Art Review of Lithuanian Artist's Association

This publication was made possible through the support of the Media Support Foundation.

Editorial Board
Ingrida Korsakaite, Vaclovas Krutinis, Bronius Leonavicius

Danute Zoviene
Eugenijus Karpavicius
Computer lay-out
Ramune Januseviciute
Egle Bertasiene
s Ausra Simanaviciute


theme: Public Spaces and Art
Egle Rindzeviciute Power for Culture?
9 Conversation Art Management: Yes or No

14 Skaidra Trilupaityte A Parallel Artistic Activity

18 Rasa Andriusyte M.K.Ciurlionis and the Processes of Modernism

26 Algimantas Patasius Playing the Future
Laima Kreivyte A Faltering Tradition
36 Saule Mazeikaite The 7th Vilnius Triennial of Book Art
40 Rasa Januleviciute The Second Triennial of the Artist's Book

46 Giedre Jankeviciute Rimantas Sakalauskas: Keeping Apart from Commotion
50 Danute Zoviene Danute Jonkaityte: Black and White
55 Vaida Scigliene Laima Matijosaityte-Martinkiene: Different Ceramics
58 Lijana Sataviciute Salvinija Giedrimiene: A Spiritual Innovator of Textile
62 Algis Uzdavinys Laima Drazdauskaite: In a Universe of Silver Dreams
66 Birute Pankunaite Arturas Raila: A Decision to Stay
70 Danute Zoviene J.Matonis and V.Damasevicius: Two White Chroniclers

one world
74 Renata Sarkauskaite Manifesta'3. Borderline Syndrome. Energies of Defense
78 Raminta Jurenaite Ulrich Rückriem in Vilnius
81 Ramute Rachleviciute The Krakow Triennial of Graphic Art
86 Linara Dovydaityte International Graffiti Symposium
88 Leonarda Jekentaite-Kuzmickiene God, Don't Let Mad People Die Out
90 Virginijus Kincinaitis A City of Substituted Signs
92 XXI amziaus karta. Vilniaus dailes akademijos magistrai
Alfonsas Andriuskevicius The Chair of Painting
Ramute Rachleviciute The Chair of Graphic Art
Lijana Sataviciute The Chair of Textile
Gintare Ceciuolyte Effect of Light on Design Objects



Power for Culture?
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 professionalism.
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 for culture.





Art Management: Yes or No

Conversation 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 work.


A Parallel Artistic Activity

Skaidra Trilupaityte

Today 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 "all-embracing" work.
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.



M.K.Ciurlionis. Rex.
Paper, ink, 12x11, 1909

M.K. Ciurlionis and the Processes of Modernism
Egle Komkaite

While trying 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 world.
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.



Mikalojus Povilas Vilutis. Big Heart.
, oil, 73,5x59, 1999

Playing the Future
by Algimantas Patasius

Today neither 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.



Vita Geluniene. Matrimony.
Tapestry (56x75), wall paper (250x100), mixed technique, 1997

A Faltering Tradition

by Laima Kreivyte

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.



Bronius Leonavicius. Illustrations Vilnius' legends.
Special paper, tempera, 60x60, 2000

The 7th Vilnius Triennial of Book Art

by Saule Mazeikaite

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.



Kazys Venclova. Apocalypse.
Books, concrete, 315x75x110, 2000


Zsuzsa Almar (Vengrija). Dies Irae - God's Anger.
Paper covered by plaster and silk ribbon, 21x29,7, 2000


The Second Triennial of the Artist's Book
Rasa Januleviciute

This 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, Kazys Venclova.
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".

Audrius Tamosaitis. Two Suns.
Ceramic mosaic, 43x28x8, 2000

Rimantas Sakalauskas. Kryziu kalno pranciskonu cloister. Tabernacle.
Fire-clay, 10000 C, oak, h 170, 2000

Rimantas Sakalauskas: Keeping Apart from Commotion
by Giedre Jankeviciute

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 plan.
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 Church.



Danute Jonkaityte. Sensation I. Lithography, hand-made paper, 50x90, 1999

Danute Jonkaityte: Black and White
Danute Zoviene

Black 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.



Laima Matijosaityte-Martinkiene. Eden's Forest.
Clay, mat glaze, 11 patrs, 110x120x100, 1999

Laima Matijosaityte-Martinkiene: Different Ceramics
by Vaida Scigliene

Laima 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.




Salvinija Giedrimiene. Mother of Compassion.
Wool, silk, flax, synthetic, tapestry, 240x188, 1994-1995

Salvinija Giedrimiene: A Spiritual Innovator of Textile
by Lijana Sataviciute

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 define.
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) art.



Laima Drazdauskaite. Well.
Oil on canvas, 150x127, 1997

Laima Drazdauskaite: In a Universe of Silver Dreams
by Algis Uzdavinys

The 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.


Project Vytaute. Representation of Lithuania at exhibition Sphere of Sence, Turku, Finland, 2000

Arturas Raila: A Decision to Stay
by Birute Pankunaite

The 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.


Painter Algimantas Kuras

Painter Vytautas Serys

J. Matonis and V. Damasevicius: Two White Chroniclers
by Danute Zoviene

Since 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 Lithuanian Artists".
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.



Pravdoliubas Ivanovas (Sophia). Much time and energy is required to transformation, 1998

Koo Jeong-a (Paris).
2000 Instalation

Manifesta'3. Borderline Syndrome. Energies of Defense
by Renata Sarkauskaite

Like 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 globalisation.



Ülle Marks, Jüri Kass (Estonia). Under Fire.
Computer graphic, 300x90, 2000

The Krakow Triennial of Graphic Art
by Ramute Rachleviciute

Launched 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 a few.
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 Southern ones.



Arunas Vaitkunas. Untitled. 550x400, 2000

International Graffiti Symposium
by Linara Dovydaityte

On 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 Kaunas.
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 as well.
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.



Vladimiras Zilenko (Belorussia). Sharp Tonque.
Oil on canvas, 74x72, 2000

God, Don't Let Mad People Die Out
by Leonarda Jekentaite-Kuzmickiene, Ph.D.

These 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.



Egidijus Sidaras. Project Sale of Goods. 2000

A City of Substituted Signs
by Virginijus Kincinaitis

Festivals 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 systems.



Mantas Kniubas. From cycle Portrait of model of Academy. Lilia Dragun.
Oil on canvas, 48,5x48, 2000

Jonas Cepas. Unstable States. Colored woodcut, 2000

The Chair of Painting
by Alfonsas Andriuskevicius

This 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
by Ramute Rachleviciute

This 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
by Lijana Sataviciute

While presenting 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
by Gintare Ceciuolyte, MA, the Chair of Design, the Faculty of Applied Art

Two 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.