dailė 2002/1

Romanas Vilkauskas. Interjeras su pašto dėžutėmis
Drobė, aliejus, 89 x 94, 1981

Romanas Vilkauskas. Natiurmortas su obuoliukais
Drobė, aliejus, 80 x 80, 1980

Romanas Vilkauskas. Raudonas archyvas
Medis, dažytas kartonas, medvaržčiai, 50 x 60 x 200, 1999

Romanas Vilkauskas: The Poetry of the Garage Door

Viktoras Liutkus

The Baltic artists’ exhibition at Zimmerli Art Museum (USA) compiled from the Norton and Nancy Dodge’s nonconformist 1956–1986 Baltic Art Collection featured seven works by Romanas Vilkauskas, an obvious favorite by the collectors and the curator of the exhibition.
The art by the Lithuanian painter must have attracted the American collectors, who in total have accumulated a collection of 20 thousand works of nonconformist Soviet art, by his ambition to feel the nerve of the time and temptation to lift the curtain of history. It is equally important, that in his works of the 1980s, - three of them, Garage Door (green, yellow, red) a highlight of Lithuanian portion in the cited exhibition, - Vilkauskas managed to find the vocabulary which best fitted his message: the rational style of the Photographic Realism. The painter though went a long way to “purify” his still-lives, interiors or landscapes showing seemingly mundane objects, like uniform post boxes of the dwellers in a block of flats into neat poetic images of the Soviet reality. Though he was not a single soldier on the battlefield (a group of four other Lithuanian painters started working in a similar manner before him), yet it was a revolt against dominating and largely preferred expressive and emotional style in painting. For the artist himself it took to liberate his manner from his initial straightforwardness in treating a social theme. Many a time his pieces were not only formal novelty, but also politically challenging statements, which made the art establishment and the boards of the exhibitions (in pre-perestroika era) reject his work.