Žiūra Darius
g. 1968
Darius Žiūra was born in 1968 in Joniškėlis. He studied at the Painting Department of the Vilnius Academy of Arts in 1991–1997 and received a PhD in Fine Arts from the Vilnius Academy of Arts in 2017. Žiūra lives and works in Vilnius. One intriguing piece of information about him is that his surname means ‘looking’, and he is in fact 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. Žiūra 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 three national survey exhibitions at CAC Vilnius (‘1989–1999: The Ten Years’, ‘Self-Esteem: Lithuanian Art 2001’, ‘Lithuanian Art 2000–2010: Ten Years at CAC Vilnius’) and the 10th Kaunas Biennial in 2015. 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) and in the group exhibition ‘A Temporary Futures Institute’ at M HKA, the Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp, in 2017. Among his solo exhibitions, those at CAC Vilnius stand out: the performative installation ‘Another Space’ in 1998, ‘Portraits’ in 2006 and ‘SWIM’ in 2014. His solo exhibitions at Gallery Antje Wachs in Berlin should also be mentioned: ‘Collection’ in 2007 and ‘Selected Takes’ in 2010.