I often find myself absorbed staring obsessively at Algirdas’ Šeškus (Vilnius, 1945) pictures, haunted by his ability to transform dull reality into an enigmatic fiction, baffled by how he easily switches from the shadows hidden in the darkest corners to the most luminous evanescent light. Each photograph might contain one hundred stories, and makes you wish for the existence of a time portal which allows you to inhabit that precise fleeting instant and breathe the puzzling atmosphere of his alluring images. Algirdas’ stills work like electric impulses quickly traveling through the eyes to the mind in order to arrive at its final destination, dressed in a different disguise. This odd mutability is due to its filmic inner dynamic. Each picture transcends time in order to develop a silent narrative which slowly unfolds into a complex faceted reality.
Algirdas Šeškus’ eyes master the real, to turn it into the unreal. Dreams become nightmares and vice versa. Time disappears in the chemical process of developing the image while bringing a frozen new scenario. The artist captures the essence of its daily life and frames it in a few centimeters of photographic paper. Everyday events and other bleak routines seem charged with a lively radiance that transcends the two-dimensional quality of the image. His small scenes dazzle the eyes of the observer, expanding the black hole of their pupils and opening a void which brings back a past time in which we enter like an uninvited guest. I can not stop thinking of myself as a privileged witness mutely spying through the keyhole of a forgotten door, lured by the glimmering light of those awkward isolated scenarios.
Upon entering Green light of green grass, the first exhibition of Algirdas Šeškus at the gallery, you might feel like Trelkovsky, the distressed protagonist of The Tenant by Roman Polanski (1976). Like him you would experience a certain sense of confusion when trying to figure out what is real and what is not, hard to say when the limits of representation are here so magically blurred. It is not that Algirdas Šeškus images have an ambivalent distinctive aura it is more that they project this on you while softly landing in front of them. You rub your eyes and look again intrigued as you sense that you can only vaguely realize what is happening.
Of course you identify what are the elements in the photographs. A white van in the night, a nocturnal landscape, a mysterious woman materializing behind a semi-open door, a TV screen flickering in the dark, unknown people facing towards a wall, empty interiors… but besides the formal recognition of those elements you find yourself lost in the translation of the image and its meaning, if there is one.
The lack of external cultural stimuli during the soviet years, made Algirdas’ approach to his practice more introspective, even enigmatic, conceptually further away from the western overstimulated eye.
The artist found serious obstacles while living and working within the constrains of the communist regime. This period, in which any artistic independent or individual initiative outside the official channels was ignored, silenced or just banned, was turned by the artist into a field of discrete yet powerful inspiration which made it possible for him to explore and understand the very nature of the image from another different perspective. Now awoken after many years of silence, his photographs stand out as an important and enduring legacy.