Augustas Serapinas
Aosta Valley Wooden Collars From Lithuania
curated by
Matthew Noble
Verrès (AO), Valle d'Aosta

The project by Serapinas for the village of Verrès examines two fundamental aspects, on one hand the bond that local people have with the valley and their traditions, and on the other, the cultural crossover between two widely-separated European territories: Lithuania, the artist’s country of origin, and the Valle d’Aosta valley.
In the regional context, the tradition of wood-carving is an instinctive technique emerging from purely expressive and personal needs. Stemming from an endemic relationship with the mountains, it highlights timber as the distinctive substance hallmarking a link to the territory. At the same time, in the Valle d’Aosta valley, agricultural traditions have always been a constant presence in everyday life, throughout the entire area. Likewise, Lithuanian vernacular architecture has always influenced Serapinas’ work. Its distinctive modular format, which makes it easy to disassemble and rebuild houses, facilitates their transport from one place to another. In addition, the wood-carving tradition is also strongly present in Lithuanian culture.
When the artist visited Verrès, he had the chance to find out more about the traditional techniques used to work this natural material, and, starting from these aspects shared by the two cultures, he developed the project with a series of wooden collars for goats. This item has ancient origins, running back to times when the agricultural communities depended principally on livestock farming for their livelihood. Over the course of history, the tradition of bells for livestock developed and changed in different regions, with specific styles, shapes and engravings reflecting local habits. The artist used a section of timber wall from a centennial Lithuanian house to make the collar-works, modifying the Valle d’Aosta and Lithuanian techniques and symbology.
For the inauguration, the bells were worn by a herd of local goats led through the village, as if to recall the livestock procession that precedes transhumance, and they were then reinstalled in the garden below the collegiate church of Saint Egidio - Saint-Gilles.

Augustas Serapinas, Aosta Valley Wooden Collars From Lithuania, 2024. Wood, iron, leather, variable dimensions.
Vicolo S. Egidio (Meadow under the bell tower of the Collegiata)

It can only be reached on foot via a staircase. Not easily accessible to people with disabilities.

Lithuanian vernacular architecture has long interested me. Thinking of the Lithuanian house as a mobile element, I see the potential of material dialogue traveling through different cultures and heritages, from Lithuania to Italy. From a log to an object. From a piece of wall to the wooden collars.

Augustas Serapinas (Vilnius, Lithuania, 1990) lives and work in Vilnius, Lithuania. His site-specific installations weave narratives that delve into the stories of places, people, and memories. By stripping usual characteristics from spaces and objects and attributing new properties to them, Serapinas challenges our prior perceptions. Through these alterations, he reconsiders the ‘intermediate’ space as a public area, making visible the institutional, hierarchical, or even economic functions that arise from architectural conditions. His work has been featured in numerous biennials and collective exhibitions, including the 57th Venice Biennale (IT, 2017), the Toronto Biennial of Art (CA, 2022), and Riboca2 (LV, 2020). His upcoming solo exhibitions are scheduled at the CAC in Vilnius, ICA Milan, and Bündner Kunstmuseum in Chur.

My work is characterised by seeing institutions through the invisible people who work in them and the importance of what they do. What I call ‘the system of concealing and revealing’ begins with human relationships and, whatever final form the work or exhibition takes, always marks them.

Verrès (AO)
Valle d'Aosta

Set in the mountains, Verrès is an enchanting village in the province of Aosta, lying on the banks of the river Evançon, close to the towering spurs at the entrance to the Challand valley.
A village of particularly ancient origins, dating back to the Roman imperial age, with a historical centre that has a lot to offer, its square Piazza XXV Aprile in fact forms the main gateway. On this piazza there are the town hall and the mid-17th-century “Cappella dell’Addolorata”, now deconsecrated and hosting cultural activities organised by the Proloco (tourist office).
The important religious structures include the Collegiata di Saint-Gilles, founded in the year 911 and comprising a collegiate church with a scriptorium, a cloister, and a very rich library that still preserves parchments, papal bulls, precious manuscript volumes and 16th-century books.
The castle of Verrès, one of the most famous medieval castles in the Aosta Valley, was built in 1360 as an impregnable fortress and today it dominates the town, overlooking the valley to the north and the plain to the south. Other highlights include the ancient farmstead known as “La Murasse”, dating back to 1512, which, after a conservative restoration in the 1990s, now houses offices and exhibition and conference rooms.

Thanks to: Mayor Alessandro Giovenzi, Deputy Mayor Alessandro Rossi, Omar Tonino, Daniele Morzenti, Edi Henriet, Cinzia Finotto, A.R.E.V. (Association Régionale Eleveurs Valdôtains), Curch of Saint-Gilles di Verrès, Gilles Joly, Giulio Malcuit, Matteo Cout, Apalazzo Gallery, Brescia.