For a hundred years
Lithuanians were used to the idea that the figure of an artist epitomises
the national spirit. The after-war wave of soviet globalisation only
reinforced the stature of an artist as a spokesman for the national
ideals. There was no clash between the fundamental values and the intrinsic
art values, therefore an individual man and the nation could coexist
in harmony. Art was instrumental in resisting violence in a non-violent
manner and stood for the nations passion to survive.
Yet after the explosion of freedom in 19881990, it is impossible
to see a clear picture. Over the last 10 years art has become a business
of professionals and a small circle of art consumers. At the same time,
hundreds and thousands of hearts are being lost. Among many reasons,
a key one is the acute infection of Postmodernism. It is foolish to
claim that Postmodernism mirrors the situation of a modern man. An average
or normal man is so alienated from his soul that he is
scared even to look into it. The gap between man and his identity is
a gap separating epochs. Postmodernism installs itself in this gap with
its power of shock and its principle anything goes. Yet
then everything becomes boring, and at this moment truth disappears.
Artists in this situation have nothing else to do, but offer themselves
for sale. Luckily, we have failed to create our brand name, which is
what the West cares for most, and the capitalist market is already full.
If we defy the market philosophy of Postmodernism, we might be interesting
and needed. Every artist depends on the soil which has nourished him,
he transforms it in his art, but the original remains recognizable.
Lithuanian art has to take inspiration from Lithuanian literature, which
is in a better situation today. Art and literature are the two citadels
which we have to defend to the end, otherwise there is not much left
for us to do.