Staff picks: Deimantas Narkevičius

Staff picks: Deimantas Narkevičius


Clip from Deimantas Narkevičius, The Role of a Lifetime, 2003.

February 28, 2022
Staff picks: Deimantas Narkevičius
March 1, 2022
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e-flux Video & Film is excited to feature Deimantas Narkevičius, The Role of a Lifetime (2003, 17 minutes) as the March 2022 edition of our monthly online series Staff Picks

Narkevičius’s film combines three distinct elements. The first is his interview with Peter Watkins, recorded in Lithuania where Watkins lived for many years following his self-imposed exile from Britain. The second is a sequence of landscape drawings, some depicting an unusual theme park, Gruto Park, a repository of statues from the Soviet era. The third comprises scenes of Brighton shot over an extended period by an amateur film enthusiast and never intended for public consumption. These nostalgic and sometimes elegiac film sequences provide a surprisingly apposite counterpoint to Watkins’s commentary on the work of the documentary film director. The Role of a Lifetime raises questions about the ethical and social responsibilities of the artist and about the relationship between cinematic representation and historical record. Narkevičius’s film emphasizes the value of doubt and the impossibility of objectivity, while providing us with an intimate portrait of one of Britain’s most distinguished and original filmmakers. (Teresa Gleadowe)

Watch the film here.

About the artist
Deimantas Narkevičius (b. 1964, Utena, Lithuania) lives and works in Vilnius. Originally trained as a sculptor, Narkevičius started using film during the early ’90s. Employing documentary footage, voice-overs, interviews, re-enactments, and found photographs, his films submit historical events to the narrative structures of storytelling and cinema. In his artistic practice Narkevičius examines the relationship of personal memories to political histories, particularly those of his native Lithuania. Eschewing the common features of contemporary documentaries, the central characters of Narkevičius’s narratives are often absent from the screen, replaced by objects, drawings, and other surrogates.He has exhibited extensively around the world, including at Centre Pompidou (Paris), Museo Nacional Centro De Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid), Tate Modern (London), Museum of Modern Art (New York), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), and the 49th and 50th Venice Biennales, and Manifesta II and X. In 2008, Narkevičius was awarded the Vincent Award and the Lithuanian National Prize for Culture and Arts, and in 2017, the National Gallery of Art in Vilnius held a major retrospective of his work. His works are a part of major private and public collections such as Tate Modern (London), Moderna Museet (Stockholm), and Modern Art Museum (Vilnius).

About the series 
e-flux Video & Film: Staff Picks is a monthly streaming series of staff picks and recommended videos designed to disrupt the monotony of an algorithm. Before the end times of big data, we used to discover suggested content along dusty shelves in video rental stores, where Post-it notes scribbled by shift workers implored us to experience the same movies that made them guffaw, scream, or weep. Sometimes the content bored us, sometimes it overwhelmed us, and sometimes, as if by magic, it was just right. e-flux invites you to relive this rental store mode of perusal, with personalized picks curated through judgment that does not take into consideration your viewing history. 

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February 28, 2022

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