(AV17) gallery, Vilnius
Nerijus Erminas, “Living Room”
Nerijus Erminas is one of the most fascinating creators of conceptual sculpture in Lithuania, whose works are characterised by sensitive transformations of reality into surreal, subconscious experience. His narrative installations depict the details of human life and transform everyday situations by tilting them at unusual, surreal angles, thereby involving the observer into a never-ending game of meaning. Erminas develops his ideas not only by observing and examining everyday rituals, but also by interpreting cultural and political contexts, historical developments and religion, and by conveying both his personal and collective experiences.
Erminas presents the narrative installation “Living Room”, which is among the best examples of what his work is all about. With the help of symbols and certain cultural references, the artist uses the installation to reveal a number of collective and individual experiences. Objects comprising the installation represent the attributes of the affluence associated with a certain time period, which are joined together with natural materials, such as tree branches, allowing the author to develop multiple meanings. The installation associates the living room — one of the most representative areas of any home, a space designed for hosting guests — with urban culture. Here, urban culture is understood as the space of affluence, consumerism, and the levelling of differences, which foster certain values that are often oriented towards material well-being; meanwhile, recurring, natural motifs reveal the primordial origins of human nature. Employing the attributes of affluence, the artist ironically reveals the surface-level, representative mundane reality of human beings, and at the same time – their natural origins which defy the material world.
By combining natural materials, which represent the wilderness, with luxurious materials, which represent the communal urban culture, Erminas identifies the point where defying one’s nature becomes impossible.