Maison de la culture Frontenac
September 2 to October 11, 2015
Today’s explorers face an increasingly bleak future. The planet has been mapped from top to bottom, and there is no longer any hint of terra incognita on the globe. Do we really need explorers in the age of Google Maps? Nowadays, the most exciting expeditions are experienced at a distance, and the examination of nature no longer requires the in situ presence of the observer. Virtual tools supplement direct eyeballing, replacing the mission historically assigned to the camera. Post-photography endorses Plato, in that shadows – our screens – act as our interface with the world.
Andreas Rutkauskas illustrates this concept with his project Virtually There (started in 2010). From the comfort of his studio, the artist virtually “crosses” the Rockies, compiling topographical maps and GPS data of various routes, as a prelude to selecting views of particular patches of mountain on Google Earth. However, he then physically journeys to these locations and takes conventional photographs to compare them with the virtual views. These actions not only bear witness to recent transformations in the ontology of representation, but also open up unexpected windows on experience and knowledge – windows through which we get a glimpse of the possibility not only of a virtual land art, but of a new form of adventure. It is worth recalling the statement made by American explorer Eric Larsen following his attempt to reach the South Pole by bicycle a few years ago: “It’s not so much a matter of what you do as how you do it.”
Andreas Rutkauskas was born in Winnipeg in 1980; he lives and works in Montreal. He holds a master’s degree in fine arts from Concordia University (2007). His works have been presented in solo and group exhibitions at OSLO 8 Contemporary Photography in Basel (2015), Gallery 400 in Chicago (2014), the Campbell River Art Gallery (2014), the Judith and Norman Alix Art Gallery in Sarnia (2013), the Centro Cultural Recoleta in Buenos Aires (2013), TRUCK Contemporary Art in Calgary (2012), the Foreman Art Gallery in Lennoxville (2011), and Projex-Mtl Galerie in Montreal (2010). His works have appeared in publications such as Ciel Variable, ARTnews, ETC Media, and Canadian Art. He has received grants from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec (2013, 2011, and 2010) and the Canada Council for the Arts (2012 and 2011).