Martynas Martišius. O, saule mano.
2001, plastmasė, 170 x 60 x 140
Aistė Kirvelytė. Dengia akis.
1998, drobė, aliejus, 200 x 180
Vilius Vanagas. Broliai viską sutvarkys.
2003, pjuvenų plokštė, mišri technika,
245 x 183
Emilis Vėlyvis. Šokis.
2001, kartonas, aliejus, 122 x 96
Agnė Geniušaitė. Be pavadinimo.
2000, drobė, aliejus, 149 x 150,6
Evaldas Mikalauskis. Namai I, II.
1990, ofortas, 20 x 29
Sandra Nikitinaitė. Be pavadinimo.
2002, ofortas, 31 x 40
Jonas Žukas. Instaliacija Malonumas. 2000,
polistirolas, porolonas, audinys, šviesa, garsas, kvapai, 300 x 300
Occasion of the 210th Anniversary of the Vilnius Art Academy
On March 28 through
June 15, 2003, the Vilnius Art Academy launched a programme dedicated
to the 210th anniversary of the school. Eighteen main exhibition venues
of the country featured artworks created in the last ten years by the
alumni of the Academy and its branches. All the events highlighted the
fact that the past ten years represent the time of research and experiment
free from ideological constraints. The article focuses on the exhibition
We Are Coming opened at the Contemporary Art Center (CAC)
on March 28 and featuring work by the students of three Academys
departments (chairs) Painting, Sculpture, and Photography and
The exhibition is discussed by drawing parallels with some concurrent
events, namely the exhibition Hurts So Good, featuring 13
video artists graduates of Jan van Eycks Academy in Maastricht.
This exhibition was also hosted by CAC to provide a wider context for
the local event. Two other exhibitions by Vilnius students were
located at several different venues and in the basement of CAC.
The exhibition We Are Coming was curated by the established
art critic, curator, and professor at the academy, Raminta Jurėnaitė.
By referring to a renaissance of painting and a decline in video art
fashion, the curator noted a logical inconsistence of the works presented
by the graduates of the local academy. This way she seemed to have won
an unfair game. Jan van Eycks Academy offered high quality video
works tuned to the appropriate context. The local academy
was represented by a youthful, somewhat eclectic selection of paintings,
objects and artworks in different mediums, without any attempts to meet
the sterile criteria of the high art.
It is impossible to compare the presentations by the academies of Maastricht
and Vilnius without having in mind the difference of experience between
the two schools. Even though the local academy emphasizes its hundred
years old traditions, the first master class graduating in 1997 marked
a new stage in the system of instruction. At the time new programmes
started taking shape, therefore the contemporary Lithuanian art school
is still in its infancy. Even today, the usual model typical of Western
institutions (of undergraduate teaching and graduate research) has not
evolved in the local school. One reason for that is probably the legacy
of the former management form in the academy.
The exhibition We Are Coming lacks some better representation
of works produced in the past ten years and focuses mostly on those
created after the year 2000. This way it fails to reflect some critical
overhauling of tradition related with the emergence of some leading
contemporary art proponents as well as classes taught by individual
professors, which made history in the life of the academy. It is a shame,
that the exhibition ignores a rather passionate advent of contemporary
art to the Vilnius Art Academy.
Though the first results of the photography and video art masters
course were far from impressive (in 1996), it is precisely this chair
that is expected today to contribute most to mastering of contemporary
language of art. The boundaries established in the CAC exhibition (works
are separated based on mediums employed), seem to suggest quite straightforwardly
that contemporary art should be separated from the formal
structure of the schools faculties and chairs.
Alongside, it is important to remember that no art market, which is
a neutral tool for art legitimization, exists in Lithuania, and the
monopoly of the Vilnius Art Academy in contemporary artistic life creates
a rather special situation. Still, the integration of learning requirements
and a welcoming attitude towards new disciplines will provide for establishment
of positive tendencies within local context.