art 2004/2


Matej Krén (Slovakija). Instaliacija Omphalos (detalė). 2000, knygos, veidrodžiai, šviesa, 6500x275

Petras Mazūras. Instaliacija Citrina. 2004, medis, akmuo, 170x60x70

The New Ten

by Raminta Jurėnaitė

To introduce the art of ten new members of the European Union, The Art and Culture Foundation of Bonn launched a four-leg travelling exhibition with stops in Duisburg, Vienna, Manheim and Ostende. The three curators, Evelyn Weiss, Lorand Hegyi and the author of the article selected a couple of artists from each of the ten countries. They looked to include, alongside with the names well known on the European stage, the middle generation artists who had established themselves at home, but had not got a chance to gain recognition outside their country. Young artists had to be part of the event, too. In contrast to the numerous previous projects introducing the art of the post-communist region, The New Ten was not dominated by a political theme or by work of documental nature. The focus was on art offering individual interpretations of social developments instead of being just a record of these. Being a feast of imagination, the event offered a fun experience to the viewer, who responded a very positive way.
The sculptural-exotic plant compositions by one of the Lithuanian artists, Petras Mazūras, struck a contrasting note to the accelerated rhythm of on the region. The painstakingly grown (by the sculptor himself) vines and pine-apple trees in the stone containers with supporting metal watering systems sent multiple poetic-philosophic messages.
Slovak Matej Kréno showed an installation of books, reminiscent of an igloo and titled Omphalos. Similar to a beehive or a haystack structure spoke of the contrast between the universal values an predominantly transient nature of human activity. Czech Ivan Kafka filled up the approaches of the exhibition space with hundreds of inflated plastic bags, painted in the colours of the national flag – a scathing comment on consumerism engulfing his country. Katerina Vincourova, one of the most famous young names in Prague, on the contrary, demonstrated her fascination with plastic as material. The consumer world and its boredom, paradoxically, is the female artist’s source of inspiration.
Hungarian Antal Lakner, Slovenian Dušan Zidar and Katarzyna Józefowicz from Poland represent a different trend characterised by the reflection of and the dialogue with the scientific world and the social sphere. Yet among them, are obvious differences. The installations by Lakner represent alternatives to research models (in biotechnology); Zidar prefers a visual metaphor: his surrealistic sculpture pieces assembled of chopped human parts alongside with geometric structures strike an apocalyptic note.
The young artists from the Famous Five and Kristīne Kursiša presented the same work they showed in 2003 at the CAC in Vilnius. For them, the starting point is documentary images, reconstructed, to engulf also the irrational world. Estonian Ene-Liis Semper and Lithuanian Karolis Jankus pursue a similar agenda. Their subjective video pieces fuse their interior world with reality. The films by Jankus, in contrast to Semper’s work featuring exclusively the author, include multiple characters. Crime, poverty and prostitution are his themes, while a surrealistic element contributes to a depressive dream-like atmosphere.
The only link between the paintings by Polish Jadwiga Sawicka, Hungarian Agnes Szépfalvi, Slovak Bohdan Hostinak, Slovenian Viktor Bernik and Estonian Kaido Ole is summed up by the principle of ‘painting after painting’. All of them integrate visual or textual elements from other media into their paintings.
Though the nature of the works featured was hardly determined by the regional or national associations, some regional features were there. The work by Theodouloso from Cyprus tends to be static in the Byzantine tradition, while the objects by Maria Loizidou call for parallels with the artists in Athens.