"Donaldismus oder Ach du lieber Gott!" - an extract from the video (16 min)
Video work "Donaldismus oder Ach du lieber Gott!" is a part of installation "Neither Mouse Neither Human". The link to other installation works albrikienelina.lt
Lina’s Albrikiene’s solo exhibition “Neither Mouse Neither Human“ is born in times when acute ideological clashes around the world rise to the surface and urge us to ask: how do we talk to each other if we want us to survive further? Do never ending jokes and morals directed towards a new American or long-serving Russian presidents, Brexit process, anti-vaxxers community, Flat Earth movement and other “uneasy” phenomena will work to improve the situation or will it make tensions between social bubbles rise further? Is it possible to talk to those who are in power about their own secret vulnerabilities and if yes, how to even start such an extremely uncomfortable conversation?
Lina Albrikiene reflects these global fears and questions in contexts that are familiar both in her home country, Lithuania and Austria, a country where she was invited to be an artist-in-residency in 2019. In the exhibition, she embraces three large and powerful ideologies – Catholic Church, Disney world and nationalism and meets them with a both intimate and critical gesture. Being from a catholic country which gained its independence in 1990 thanks to a peaceful nationalist movement and a desire to, as Pet Shop Boys would say, “go West”, Lina Albrikiene is well familiar with all three ideologies. However, dropped into a catholic priest seminary in Austria, which also happened to be homeland for the most ill famous nationalist person ever and which absorbed the culture of USA in somewhat different timeline than Lithuania, Lina got a chance to update and rethink her former experience and knowledge.
In the contemporary world of intellectual elite (that also includes respectable art circles) a critical stance to all three big powers mentioned – the Catholic church, the Disney world and nationalist ideologies – is almost a must position or a position that is taken for granted. Much less usual however is to reflect positive sides of these phenomena, such as national romanticism that gave birth to many artworks or scientific research in the 19th century, Christian ideology of love which constituted roots for image of empathic individual in contemporary secular ethical code or relieving charm and beauty that Disney world supplied to insecure childhoods of post-war or post-soviet societies.
In her work, Lina Albrikiene exposes a dilemma that arises between natural and naive faith and critical knowledge and awareness. In a lonely silence of a cell that was constructed by a Church devoted to the ideology of love and that became her temporary home for a short period, Lina brings up her own „faith“ she identified with as a child – a miraculous, beautiful and shiny Disney world that contrasted with gloomy, sometimes even scary world of Soviet animation and children’s books in early 1990s, like Christianity that once promised a world of compassion and understanding instead of merciless an-eye-for-an-eye reality. The meeting of ideologies created by Lina reveals an uncomfortable tension between inner vulnerability and elaborated systems of “serious and trusted discipline” that smoothen or even hide fragility of human. From the Catholic church famous for creating buildings that fill people with awe Lina gradually moves to pompous interwar Nazi propaganda; this move is helped by a local researcher who’s famous for his own investigations about Mickey’s colleague Donald Duck and his relationship with German speaking countries. The final point is met again in a pink Minnie Mouse sweatshirt. Lina’s honest, but not very successful attempt “to look like Hitler” increases the uneasy feeling even more; the inner vulnerability that hides among beams of powerful-looking structures is now shining very explicitly.
It is doubtful that Lina’s exhibition gives any answers to issues raised by threatening fractures that we are witnessing in today’s world. It must be said, it is doubtful if any exhibition could do it at all. However, “Neither Mouse Neither Human” can be seen as a much needed attempt to show compassion in a spot where - for very understandable reasons - it is least likely to be met, on the top of hierarchical ladders.
Text by Eglė Mikalajūnė