I revise my yellow for the second solstice to turn it into green
The video work Stendhal syndrome is a part of a site-specific installation at National Gallery of Art, Vilnius – a solo exhibition Aesopica by Rūta Junevičiūtė, taking place from the 19th of May to the 28th of June, 2020. It is based on the architectural interpretation of Aesopian language. The exhibition was postponed due to the pandemic and was adapted to the constantly changing measurements of safety. The video was conceived imagining that a visitor will not be allowed to touch any surface, sit down and will watch works cautiously passing by.
You are warmly invited to take a tour of images and read a review of the exhibition Aesopica, written by Mónica Mays here.
Aesopian language – a term coined after Ancient Greek fabulist Aesop (Aísōpos), is a type of cryptic communication system, where a text has several layers of meaning often contradictory to each other and which seek to convey official and subversive hidden meanings simultaneously. It is usually employed under conditions of omnipresent state censorship to communicate officially forbidden or taboo subjects and opinions. As a system it contains three members – an author, a censor, and a reader. It uses various modes of circumlocution and euphemisation, innuendo and poetic paraphrasing, which can also be seen as an aesthetic style. It has been advocated for artistic benefits as poetics of omissions, concealment, and travesty. On the other hand, it has been criticized as a sign of conformity and humiliation. In Lithuania, after the fall of the Soviet Union, it has been popularly regarded as a position of dissent, but such an interpretation received criticism from contemporary scholars.
Although Aesopian language has been widely employed in former Soviet Russia and Soviet Lithuania, I was told by a historian, such a mode of expression is not a characteristic of a specific region and century – it is probably as old as censorship itself.