vertical spaces, standing upright or dangling like chandeliers of human webbing. They are sculptures unbuilt from art history--progeny of movements like antiform and actionism--with titles to reference a flowery Watteau painting or Lithuanian symbolist picture.

In Barrel of Fortune, his first solo exhibition at CANADA, Bareikis distills his enduring vision into bundled masses. He stacks and wraps cultural objects in fabric and string, building altar-like assemblages shrouded by paint and recognizable trash. The sculptures are propped up by found furniture, wood or aluminum, and exposed to forces like time, gravity, or the elements. Rendered in deep reds, acidic oranges and vintage blues, each work operates like a junkyard relic: a curious portal into another era slowly merging with the local flora. It’s here where Bareikis navigates, somewhere between scientific method and pure psychic automatism, covering his tracks in a role equal parts wandering scientist and mad poet.
 

Aidas Bareikis (b. 1967 in Vilnius, Lithuania) holds an MFA from Hunter College. He is the recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship and a Soros Foundation Grant. Bareikis has exhibited at Leo Koenig Gallery, NY, P.S.1 MoMA, NY; The Kunsthalle Wien, Austria; Center for Contemporary Art, Berlin; Zacheta Center for Contemporary Art, Warsaw; CAC Vilnius, Lithuania; MIER Gallery, Los Angeles, and Grand Arts in Kansas City, MO. In 2007, his work was selected in the first Athens Biennial. He lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.