This publication was made possible through
the support of the Media Support Foundation.
Ingrida Korsakaite, Vaclovas Krutinis, Bronius Leonavicius
Public Spaces and Art
4 Egle Rindzeviciute Power for Culture?
9 Conversation Art Management: Yes or
Trilupaityte A Parallel Artistic Activity
by Egle Rindzeviciute
The main objective of this article has been originally formulated as
a problematic analysis of art management. However, it is difficult to
single out the field of art management due to two reasons. First, it
is doubtful if management as a field of activity can be classified according
to the traditional art fields (music, visual arts, theatre etc.). In
this case art management can hardly by distinguished as a specific activity
due to a vague limit between different art branches. On the other hand,
quite often neither material nor chronological criteria can hinder the
joining of different works in one project.
Management is not a mere neutral form that can absorb any "cultural
content" - the semantic load of art (culture) necessarily affects
the nature of management itself. On the other hand, it is impossible
to distinguish as many different systems of management as there are
cultural fields. Obviously there is something that allows us to consider
organizational activities in the field of culture as specific, i.e.
similar to and at the same time different from business management.
One of the major factors in consolidating the occupation of culture
manager is the state's growing concern for culture. The development
of culture management as an object of study can be explained by the
increasing state subsidies for artistic activity and non-profit organizations,
decentralization of responsibility, recognition of the influence of
art and culture on economy, aestheticizing of daily life and the growing
requirements for economic efficiency of cultural institutions.
Management means creating necessary conditions for workers to perform
their duties in an efficient way. In this respect culture management
as a practice does and will exist in Lithuania. On the other hand, is
it professional enough? The educational system and the existence of
local and international professional community (expressed by the presence
of both individual and communal identity) can be used as criteria of
We can distinguish the outer and inner preconditions necessary for efficient
culture management. The outer preconditions are a stable economic and
political situation, a clear-cut state cultural policy, a taxation system
that encourages sponsorship etc. Though the developing Lithuanian economy
can hardly be called stable, it should not necessarily be a reason for
the resignation of culture managers. The cultural sphere is quite favourable
for this kind of activity, as a certain economic chaos can even be advantageous.
The presence or absence of the Lithuanian state cultural policy has
become an increasingly popular object of discussion. First of all it
has been determined by contacts with Western European countries and
dissatisfaction of local state and non-state cultural organizations
with the state's activity in the field of culture (first of all distribution
of funding). In the most general sense, culture policy can be understood
as certain aims and a means to achieve them. It is natural that the
state cultural policy reflects the values of general politics. For example,
the priorities of culture policy formulated by the European Union clearly
advance the values of liberal democracy.
The inner preconditions of efficient culture management is a clear vision
of one's activity and organization, sensitivity to the changing environment
and public needs, openness to cooperation and strategic thinking. Rich
imagination is the most important personal quality of a culture manager,
particularly having in mind the mobilization of financial resources.
The post-industrial state has undoubtedly placed particular importance
on the manager's occupation. A contemporary manager is not a supervisor
of a work process, but a creative organizer and designer of cultural
and social changes. On the other hand, not every contemporary artist
is a romantic recluse or a radical critic of society. Unlike in the
1970's, at the end of the 20th century the commercialization of the
art world no longer remains a source of frustration for artists. Artists
have adjusted themselves to the market-shaped world and perceive it
as a given factor.
The role of a culture manager is particularly important, as it is first
of all mediation among different fields embracing culture, politics
and economy, between consensus and innovation, between an aesthetic
game and social criticism. In Zygmunt Bauman's words, culture generates
constant changes in a very particular way - by creating a certain order.
It is this passion for order rising from the fear of chaos, the emergence
of culture and the realization that the fate of order lies in the hands
of man, that has brought the modern world to a period characterized
by the unceasing change of forms and models. Or a form of power meant
Management: Yes or No
about art management in Lithuania, with the participation of Anders
Kreuger, an independent curator (Stockholm, Vilnius), Lolita Jablonskiene,
the head of the Contemporary Art Information Centre, the Lithuanian
Art Museum, Gabriele Zaidyte, the head of the UNESCO Chair of Culture
Management and Culture Politics of the Vilnius Academy of Arts, Danute
Zoviene, the editor of the "Daile" magazine, Klaudijus Petrulis, an
artist, Edvardas cankus, the manager of the Vilnius Small Theatre. Moderator
- Ieva Kuiziniene, a program coordinator of the UNESCO Chair of Culture
Management and Culture Politics of the Vilnius Academy of Arts.
The main goal
of the conversation was to discuss and define the concept of art management,
to analyze if it is necessary or redundant for Lithuanian culture, if
it needs any special conditions and what makes a good culture manager.
In the opinion of Anders Kreuger, it is not worth while placing any
special significance on art management and culture politics - in many
countries, Sweden in particular, culture management is being emphasized
much more than culture itself. Besides, many people who are engaged
in culture politics and management are rather ignorant about art and
culture. Lithuania may soon face the same danger. Work experience is
a basic factor, and it is always useful to study and discuss things
with colleagues from other countries. However, it is bad if people only
discuss the technical side of their activity and forget why they are
doing this work in general. Gabriele Zaidyte stressed the fact that
in Lithuania there are many culture managers engaged in practical work,
and they perform quite well, but lack systematic theoretical studies.
Cultural events that they organize could well fit into the context of
European culture, but the work of culture managers could be facilitated
by purposeful and more extensive studies. In Danute Zoviene's opinion,
we should relate culture management with the existence of market. At
the present time there are many independent companies and institutions
that take care of promoting and selling their products themselves. What
could be the functions of an art manager in the context of the art market
in Lithuania? Lolita Jablonskiene noted that market and management do
not exist separately. Without knowing the international context, nobody
can work and sell culture products in Lithuania. The Lithuanian art
market cannot be closed - it should be integrated into the international
market. On the other hand, the infrastructure of Lithuanian cultural
life is in the state of chaos, and the state funding for culture is
often distributed in a disproportional and unjust way. Many culture
institutions receive large subsidies from the state, but carry out very
limited activity and, on the contrary, some institutions receive little
support from the state, but people who work there exert themselves to
the maximum. An art manager can hardly be able to influence the entire
infrastructure of culture in Lithuania. In the opinion of Ieva Kuiziniene,
though Lithuania is seeking to join the European cultural community,
it lacks a firm and widely recognized cultural identity and philanthropic
traditions, and therefore the pragmatic principles of management can
start influencing economic factors to the disadvantage of cultural values.
To generalize, in the words of Danute Zoviene, a good art manager should
first of all be an individuality, a professional in his field, noted
for altruism and ethical behaviour, well-aware of the international
context and the present situation and capable of changing it with his
A Parallel Artistic Activity
the pulse of art life is often measured not only by exhibition projects,
but also by "parallel activity" - informal events and gatherings that
explicitly reveal the different poles of the functioning of the art
world. Leaving aside its "high" aspect, we'll see that its "light" aspect
(which includes the images of musical subculture, the new media and
contemporary means of communication) can be identified with an attractive
form of spending time.
Unofficial gatherings have always been important, as most frequently
not only informal, but also "actual" relations among the participants
of the art scene are based on personal communication. The experience
of "alternative culture" is not unique: it was in the early 1990's when
artists in the neighbouring Baltic countries started to hold parties
integrating the contemporary phenomena of Western subculture. The appearance
of E-Lab group from Riga is related with spontaneous gatherings of young
artists experimenting with new technologies, DJ's and fashion designers.
The new Estonian art elite today can be characterized as a phenomenon
of acid house club culture. Since the parallel activity is directly
related with informal gatherings of individuals practicing a similar
life style, leisure time preferences at least partly articulate the
identity of the new generation. Spontaneous and short-lived groups are
united by a specific emotional and first of all sound atmosphere. The
mixing of images and sounds, the combining of different periods and
styles, enforced by the recurring rhythm or phrases creates an illusion
of absolute temporality, a triumph of process, and sometimes - a new
On the contemporary art scene in Vilnius parallel activity and half-public
gatherings have not yet become a community ritual imposed from above.
Parties first of all fill a certain gap or an obvious demand for alternative
culture - the existence of brief, unimposing and democratic events enlivens
the rhythm of art life.
Paper, ink, 12x11, 1909
and the Processes of Modernism
to establish the relation of M.K. Ciurlionis with 20th century modernism,
first of all we should renounce any attempts to assign him the title
of the "first abstractionist". If we consider abstract (non-representational,
non-objective) art as an art free of any representation of objects of
the visible world, we should acknowledge that Ciurlionis did not paint
a single purely abstract painting. Foreign researchers usually place
Ciurlionis among symbolists, but quite often he is credited with being
one of the forefathers or pioneers of abstract art. As a matter of fact,
Ciurlionis' relation with modernism is most explicitly revealed in the
context of the emerging abstract painting. Though his paintings contain
some elements typical of other trends of modernism, these elements are
too weak or insufficient to establish closer links of his artwork with,
for example, futurism: at a closer look differences exceed similarities.
Neither can Ciurlionis be regarded the founder of surrealism, though
some parallels can be drawn.
In Ciurlionis' paintings we can always find, in different proportions,
two layers, - abstract and representational; therefore it would be most
suitable to call them semi-abstract. Consequently, Ciurlionis can be
called the founder of abstract art as much as we can place him in the
context of transitional period that ended with the emergence of purely
abstract painting, i.e. free from representation of objects of the visible
If the way of Kupka, Kandinsky, Russian avant-gardists and Mondrian
to purely abstract painting was determined by theosophical and occult
ideas, Ciurlionis, despite certain reflections of theosophical ideas
in his paintings, did not take a systematic interest in these concepts
and held views characteristic of more traditional Nordic Romanticists.
On the other hand, though Ciurlionis, like many artists of the beginning
of the 20th century, took interest in scientific achievements, he observed
the world with a lyrical-poetic rather than analytic look. In his written
heritage we will not find anything like the attitude of Kandinsky, who
wrote in a letter to A. Schönberg: "in my soul the division of the atom
was equal to a division of the whole world". It may have determined
the fact that at the meeting point of art and science, crucial to the
whole 20th century art, Ciurlionis took a different direction than Kandinsky
and Kupka who had studied biology at Sorbonne. Ciurlionis' creative
method is based on moderate transformation, connection and synthesis
of a motif of nature, and the use of musical principles in painting
cycles; while the method of Kandinski and Kupka consists not only of
analysis of a motif, but also of deconstruction of form and creation
of an essentially new artistic reality.
Ciurlionis developed graphical-spatial means of abstraction rather than
colour abstraction, and offered one of the most interesting ways of
applying musical principles in painting; in this respect he can be regarded
as one of those artists who took part in a process leading to abstract
painting. On the other hand, Ciurlionis basically did not change the
visual idiom, and did not seriously attempt to turn the metaphorical,
symbolic and allegoric language of his painting sonatas into a sign
language. In his works the content layer remains very important, and
refined aestheticism of form coexists with the symbolism of theme. Ciurlionis
gave utmost importance to the means of artistic expression in painting
and graphic art in themselves, but the way he explored their possibilities
cannot be compared to the emphasis on the formal elements in the painting
of Kandinsky or period French modernists. In this respect Ciurlionis
is above all a symbolist.
To summarize, it would not be right to call Ciurlionis "the first abstractionist",
since he did not paint a single purely abstract painting. His works
can be regarded semi-abstract. However, in a certain period some paintings
by Ciurlionis were innovative enough to allow us to consider him, with
certain reservations, one of the pioneers, though probably not the leading
one, of abstract painting.
Povilas Vilutis. Big Heart.
oil, 73,5x59, 1999
Playing the Future
artists nor spectators have high expectations for large review exhibitions.
Even the large halls of the Contemporary Art Centre are too small for
concise presentation of all good artworks created in several years.
In the exhibition "Tradition and Future" we do not see works by many
distinct and productive contemporary artists that would have raised
the general level of the exhibition. The exhibition is too specific,
its ideological basis is the relationship between "traditional" and
"new" art (though these concepts are not defined more concretely). However,
the texts in the catalog reveal that this relationship is not even clear:
sometimes it is a conflict, sometimes - an interaction, and sometimes
- a democratic coexistence of all manifestations of art.
The authors of the exhibited works are much more interested in objects
than in humans. Works of three distinct types prove the influence of
conceptualists dealing with ready-made objects on traditional representation:
1. An object out of place, e.g. Vytautas Serys' installation; 2. An
object of unordinary size (exaggerated or minimized), e.g. "Hif" by
Vytautas Martisius or "The Woman's Life" by Solveiga Kriviciene; 3.
An object made of unordinary substance, e.g. a staircase carved of solid
granite by Antanas Snaras. In general, the innovations presented at
the exhibition are relative and can be easily categorized.
Most likely, this exhibition is not one of those that turn the customary
art constellations upside down and break the stereotypes of public opinion,
and before long it will go into oblivion having received several moderately
favourable or skeptical reviews.
Tapestry (56x75), wall paper (250x100), mixed technique, 1997
A Faltering Tradition
By its wide
scope a review exhibition of fine and applied art "Tradition and Future"
held by the Lithuanian Artists' Association reminiscent of the last
year's exhibition "Lithuanian Art 1989-99: Ten Years" that occupied
the entire space of the Contemporary Art Centre. The team of the CAC
curators retrospectively turned to the past and produced their own version
of the decade's art, while this exhibition presents works created during
the last three years and tries to foresee the future of the tradition.
However, both exhibitions are united by the aim of the institutions
to consolidate their strategies of shaping the art process and establishing
the criteria of their formation.
What tradition does the exhibition "Tradition and Future" refer to?
Unfortunately, the texts in the catalog of the exhibition curated by
Elona Lubyte and Ieva Kuiziniene do not conceptualize it. Tradition
is merely related with traditional art genres (painting, graphic art,
sculpture, ceramics etc.) versus the new genres (probably video and
installations), which only reflects the outdated compartmentalized thinking.
Though, in Lubyte's opinion, the division between traditional and new
art is artificially overemphasized, the principle of the review exhibition
to present works by artists belonging to all sections of the Artists'
Association becomes an obstacle in seeking the desired artistic quality.
It has been a long time since one great tradition ceased to exist giving
way to a variety of small traditions. It is interesting to note that
quite often it is new art that provokes changes in the tradition and
encourages a renewal of artistic technologies. As the curators themselves
noticed, applied art is losing its functionality and getting more visual,
while fine art is turning more decorative, and both of them are becoming
more conceptual. Unfortunately, the exhibition did not reveal these
conceptual links. The sole criterion of "tradition" remained the material
used and the belonging to the Artists' Association.
Leonavicius. Illustrations Vilnius' legends.
Special paper, tempera, 60x60, 2000
The 7th Vilnius Triennial of Book Art
This year the
7th international Vilnius triennial of book art was held in the "Arka"
gallery. The traditional proportion of participating artists was disrupted
by the absence of Latvians, the majority being Lithuanian artists (40),
and the rest - Estonians (9).
The Lithuanian part of the exhibition was mainly made up of works by
well-known book illustrators - Irena Dauksaite-Guobiene, Saulius Chlebinskas,
Arvydas Kazdailis, Rimvydas Kepezinskas, Bronius Leonavicius and others.
On the other hand, among the participants there were quite many young
artists, whose works can hold interest for serious publishers: Evaldas
Mikalauskis' mysterious and precise illustrations to The Snow Queen,
Inga Mazetyte's interpretations of Liber bestiarum hominum by Nietzsche
testifying to the high book culture in Lithuania, Egle Gelaziute's illustrations
to The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov and others.
The rather small collection of Estonian books did not fully reflect
the situation in Estonian book illustration. The presented works did
not allow us to imagine the whole context. Unfortunately, we did not
see Latvian artists, whose works could have rendered a new aspect to
the exhibition. The presence of already published books in the exhibition
could have created an interesting context of how they relate to the
originals of illustrations and ideas.
Books, concrete, 315x75x110, 2000
Almar (Vengrija). Dies Irae - God's Anger.
Paper covered by plaster and silk ribbon, 21x29,7, 2000
Triennial of the Artist's Book
year the main exhibition of the artist's book took place at the "Arka"
gallery and was accompanied by a satellite exhibition "The Calligraphic
Book. Apocalypse" at the "Kaire-Desine" gallery, and "Project in Project
No. 1", which consisted of artists' books created on the basis of "Revelation
to St. John" from the New Testament. On November 3rd foreign and Lithuanian
artists took part in the international conference-discussion "The Artist's
Book: A Conceptual Book". The participants of the triennial of the artist's
book (Eef Zipper from Austria, Diane MacLean from Scotland, Charles
Cave from USA, Sabine Hoffmann from Germany, Ilona Kiss from Hungary,
Katriona Persson from Sweden and others) told the audience about the
tradition and situation of the artist's book in their countries. A large
part of this exhibition is going to be transferred to Austria, Gallery
5020 in Salzburg.
This year approximately 130 artists from 29 countries took part in the
triennial. Beside the well-known Lithuanian artists Diana Radaviciute,
Ausra Andziulyte, Roberta Vaigeltaite, Elvyra Katalina Kriauciunaite
and others, there were many new names: Egle Kuckaite, Simonas Duda,
There is a growing interest in this field of art in Lithuania, and many
artists specializing in other art forms create artists' books. Lithuanian
artists' books have been exhibited at the Leipzig book fair and Frankfurt
book fair. A collection of Lithuanian artists' books is held at the
commercial German gallery "Globus".
Tamosaitis. Two Suns.
Ceramic mosaic, 43x28x8, 2000
Sakalauskas. Kryziu kalno pranciskonu cloister. Tabernacle.
Fire-clay, 10000 C, oak, h 170, 2000
Keeping Apart from Commotion
The name of
Rimantas Sakalauskas deserves to be mentioned among ten most remarkable
Lithuanian artists. However, his works still remain outside the public
discourse on art. It is not only for the fact that contemporary art
criticism is focused on the newest art or sensational facts of the art
scene. The artist himself avoids publicity and quite rarely participates
in exhibitions. The three last solo exhibitions of his works were held
in 1998-99 in the Kretinga Museum, a private gallery in Israel and the
Ministry of Foreign Affairs - venues that even passionate art lovers
hardly frequent. The majority of his works created for public spaces
are located in cemeteries (approximately 15 monuments), and in the recent
years he has been creating artworks for churches. Therefore, his works
are concentrated in a land rarely visited by art professionals.
At first look, the "formula" of his works is very simple - a clear and
even elementary construction, and a rich and extraordinarily beautiful
décor, whose details seem to grow organically out of the form of the
work. Though abundant, complex and sophisticated, they follow a precise
Sakalauskas works slowly and makes each sculpture as if it did not have
invisible sides, like Muslim or mediaeval masters who always used to
consider in what way their works would be revealed to the Lord's eye.
Therefore one should look at his works from all sides, as it is important
to realize their silhouette and the relation of the details to the totality
of the work.
The main commissioner of Sakalauskas' works is the Franciscan order
of monks. In 1994-98 the artist made an altar for the Vilnius Bernardine
Church, and later also made altars for the Vilnius Church of the Assumption
of the Holy Virgin Mary and the Chapel of the Holy Stairs at the Bernardine
Jonkaityte. Sensation I. Lithography, hand-made paper,
Black and White
by Danute Zoviene
and white are the colours of graphic art. Their harmony, contrasts and
relations make for the entire range of colours in a print. Of all techniques
of graphic art lithograph probably comes closest to painting. This can
be seen in Danute Jonkaityte's works.
Jonkaityte made a debut with her lithographs that received immediate
recognition: in 1980 she won the first award at the Tallinn triennial
of graphic art for two lithographs from the cycle "The Woman", etching
"The Foundation" and a print from the "World" cycle. Though the artist
herself regarded this success as a mere link in a chain of coincidences,
in the 1980's she won many other awards and prizes, among them the prestigious
Eduard Viralt award in the 7th Tallinn triennial of graphic art, a honorary
medal at the international Lodz biennial and the jury award at the international
Krakow triennial this year.
In Jonkaityte's words, lithographs never let an artist lie. A lithograph
immediately reveals the level of the artist's professionalism. Jonkaityte's
lithographs have always been noted for the perfectionism of execution.
She has always been interested in the life of the white colour on a
black surface, the intrusion of white into black. The dizzying blackness
in her lithographs is closer to the cosmic rather than earthly realm.
The choice of theme or motif in her works is often determined by personal
experiences or emotional states. For example, while creating prints
on the theme of the University of Vilnius, the artist wanted to address
the historic event crucial to Lithuania - the founding of the University
of Vilnius by Stephan Batory. Her works reveal an interesting combination
of different materials and techniques. For example, in the cycle "Sensation"
(1999) she combines hand-made paper, lithographic print and pieces of
jewellery. In the words of the art critic Ramute Rachleviciute, Jonkaityte
seems to feel the pulse of contemporary graphic art very precisely,
which helped her win an award at this year's international Krakow triennial
of graphic art.
Matijosaityte-Martinkiene. Eden's Forest.
Clay, mat glaze, 11 patrs, 110x120x100, 1999
Matijosaityte-Martinkiene belongs to those artists who work silently and
modestly in their studios. Since 1980 her works could be occasionally
seen in review exhibitions of applied art and in thematic group exhibitions
of ceramics. It was not until last year that the artist held a solo exhibition
"Images" widely representing her work. In this exhibition the artist presented
her works created in the last five years (1995-99) that reflect her long-time
creative experience and allow us to speak about the artist's "otherness"
in the context of contemporary ceramic art.
"A work can never be finished to the end, - if it were finished, only
a dot or a line would remain and I wouldn't have anything more to say",
Laima Matijosaityte-Martinkiene says. It is not by accident that the artist
keeps returning to the recurring symbolic images. It is not a mere attempt
to perfect the same form, but rather a return to the same state in order
to experience a new hope. On the other hand, the artist's beloved motifs
of birds and reptiles are eloquent by themselves and imply thoughts about
birth, dying and rebirth.
Stylization of nature that prevailed in her earlier works gradually gives
way to almost totally abstract expression: angular forms of composition
details and a somewhat crude texture. Birds and reptiles, ships and windmills
have undergone a metamorphosis and now retain just a hint of the former
shapes. The creative act itself becomes a ritual action, a spiritual language.
Direct experiences and subconscious images are originally transformed
and materialised in Laima Matijosaityte-Martinkiene's works. Therefore
the artist can go to quite unexpected and surprising extremes in her works.
Giedrimiene. Mother of Compassion.
Wool, silk, flax, synthetic, tapestry, 240x188, 1994-1995
Giedrimiene: A Spiritual Innovator of Textile
The name of
Salvinija Giedrimiene is first of all associated with innovative artistic
pursuits in Lithuanian textile. In exhibitions of applied art of the
early 1980's the artist's works were distinguished by their large size,
conventional space, suggestive forms and combinations of bright colours.
Though in that period almost all works by Lithuanian textile artists
were characterized by similar stylistics, Giedrimiene's tapestries stood
out in the context of period textile art by their original character,
boldness and the spirit of artistic talent that is very difficult to
The artist started her creative career with the sports theme celebrating
movement and festivity ("Bicyclists", 1977; "Stadium", 1978). In the
late 1970's and early 1980's Giedrimiene enriched Lithuanian textile
art with unique works on the theme of nature. The colours, forms and
space in her tapestries were based on the contrast principle.
In the solo exhibition held in 1998 at the Museum of Applied Art we
saw a great change in the artist's works. Salvinija is now devoting
all her energy to religious themes that she develops with precision
and in good taste, seeking to perpetuate the divine essence and transcendence.
In her work she is temperate and concentrated, and meticulously plans
every centimetre of her tapestries. The artist herself does not think
that her work has radically changed. In her opinion, art should not
spread destruction, but rather assert light. The impression of light
is something that she has been seeking both in her earlier works and
now. She considers herself a creator of church (not sacral or religious)
Oil on canvas, 150x127, 1997
Laima Drazdauskaite: In a Universe of Silver Dreams
work of Laima Drazdauskaite can be called an optic meditation of spiritualised
(and half-dematerialised) phenomena on the threshold of reality, in
which ghostly shapes never acquire any theomorphic or anthropomorphic
features. They remain a live cosmogonic substance, in which the infinity
does not oppress the soul by its chaotic epiphanies, but rather asserts
a vague hope.
The stylistic features of her work, the outline of her artistic ideals
and the properties of her aesthetic experiences were obviously determined
by the magic of a concrete historical period. However, despite the influence
of certain teachers and a typical aim to liberate herself from realism
built on an ontological lie, which made everyone direct all positive
artistic paradigms to the screen of modernism, in her work the artist
expresses general human values in a very specific way. True, this expression
(despite the alleged anonymity, to which abstract art a priori applies)
is necessarily subjective and even somewhat fastidious. The artist does
not limit herself with meditation learned from modernism. In this respect
she is "orthodox" enough and not only harmoniously joins he so-called
"shift generation" (which can be seen only looking through a small national
microscope), but also merges into a much broader context of modernist
art, flashing out and disappearing in the depths of the cosmic spiral.
Vytaute. Representation of Lithuania at exhibition Sphere
of Sence, Turku, Finland, 2000
Arturas Raila: A Decision to Stay
essay by the Lithuanian art critic gives an outline of the latest works
by Arturas Raila (1998-2000). Raila presented a project aimed to represent
Lithuania in the exhibition "Realm of the Senses" (curated by D. Crawforth;
16 09-05 11 2000) in Finland, the Turku Art Museum. He sent to the exhibition
a Lithuanian living in London who set up the display and communicated
with the participants and organizers of the exhibition.
His work "The Girl is Innocent" travelled to many exhibitions and was
shown in "Manifesta 3" (Ljubljana, Slovenia, 23 06-24 09 2000). Raila's
project "Under the Flag" was executed by the Swedish curator Anders
Kreuger in the exhibition "Dialogue 2: Articulation" (Austria, the Contemporary
Art Centre, 29 04-16 07 2000). This binary video film consisting of
parallel images of "tourist" sights of the city of Linz during the elections
to the Austrian Parliament, and a synchronic commentary of the members
of the Lithuanian national-socialist party watching them, is a study
of social, cultural and psychological parameters. The latest work by
Raila - "Father's Film" - deals with the communal instinct and the vital
need for communication.
J. Matonis and V. Damasevicius: Two White Chroniclers
1994, Juozas Matonis and Vytautas Damasevicius have been making a TV
documentary series "Artists' Portraits". An artist's portrait is a rare
genre in the Lithuanian cinema. Therefore Juozas Matonis and Vytautas
Damasevicius' cycle fills an information gap that appeared 10 years
ago, when "Vaga" publishers ceased to publish a series of booklets "Contemporary
The filmmakers made films about the Lithuanian artists Rimtautas Gibavicius,
Mecislovas Bulaka, Algirdas Petrulis, Stanislovas Kuzma, Algirdas Dovydenas,
Antanas Kmieliauskas and others. All films by Matonis and Damasevicius
have a typical compositional structure containing many features of the
classical portrait genre. The dominant figure in their films is always
the artist himself. Like an artist creating a painted or sculpted image
of another person, in their films the filmmakers prefer to remain invisible.
They follow the classical sequence: the creator-artwork-spectator. The
compositional scheme of these filmed portraits is very simple: they
are films-monologues. As the filmmakers let their characters speak,
they do not interfere in the monologue with questions, but create a
certain provocation behind the frames, which helps the character to
feel more relaxed. Another distinguishing feature of their films is
respect to their characters and ethical attitude to their work. In the
filmmakers' words, in a broad and diverse panorama of contemporary art,
each artist is different, and they consider their main goal to reveal
and emphasize these differences, and to bring out the unique features
of each artist.
Ivanovas (Sophia). Much time and energy is required to transformation,
Koo Jeong-a (Paris).
Manifesta'3. Borderline Syndrome. Energies of
earlier projects, Manifesta '3 was an exhibition for young artists oriented
at reflecting the most urgent processes of contemporary European art.
The curators of this exhibition - Francesco Bonami, Ole Bauman, Maria
Hlavajova and Kathrin Rhotemberg - aimed to react to the changing European
reality, as well as to take into consideration the cultural situation
of the country in which Manifesta was held, which suggested the theoretical
conception of this year's Manifesta. If the first Manifestas were focused
on the "newly discovered" Eastern Europe that had been developing under
different political and cultural conditions, the catalogue of this year's
Manifesta contains theoretical generalizations that explore the art
scene of contemporary Europe in the light of the "borderline syndrome".
The questions "what is Europe today", "what dictates the strategy of
defense" and "where should a borderline be drawn" are reflected in many
projects presented in the exhibition. Even today the borders of Western
Europe are marked by the Shengen treaty, and an artist from the Balkan
countries or Russia, while crossing a border, finds himself in quite
a different situation than a Westerner. Processes resulting from this
situation inspired many works of this year's Manifesta Political reality
(e.g. immigration problems, vanishing boundaries of ethnic identity
and new walls that are being erected) not only dictates interpretations
of many works in the exhibition, but also marks the "defensive" aspect
of thinking in today's Europe, its defensive attitude with a view to
Marks, Jüri Kass (Estonia). Under Fire.
Computer graphic, 300x90, 2000
The Krakow Triennial of Graphic Art
in 1960, biennial exhibitions of Polish graphic art in Krakow before
long became international and found their place among well-regarded
exhibitions of graphic art in Ljubljana, Lugano and Buenos Aires. In
the last decade the traditional exhibition underwent marked changes,
becoming triennial instead of biennial, and the technical requirements
and limitations became less strict.
The Grand Prix of this year's exhibition was given to the Polish artist
Tomasz Struk. His abstract "astronomic" etchings were noted for their
eloquent mysterious character. The Romanian artist Maria Bianca Abrudan
was awarded a prize for graphic art best reflecting the idea of the
exhibition "A Bridge to the Future".
An important addition to the panoramic view of world graphic art presented
in the triennial was solo exhibitions of the Bosnian artist Mersad Berber,
the Macedonian Greek from Poland Jan Konstantinov Punta, the Pole Wojciech
Müller and the Japanese Toshir Haman and the Ryu group, to mention just
The many-faceted activity of the organizers of the Krakow Triennial
of Graphic Art, continuation of tradition and parallel development of
experiments, the scope and geography of the presented projects makes
this exhibition more attractive to many Lithuanian artists than the
Tallinn triennial of graphic art. The latter one is marked by a mild
predilection for the Scandinavian countries, while in Krakow one can
feel the organizers' great attention to the Slavic nations, particularly
Vaitkunas. Untitled. 550x400, 2000
International Graffiti Symposium
June 12-25th, 2000, an international graffiti symposium "Periphrases
of Classics" dedicated to the memory of Jean-Michael Basquiat, took
place in Kaunas. Participants of the symposium were: Anna Gawronska
from Great Britain, Michael Bause from Germany, Laurent Reynes from
France, and Lithuanian artists Orune Morkunaite from Vilnius, Antanas
Obcarskas, Eimutis Markunas, Arunas Vaitkunas and Arvydas Zalpys from
In this symposium the term graffiti was applied in the broad sense,
as the participants used both aerosol spray and paint. Without simulating
the specific psychological state of making a graffiti, when an artist
becomes an author of provoking texts and unconventional expression,
participants of the symposium aimed at fulfilling the suggested conception
in a rather uncustomary space and scale. With the exception of the sculptor
Laurent Reynes, all participants of the symposium were painters; however,
the majority of them were familiar with the forms of object and installation.
For example, Orune Morkunaite is famous for her installations and photographs,
and Eimutis Markunas - for his paintings on a car trunk.
The theme of the symposium, "Periphrases of Classics", implied that
the participants should present an interpretation of a classical work
of their own choice. Artists were free to choose the technical means
The continuation of this graffiti project in the future will depend
on social conditions - if owners of large buildings will be willing
to lend their property to artists on a temporary basis. The activity
of a street artist, once considered illegal, has finally become a desired
decoration for rich corporations. Generally speaking, similar projects
can probably change the local cityscape.
Zilenko (Belorussia). Sharp Tonque.
Oil on canvas, 74x72, 2000
God, Don't Let Mad People Die Out
words by Ludwig Soumagne could serve as a motto of the traditional "Chaim
Soutine's Days" that this year took place in Vilnius for the third time.
The event was sponsored by the Open Society Fund-Lithuania. On this
occasion the Artists' Association together with the History Institute
and the Jewish Museum held a conference that was focused on the urgent
problems of contemporary culture and life. The participants of the conference
were philosophers A.Andrijauskas who analyzed Soutine's case as an example
of the relation of cultural marginalism and the "centre", and L.Jekentaite
who delivered a report "Lithuania as a Place of Intersection of the
Slavic and Jewish Mentality", historians (R.Miknys), politologists (L.Bielinis),
culturologists, diplomats (ambassador V.Pleckaitis) and analysts of
anti-Semitism (S.Vaintraubas) from Lithuania and the neighbouring countries.
The conference was accompanied by a plein-air session and exhibition.
The majority of authors remained faithful to the original idea of Chaim
Soutine's Days - realization of the multi-ethnical identity of Lithuania.
Sidaras. Project Sale of Goods. 2000
A City of Substituted Signs
of street art held in Telsiai have become a unique cultural phenomenon
on the Lithuanian art scene. Though the town of Telsiai boasts old artistic
traditions, it is this festival that creates a special atmosphere in
Telsiai and at least for one summer month integrates this small town
into the active context of contemporary art.
This year the action of street art was called "City Signs". The conventional
system of signs was supplemented or transformed by new signs, symbols,
unexpected, rude or slightly noticeable sculptural accents suggested
by participating artists. Such interventions of signs can often change
the customary direction of movement or look, create a "short circuit"
in our imagination and make us give a closer look at our environment
and ponder on its symbolic nature.
On the one hand, we observed the inertness, passivity and indifference
of Telsiai cityscape, and on the other, we encountered a radical, ironic,
playful or conceptual deconstruction of consciousness, environment and
a system of signs. Sometimes this inadequacy was so obvious that the
original purpose of the works changed, and local inhabitants or passers-by
placed them in ordinary or cosmological systems of signs that had not
been conceived by the artists themselves.
In a functional, centralized and often explicitly pragmatic system of
contemporary art, events of this kind may seem a waste of time, but
for this particular reason they often conquer both time and the pragmatic
Kniubas. From cycle Portrait of model of Academy. Lilia Dragun.
Oil on canvas, 48,5x48, 2000
Cepas. Unstable States. Colored woodcut, 2000
The Chair of Painting
year, seven graduate students of the Chair of Painting presented their
graduation works - six paintings and one installation, a large part
of which was painted. Though objects, installations, performances and
video works can often have a wider range of expression than painting,
this year's graduation works seem to reflect a realisation that the
possibilities of painting are not yet fully exhausted and that the painting
idiom can still be informative. Besides, some teachers who work in the
Chair of Painting (first of all Jonas Gasiunas) can successfully teach
students the basics of post-modernist painting rather than outdated
modernism. Finally, in the era of market economy, it is easier to sell
a painting than an installation or performance...
The Chair of Graphic Art
year eight master students graduated from the Chair of Graphic Art.
Three majored in book art. Neringa Zukauskaite received her master's
degree for the illustrations and design of The Process Franz Kafka.
Migle Datkunaite illustrated the book Women of Lithuania Minor by Birute
Baltrusaityte and wrote the theoretical work The Relationship of Image
and Text in Lithuanian Illustrated Books of the 2nd Half of the 20th
Century Asta Puikiene made a project of book design and wrote a theoretical
work. Jonas cepas and Antanas Jokubaitis created cycles of etchings,
Egle Mieliauskiene-Smalstyte - a cycle of etchings and a theoretical
work. Poster design majors Giedre Naruseviciute and Anastazija Sopagiene
presented series of posters.
The Chair of Textile
their graduation works at the "Akademija" gallery in June 2000, Kaunas
textile students introduced themselves as representatives of the Kaunas
school of textile. A certain stereotype is being formed that works by
Vilnius textile artists are more traditional, while those by Kaunas
artists - more modern and have a more innovative form. Graduation works
of all students neither confirm nor deny this opinion. The majority
of these textile artists are not first-timers in exhibitions, they have
already exhibited their works in prestigious venues in Lithuania and
became participants of the art scene in their own right. This fact makes
the young artists brace up and look for new and original means of expression
in their work.
Effect of Light on Design Objects
Ceciuolyte, MA, the Chair of Design, the Faculty of Applied Art
thousand years ago "light design" was most often related with fire.
It was the only means to change the darkness of night into light. Changing
in time, depending on seasons, light has now become one of the tools
of artistic expression. Light is a medium manipulated in different ways
in making design objects. Having taken into consideration the effect
of size, rhythm and colour, a designer creates the desired effect with
a view to transmitting certain information to a spectator. The use of
light makes for transforming the natural environment, and the emphasis,
focus and diffusion of its stream can create a desired ambience and
alter the nature of the environment. The subtlest ways of changing the
stream of light can help to reveal the character of natural objects.
Imagination and creative work is one of the ways to change environment
by means of light. Light gives to objects different psychological dimensions.
As a means of artistic expression, light is a varying constant and is
subject to the creator.