Danius Kesminas

Slave Pianos, The Execution Protocol 111: Mutually Assured Production (The MAP room), 2007-11

I first met Danius Kesminas in 1978 when he was around 12 years old. I was an art teacher at Burke Hall, the preparatory school for Xavier College in Melbourne. One of the greatest rewards a teacher can ever have is when one of your pupils becomes famous! What part did I have to play in this? Well, absolutely none, because by the time I met Danius he was a more than competent draftsman, an accomplished musician, and brought that Lithuanian heritage to the finish of a crafted object. All I could say is develop your own projects and go for it!

He has since gone on to do just that, not only in his own artwork, but a series of collaborative projects that span categories, countries and trends. Whether it's blasting out the 'drip and splatter' with his band The Histrionics, forming collectives like Punkasila with young Indonesian punk artists and musicians, or the above work with group Slave Pianos (where the audience can 'execute' an avant-garde artist from the list on a console, track their movements on the world map and listen as a giant electric chair activates an antique piano in a farewell ode) Danius challenges the contemporary art world without ever losing his sense of humour.

He is represented by Darren Knight Gallery (for more info click here), and was recently featured in eyeline - contemporary visual arts, which is in my opinion the only art publication in Australia worth reading. Hang on! Did I say read? Silly me...of course you can't READ it, its full of wanky art speak, but the pictures are nice...

...and back to The MAP room...no prizes for guessing I would choose Joseph Beuys first.