A biographer of the strangeness, Goda Palekaitė is interested in historical characters imbued with mystery; in transgressive figures who, breaking with the dominant thought of their time, find themselves proscribed or marginalized by History. Through her research-based practice, she digs into these particular lives, their lacunar stories and what they allow us to deduce or speculate about the psychology of the protagonists. She draws these portraits through a practice of writing, mixing factual references and fictional interpretations in order to question the processes of historical construction and collective memory. What is inscribed, what is forgotten and what is perceived today. Fully assuming the hybridity of her narratives, she challenges us about these individuals as they are often deeply committed and have complex, liminal, personalities. She plays on the credibility of the testimony, the power of subjective projection and identification that inspires the audience.
For her exhibition at la Tour à Plomb, Goda Palekaitė takes over the “Foyer” with a series of artworks that interact with the singular architecture of this vaulted room that resembles a crypt. Under the title Architecture of Heaven, it gathers figures from different eras whose lives are marked by mystical revelations and visions of ecstasy that have led them to a second life, set back from the secular world. The exhibition brings together sculpture and video installations, as well as a performance to be held on October 10. The opening of the exhibition, on October 8, will also be dedicated to the launch of her book, Schismatics.
The first set of sculptures is dedicated to an enigmatic figure of the Age of Enlightenment: Emmanuel Swedenborg, a Swedish scientist of international reputation, a rational and encyclopedic mind typical of that time but who became after a night of visions and revelations, one of the great mystics of the West.
This installation is set in dialogue with a new video work entitled Biographic Disobedience. It features four female figures, Christian saints, martyrs and preachers from different periods and regions, including St Thecla, Hildegard of Bingen, Catherine of Siena and Therese of Avilla, all of whom have dedicated body and soul to their faith and whose experiences of mystical ecstasy are the object of powerfully eroticized descriptions. These are saints whom many modern authors and activists consider to be models of emancipation, as precursors of protofeminism.
The third axis of the exhibition is a collective performance, Digestive System of Humanity: The Mouth, which takes the form of a banquet* during which the guests are invited to read short passages from a text written by the artist (EN & FR). It gives the floor to historical personalities with backgrounds and temperaments as unusual as they are surprising ; Sappho, Essad Bey, Michel Leiris, Avraham Firkovich and Emmanuel Swedenborg, among others. This performance is realized in collaboration with Jonas Palekas, chef and artist who has conceived five dishes made with little known or even forgotten ingredients, which hold legendary or proven virtues. These recipes echo the stories told by the text.
* The course of this performance takes into account the distances between the participants and the terms of service in accordance with health measures.
Goda Palekaitė is an artist and researcher whose work can be described as a combination of visual, literary, performative and anthropological practices. It evolves around long-term projects exploring the politics of historical narratives, the agency of dreams and collective imagination, and social conditions of creativity. Their outcomes manifest as performances, scenographies, installations, and texts. Her recent solo shows were opened at the Vilnius International Theatre Festival "Sirenos" ("Somnambulism" 2020), Konstepidemin Gallery in Gothenburg (“Liminal Minds” 2019) and RawArt Gallery in Tel Aviv (“Legal Implications of a Dream” 2018). In the last years, her performances and installations have been presented at the “Swamp pavilion” in The Biennale Architettura 2018 in Venice, Contemporary Art Center and the Lithuanian National Drama Theatre in Vilnius, and Kanal - Centre Pompidou in Brussels. In 2019 Palekaitė received The Golden Stage Cross (highest Lithuanian theatre award) and the Young Artist’s Prize from the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture. Goda is based in Brussels and Vilnius.
Centre Tour à Plomb
24 rue de l’Abattoir
︎ October 8 opening from 6pm to 9pm and Schismatics book launch and reading from 7.30pm to 8pm
︎Exhibition open Monday to Saturday from 10am to 6 pm
︎October 10 from 7pm to 9pm performance-dinner in collaboration with Jonas Palekas - Digestive System of Humanity : The Mouth free entrance but limited seats – register at email@example.com