Interview with the Lithuanian artist Futuro Antico Augusta Serapinas believes in the ability of humans to provide solutions to an increasingly complex world where connections are fundamental. Born in 1990 in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he lives and works, he graduated from the Vilnius Art Academy in 2013. His work has recently been shown at the International Biennale of Contemporary Art RIBOCA2 Riga and the 58th Venice Biennale 2019, among other events. He is currently the protagonist of a solo exhibition at the FOROF space in Rome.
Interview with Augustas Serapinas
What are your inspiring references in art?
I see the art world as a space of freedom where different ideas and manifestations take place. However, it has its limitations, which sometimes lead to paradoxical situations. For example, poorly paid work in the institution hosting a program on the topic of equality. Or seeing the same artist or artworks in different exhibitions with different installation conditions, making the works appear better or worse. I also find it fascinating to observe people who work in exhibitions and at the same time remain invisible to the public. As well as from the perspective of the neighbors of the exhibition sites who live nearby but may never visit the exhibitions. My inspiration comes from life situations that sometimes have something to do with the art world and sometimes not at all.
Which project represents you the most? Can you tell us something about its creation?
My practice has changed over the years and I have several works that may fit this definition. One of these is a Blue Pen originally designed for the David Dale Gallery in Glasgow. Next to the tunnel was a warehouse, a family-run company called Clow Group Ltd for over a hundred years. Through interviews with Clow employees, we learned about one of the incidents that occurred forty years ago: Clow had manufactured a portal access system for a large-scale bakery. This Inspection platforms They have been positioned to run over the large industrial mixing tanks, which represent a special phase in the dough production. After completion an engineer from Clow visited the factory to inspect the platforms. Fascinated by the process. The engineer leaned over the railing to look into the bowls. As he leaned forward, a blue pen fell from his breast pocket into the bowl. Clow had to pay the equivalent of ten thousand blue loaves and was not asked to do any further work for the bakery. This story inspired me
With what consequences?
So I made the blue bread and the platform for the gallery. In addition, I have added other objects designed by me and manufactured by or borrowed from Clow. By showing various things such as scaffolding, platforms, ladders and a story with a blue bread, I wanted to show gallery visitors who the neighbor really is. In many cases, closeness does not mean knowing each other, because physical proximity does not necessarily lead to connecting trajectories that correspond to different lives. I think it’s nice that after the exhibition ends and the works are dismantled, the relationship between the exhibition space and its neighbors has the potential to change as people get to know each other better through such processes.
What significance does the genius loci have in your work?
I often develop my works in relation to the situation that I find around the exhibition space. I’m trying to figure out where to put my first tier, and once that’s done I can start thinking about where to put the second one. Without the situations and spaces in which I work when designing or installing my exhibitions, the works would not be as precise as I would like. It only makes sense when I see this relationship.
The future after Augustas Serapinas
How important is the past in imagining and building the future? Do you think the future can have an ancient heart?
There are always new discoveries in science, technology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, medicine and everything. There are new ideas, political concepts, research, experiments. We discover so many things, and yet it is part of the world we live in. Many of these discoveries are typically exploited (sponsored) by governments and private companies to exploit their strategic and market value. The paradox is that the more we learn, the more we tend to forget. But that’s usually the priority the value given by the profit, focusing on the past isn’t as helpful when we’re trying to imagine the future. I believe that if we took the past more seriously and learned from it, our future could look brighter than it seems now. With this in mind, the future should have an ancient heart, because without it there is no future.
What advice would you give to a young person who wants to follow your path?
Sometimes I hear students say, “I want to be an artist.” In my opinion, you are either an artist or you are not. If you want to be an artist, you have to think and behave like that at all times. Each person may have a different idea of what an artist is; However, this type of thinking can be more beneficial than projecting your desire into the future.
Does the concept of the sacred still have meaning and strength in a defined post-truth era?
A concept is only real if you believe in it. A person’s belief in the sacred gives it meaning and truthfulness. We consciously or unconsciously choose what is sacred to us: God, nature, money, love, influence, etc.
How do you imagine the future? Can you share with us three ideas that you believe will guide the coming years?
I can’t give you an answer. There is no doubt that we are moving towards some worrying trends, accompanied by still unknown factors. Hope lies in the human capacity to provide solutions and adaptation. However, I can definitely say that in any future, art will be reflected in many forms and with many voices.