art 2002/2

Eglė Ganda Bogdanienė. Puota. 2001, vilna, gobelenas, 266 x 150

Mina Levitan-Babenskienė. Žvaigždžių takas. 2002, sumako audimas, 96 x 136

Jūratė Petruškevičienė. Laiko pamiršti. 2000, tiulis, siūlai, fotografijos, 135 x 135

Honorata Razmienė. Kvadratas. 2002, linas, medis, rištinė technika, 120 x 120

The Unvanquished Citadel of Beauty

In October 2000 the galleries of the Lithuanian Artists’ Association hosted an overview exhibition of Lithuanian applied art. It was dedicated to celebrate 70 years of Lithuanian ceramics school. Over a hundred of Lithuanian artists showed their work at the exhibition, curated by Aušra Petroškienė, Žydrė Ridulytė and Ona Tamuliūnienė. Sited in three galleries in Vilnius, on display were textile, leather, glass articles and metal objects, ceramic works and jewellery. Two art critics, Lijana Šatavičiūtė and Roma Survilienė discussed the event on the Internet.

L.Š. I looked forward for this apparently "obsolete" overview exhibition. It has been a while since we saw textile, ceramic, glass, leather, jewellery work under one roof. All these branches have experienced numerous transformations.
R.S. I have doubts about the term "applied" art – it covers such dramatically different works in this exhibition.
L.Š. Art terms do not develop fast enough to reflect changes in art. The Lithuanian "Dailės žodynas" (Art Dictionary) published in 1999 had no ambition to coin new terms. Such terms as "applied decorative" art and "monumental" art have remained in use.
R.S. The number of participants is impressive – 170 authors. But textile and ceramics are, as usual, represented most extensively. Yet there are very few glass and jewellery works, some famous names also are missing. I also expected young artists to be more active.
L.Š. I agree it is impossible to make any conclusions about contemporary glass and metal works nor jewellery – these branches are not sufficiently represented.
R.S. Some established ceramicists are also not showcased. The display was clearly dominated by ceramic sculpture pieces. Any surprises?
L.Š. For ceramics, which gives quite a good first impression, the time seems to have stopped in the middle of the 1980s. Textile works strike as more diverse and interesting, yet overall level is lower. It is a shame that the ceramicists, who were creating postmodern work in the past decade, are not on display. Textile artists had to look for new forms as they lost their commissions they used to have in Soviet Lithuania. By the time, the ceramicists were already used to producing conceptual and gallery-bound works.
R.S. There are no striking novelties. Yet in the 1990s Lithuanian applied art became more diverse and stronger, international activity stimulated search of new materials and rediscovery of forgotten ones, like linen and amber.
Two general trends in the applied works are obvious: one group is more traditional, dominated by the skills of the trade and functionality. The other group includes works where choice of matter is arbitrary and idea-driven. Some works combine both elements. Yet for all these works the character of the material used and aesthetic category are paramount. Lithuanian applied art seems to have remained an unvanquished citadel of beauty.