art 2004/2
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The Alchemic of the Scene

by Radvilė Racėnaitė

Two-part exhibition, The Alchemic of the Scene, commemorating the birth centenary of the prominent scenographer and unique personality Liudas Truikys, was hosted at the National M.K.Čiurlionis Art Museum in Kaunas and the Lithuanian Museum of Theatre, Music and Film in Vilnius. In the history of Lithuanian arts the name of Luidas Truikys is synonymous with the idea of arts synthesis (common to many creative minds at the turn of the 19th -20th centuries), which he applied, with great talent, to music and theatre stage to develop a unique model of the opera performance art. His art drew inspiration from the wealth of cultural heritage of numerous cultures and centuries, in which he was well-versed. His scenography work integrated the motives of ancient civilizations, of Western European art and those of Lithuanian folk art. In his stage sets the employment of architectural detail or human figure was based on association principle, while the scenic view was constructed to reflect the musical structure of the piece.
The Kaunas exibition introduced the early stage of Liudas Truikys’ work dating back to 1931 – 1932, when he produced scenography and designed costumes for the drama plays staged by the Šiauliai National Drama Theatre. His true acclaim came with the projects for the Kaunas National Drama Theatre, such like the Play of Gold and On the Right Track by P. Vaičiūnas, mostly conceived in the manner of Constructivism and Art decor. In his other pieces, he employed Expressionist stylistics. His stage sets for musical productions brought Liudas Truikys not only public appreciation, but also an international acclaim. His stage set for The Three Talismans (opera by A. Račiūnas) was awarded the Diplome d‘Honneur in 1937, France. The Three Talismans as well as Eglė by M. Petrauskas and J. Dambrauskas (1939) represent a seamless blend of modern art and the stylised Lithuania folk motif, both in scenic design and in costume design. In the 1960s–1980s he produced the polyphonic masterpieces of scenic art in Don Carlos (1959 and 1978) and Aida (1975), the operas by G. Verdi as well as Madam Butterfly (1986) by G. Puccini.
The Kaunas exhibition featured three versions of G. Puccini’s Madam Butterfly’s stage set by Liudas Truikys. The three versions encapsulate his three creative stages (1937, 1959 and 1986) to reveal his maturation from the first version containing realistic details in 1937 up to perfectly generalized forms, embodying yet more powerfully the vastness of human tragedy.

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