No more than vodka & kebab(as) (2016) 

 

This series of works is a three piece installation and a short video that illustrates the research into the intersections between Middle East and Eastern Europe. Termed “in the search of allies” this research field seeks to draw parallels between the two regions from both fictional and factual perspectives. Within this field falls and “No more than Vodka&Kebab(as)” and "Every Nation's Pomegranates" - a work that focuses on the stereotypes imposed upon these two geographical areas. Using stereotypes as a point of departure, it intends to create a sense of solidarity between the ‘Eastern’ nations.

 

In "No more than vodka & kebab(as)", enlarged personal photographs portrays myself and my mother during the times when Lithuania was under the soviet occupation. A unifying element across three photographs becomes a Persian rug – an object that stands as a symbol to demonstrate historical connections between the regions. The photographs are then obstructed by a selection of stickers that portray kebabs and various Russian vodka drinking attributes. These hand stuck stickers form intricate ornaments that could be decoded only from close. Here, an act of sticking a label onto somebody is directly used to create the work.

A short satirical video advertisement "Every Nation's Pomegranates" represents common misconceptions of ‘Lithuanian national treasures’ in an exotified, sexualized manner. 

 

Materials: MDF, personal archive photographs from 1980, blueback billboard print, paint, individual stickers. Mandalas on the photographs were constructed by hand, sticking individual stickers of vodka, kebabs, potatoes, sunflower seeds, rye bread, cured meats and other stereotypical Eastern European or Middle Easter objects.

MARIJA NEMČENKO ARŽANYCH