In 1999, New Scientist magazine claimed that written text can be understood even if we rearrange the letters inside a word, if the first and last letters remain in place. This little wordy twist visible in ROHTKO at the level of the title, brings a broader horizon of the difficult relationship between reality and fake. For can a fake painting evoke real emotions? Or is it possible for an original painting to cause only fake sensations? What determines the value of art? Can good art be cheap? What is good art? What is art? And what is it for?
Alternative answers can be sought in the Chinese concept of shanzhai, about which a cultural theorist Byulg Chul Han wrote that it negates the arbitrary division between copy and original. In the art world and in the world at large. The answer can be sought in the Chinese concept of shanzhai, which cultural theorist Byulg Chul Han wrote about, and which negates the arbitrary division between copy and original. In the art world and in the world in general. The division assuming that the original is the residue of truth, value, and uniqueness, and that the copy is a worthless entity, a simulacrum, a fake. The Chinese thought leads in a different direction, close to the one paradoxically touched upon by Rothko—a painter who did not paint the picture sold for 8.5 million dollars. A painter who said that if something is worth doing once, it is worth doing many times. And who hated the capitalization of art while being the best-selling contemporary painter.
One of the artists associated with the Fluxus group—Robert Filliou—once said that art is whatever the artist calls art. But the market dictates different conditions today—rather, art becomes what the curator / gallerist / collector / influencer / NFT creator / businessman / buyer calls art. Yet there is also a more countercultural conception of art, according to which art is an experience that involves an encounter between the living body and the world.
The world of ROHTKO raises questions about the relationship between the original and the copy, the real and the virtual, between "liveness", mediation, and representation. The materiality that characterizes the traditional world of visual arts meets here with the cinematic representation of reality and the virtual world, and collides with the transience of performance and the mortal nature of theater, in which—like the human body—death is inscribed.
The performance was co-produced with the Dailies Theater in Riga.
Co-financed by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.
TEXT AND DRAMATURGY:
Mārtiņš Gūtmanis, Diāna Kaijaka, Adam Zduńczyk
Camera operators: Arturs Gruzdiņš, Jonatans Goba
Sound and video department: Uldis Grass, Didzis Cielava, Māris Butlers
Props manager: Zenta Boboviča, Annika Auziņa
Light department Dainis Sumišķis, Arnis Odnakišs, Kristaps Kukša
Stage workers: Mārtiņš Vilumsons, Rūdolfs Štrāls, Valters Zeltiņš, Ignats Rogozins, Pāvels Busigins, Roberts Rudzītis, Dāvis Rābants, Jānis Jugno, Mārtiņš Solovjovs
Diāna Kaijaka, Elza Marta Ruža
Andrzej Jakubczyk (JK Opole theatre)
Katarzyna Osipuk (JK Opole theatre)
12th March 2022 r. – Dailes Theater in Riga (Latvia)
9th April 2022 r. – JK Opole theatre (Poland)
Attention! The performance uses strobe lights and loud music, and cigarettes are smoked on the stage.