27 August, 2007

Chicks on Speed

New Season Exhibitions:
Autumn 2007

Vokieciu g. 2, LT-01130 Vilnius
T: +370 5 262 3476
F: +370 5 262 3954


Chicks on Speed:
Shoe Fuck!

07 09 - 28 10 2007 Curator: Simon Rees
Opening: Friday 7 September, 18.00
Artists’ talk: Friday 7 September, 15.00
Performance: Friday 7 September, 20.00

Long before anyone described ‘artists as deejays’ punk and its DIY [do-it-yourself] aesthetic ruled. DIY meant anything goes and punk was a mash of styles played hard, fast, and with an attitude. Many of the leading-edge punk bands came out of art school — including the New York Dolls, Talking Heads, Throbbing Gristle, and Sonic Youth — so record sleeves, costumes, stage sets, on-stage performance antics, and concert films were refracted through the prism of contemporary art. A number of glam-rockers also came out of the art school milieu (think, David Bowie, Brian Eno, and T-Rex) and their high-camp reflected their high-art sensibilities. Punk was also the movement and the moment when women started truly rocking for themselves, incorporating explicit post-feminist political and performance strategies into their stage-personas, costuming, and stage-productions; high among them being raw sexuality, nudity, inflammatory language and sloganeering. (A roll call would include Siouxsie & the Banshees, The Slits, Nina Hagen, and Martha and the Muffins). Now let’s hear it for the Chicks On Speed....

The Chicks On Speed are all that and more! An all girl band, performance ensemble, visual art ensemble, which also release and produce music made by women on their record label. For Shoe Fuck! their largest-scale solo exhibition — being presented at the Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius — are making a project that reprises the attitude of punk and combines it with strategies of 1960s women’s performance art — with a 21st century and late-capitalist twist. The artists are going to be living in the space of the gallery for three weeks while preparing the exhibition in a redeployment of the 1960s ‘live-ins’ and ‘love-ins’ made famous by Japanese Fluxus artists Yayoi Kusama and Yoko Ono. Kusama, who was one of the first artists to get naked and make fun of the exploitative practices of male artists like Yves Klein, is in good company with the Chicks On Speed. Their photographic performance collages are equally referential of the early work by Martha Rosler. There’ll also be slogans, fashion, and a listening lounge of the recent 3-CD Box Set Girl Monster of new music made by women that the Chicks On Speed have released on their label. There’s even a spaceship for the Chicks On Speed to blast their brand of new-millennial (or is it alien?) feminism way into the future. Not to mention accessories — undoubtedly the cast and characters of Desperate Housewives or Sex In The City never got as closely acquainted with a pair of classic Chanel Pumps as the Chicks On Speed do here. And as those boots are made for walking Shoe Fuck! will kick-start with an opening night performance — look out.


The reappraisal of feminism and feminist art has been a hot topic of 2007 in international academic, art, and publishing circles. The CAC is pleased to be lobbing into the discussion with its new season of exhibitions of art made by women:

Chicks On Speed: Shoe Fuck!
7 September - 28 October

Among Us: six Lithuanian women artists in their thirties
The Joy Is Not Mentioned: Egle Budvytyte, Goda Budvytyte, and Ieva Miseviciute
14 September - 28 October

Each of the exhibitions looks towards a different decade--the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s--for its conceptual impetus and considers its affects from a new millennial perspective. In their largest-scale gallery exhibition to date the all-girl band, performance ensemble and artist collective the Chicks On Speed reprise a number of strategies associated with art and music hailing from the 1970s and Punk. Punk was a movement and moment when women started rocking for themselves, incorporating explicit post-feminist political and performance strategies into their stage-personas, costuming, and stage-productions; high among them being raw sexuality, nudity, inflammatory language and sloganeering. It’s all on show in Shoe Fuck! including one of the symbols of late-capitalist women's empowerment--a classic Chanel pump--being put to the test in the exhibition's eponymous work. Part full-throttle commodity fetishism and part transgressive act the work, and the exhibition as a whole, questions whether space for political activism/resistance exists for women in the age of consumerism.

Music is also to the fore in The Joy Is Not Mentioned the latest installment of the CAC’s ongoing 'young Lithuanian artists' series. The three artists ask "what if the 1980s never happened?" And their answer is; "no Hip-Hop and no street-culture" (that entered mass culture during the decade). Or at least a national pop-culture having difficulty coming to grips with one of the world's dominant cultural and musical forms. This is the predicament of Lithuania--and of all the former soviet-states. To remedy the situation the artists will be re-staging the Hip-Hop and Street Dance 1980s in Vilnius for the duration of the exhibition. Two radio stations will be broadcasting special programs, and the artists, with the participation of members from the local street-culture community as well as trained dancers, will be turning up with boom-boxes, mics, and rolls of vinyl at street-corners and hang-out spots around the city. It’ll be the Bronx in the Baltic.

Among Us presents newly commissioned work by: Jurgita Remeikyte, Alma Skersyte, Irma Stanaityte, Laura Stasiulyte, Vilma Sileikiene and Kristina Inciuraite. The exhibition compares and contrasts coincidences and divergences in the artists' practice, set against prescient developments in Lithuanian art and society since the 1990s. It was at the end of the decade marked by independence from the USSR (1991) that a higher number of women started entering the field of contemporary art; as part of a broader entrance of women into public life--including the fields of business and politics. The exhibition's title, Among Us, was inspired by a series of discussions between the participating artists that identified the exhibition's salient and shared concerns; collective historical memory and the recent transformations of Lithuanian identity. The artists analyze visual codes that have come from the past and question whether they are still recognizable, if they are still b eing exploited or if they've already been forgotten? They study the influence of increasingly dynamic lifestyle on identity, and the collective unconscious in work that reflects upon their personal experience and environment.

Chicks on Speed will perform at the opening of their exhibition at 8.00pm on Friday 7 September
In association with The Joy Is Not Mentioned, dance floors will be formed on the streets of central Vilnius between 8.00pm-1.00am on Thursday 6 and Friday 7, September

Also at the CAC in autumn:
DIGITAL HERITAGE: Video Art in Germany >From 1963 to the Present, 12-21 October,
with a special lecture by Marcel Odenbach on Friday 19 October

Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas at the Lithuanian Pavilion at the 52nd International Art Exhibition -- La Biennale di Venezia, until 21 November, see: http://www.villalituania.lt

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