The exhibition is a continuation of certain ideas that have preoccupied the artist since the 1990s as well providing an opportunity for visitors to engage with his most current concerns. The solo show at the CAC titled The Light is no Brighter at the Centre has been conceived especially for the CAC and comprises a number of distinct but connected elements. Here, the artist continues to explore his interest in intricate capitalist modes of production and the complex circulation of power relations in the neo-liberal world.
A new installation by Gillick occupies the 1000 sq. m. Main hall of the CAC and refers to the industrial areas normally found on the outskirts of urban centres throughout the world in the 1990s, where one might repair a scooter, purchase construction materials or order a specific, custom made tool. Partially due to vast, low rental price premises and partially due to their geographical location – being a certain distance from residential neighbourhoods – those half-abandoned, half-experimental spaces produced their own treasures: great night clubs. Somewhat indicating to those specific areas and somewhat referring to the location of Vilnius, the artist notes that while looking from the centre outwards certain places might seem remote and irrelevant. But despite the location the lights are no dimmer when you stand next to them; eventually it is a question of perspective.
Playing with scale Liam Gillick reconstructs these marginal sites in the exhibition using architectural models, and a simple sound and lighting system. A vital component of the exhibition is sawdust, which covers the vast floor of the hall. The sawdust here operates as a stand-in for gravel but is also a waste product from a production process. Various floor coverings such as glitter or vodka have featured in the artist’s work since the 1990s. Gillick first used sawdust twenty years ago referring to the English habit of covering pubs floors with the material, to soak up spilt beer, spit, or blood from a fight.
To coincide with this exhibition is the publication Workplace Aesthetics Might not be Enough. The text was originally written for the project Superhumanity by e-flux Architecture at the 3rd Istanbul Design Biennial. Somehow reminiscent of the great science fiction writers of the 19th and 20th centuries, the dystopian narrative opens a wider horizon on half-abandoned, half-experimental factories, on dissolving distinctions between free and labour time, useful and vain modes of late capitalism production. The narrative in some ways echoes that of the film Construction of One (2016), projected in the adjacent room at the CAC.
The Light is no Brighter at the Centre expands on important questions developed by Liam Gillick since the beginning of his artistic career in the 1990s. In its aesthetics, and by its nature exist a peculiar combination of sobriety and humour, sagacity and joy, elaboration and simplicity. This new exhibition demonstrates the common themes of his earlier work and his most recent projects such as a collaboration with the English rock band New Order at the Manchester International Festival 2017.
The Light is no Brighter at the Centre by Liam Gillick
Curated by Neringa Bumbliene
Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius
Through January 14
Courtesy of the artist and Esther Schipper, Berlin
Photography by Andrej Vasilenko/CAC