REFUGE / Sapieha Palace
REFUGE
Apr 12 – Dec 31, 2024
Sapieha Palace
Vilnius, Lithuania

The inaugural exhibition of the Sapieha Palace seeks to unfold the spirit and history of the palace itself, as well as the diverse narratives surrounding its past. The works on displays and their arrangement act as a soft, transparent layer placed over the palace spaces, having been painted and repainted multiple times. The spatial and conceptual interaction thus reveals the previous and ongoing influence of a multitude of forces. The exhibition will run until the end of the year, undergoing constant changes throughout this period.

The writer Ursula Le Guin considered most stories to be straight as an arrow, noisy and dramatic, revolving around heroes, their hardships, struggles, achievements, and tragic endings. However, weapons and hunting, as she points out, were invented later than the handful or the armful for gathering food. The stories of how something is gathered in pieces, brought home, what takes time, what falls into oblivion or repeats day after day, are neither arrow- nor spear-shaped. Yet if you take the time to listen to them, they sound just as intriguing, but also novel.

Thus, the walls of the palace begin to speak through sometimes the most unexpected stories. Tales of tranquillity, handfuls of suns, martial arts, and the art of concealment are interwoven with time travel, disputes with craftsmen, and incantations performed in a secret language.

The title of the exhibition, Refuge, is inspired by the Latin inscription on the front façade of the palace, proclaiming that ‘the great palace, risen from the ruins, will protect the war-weary in quiet peace’.

[ . . . ]

In his memoirs, Jan Stanisław Sapieha, one of the bishops of Vilnius during the eighteenth century, recalls watching through the windows of the Sapieha Palace as a huge fire destroyed a large part of the city. The unbearable sight left him breathless, and while the country residence provided physical refuge from the disaster, his spirit remained shaken for a long time. The exhibition, centred around the motif of refuge, aims to bring together exhibits that continue or give meaning to this and other narratives related to the palace’s history. Themes of war and refuge, sickness and healing, miracle and disaster, beginning and end permeate nearly all the works on display.

ARTISTS:
Andrius Arutiunian, Vytautas Balčytis, Giulia Crețulescu, Bojana Cvejić & Lennart Laberenz, Vladas Drėma, Ulrik Heltoft, Mindaugas Lukošaitis, Marianna Maruyama, Petras Mazūras, Domas Noreika, Rita Olšauskienė, Alina Popa, Miljohn Ruperto, Iza Tarasewicz, Gintautas Trimakas, Peter Wächtler, Darius Žiūra

CURATORS:
Edgaras Gerasimovičius, Virginija Januškevičiūtė

REFUGE
Apr 12 – Dec 31, 2024
Sapieha Palace
Vilnius, Lithuania

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