Žiūra Darius
g. 1968
Darius Žiūra was born in 1968 in Joniškėlis and studied at the Painting Department of the Vilnius Academy of Arts in 1991–1997. He lives and works in Vilnius. One intriguing piece of information about him is that his surname means ‘looking’. Žiūra is unusually sensitive to the promises and pitfalls of this fundamental activity. In recent years he has mostly relied on the photographic lens to filter and fix his gaze, although he has also worked extensively with video since the late 1990s. He is prepared to go far for his ‘visuals’, as he calls them. For him they embody a mental space that will always be under construction, an aspect of human existence that can be seized (and perhaps even understood) precisely because it allows itself to be turned into image. He visualises things that others have overlooked, because they regard them as either too undefined or too upsetting, too difficult. Portraiture is a significant concern for Žiūra. In the early years of the new millennium he would spend a significant part of his time on the road, in Lithuania or abroad, earning money as a street portrait artist. In the village of Gustoniai in northern Lithuania, where he spent much of his childhood, he has been making one-minute video portraits of all the inhabitants every third year since 2001. In Vilnius he might make 5-second video clips of the enamelled photographic portraits of the deceased in the cemeteries, or he might bring girls from the railway station to his studio and photograph them. Yet he also travels to rarely visited locations to portray motifs such as the deserted farmsteads on each side of the Latvian–Lithuanian border or the forlorn reality of the Republic of Udmurtia in Russia. Žiūra has participated in a number of group exhibitions in Lithuania, among them the national survey exhibitions '1989–1999: The Ten Years', 'Self-Esteem: Lithuanian Art 2001', and 'Lithuanian Art 2000–2010: Ten Years at CAC Vilnius'. His work has also been featured internationally, perhaps most significantly in the 5th and 7th editions of the pan-European biennial Manifesta: in San Sebastian, Spain, in 2004 and in Bolzano, Italy, in 2008. Among his solo exhibitions, those at CAC Vilnius stand out: the performative installation 'Another Space' in 1998 and 'Portraits, a presentation of photography and video', in 2006. His solo exhibitions at Gallery Antje Wachs in Berlin should also be mentioned: 'Collection' in 2007 and 'Selected Takes' in 2010. In 2012 Žiūra enrolled in the new doctoral programme for visual artists at the Vilnius Academy of Arts. Within this framework he will continue to develop his practice and conduct an investigation on the notion of the Existential as a key aspect for theorising it. Žiūra’s third solo exhibition at CAC Vilnius, titled SWIM (Someone Who Isn’t Me), takes place in April–May 2014 and is one component of his doctoral studies.