The theme of DAILE'98" - Art at the Turn of the Century". This subject was analyzed by art critics, philosophers, cultural historians.
A change in cultural values and art, the need to look at the past were very actual at the turn of the century. These ideas were discussed in the article on Lithuanian's 20th Century National Visual Art Gallery.
Annual exhibitions, a review of the 11th International Graphic Art Triennial in Tallinn and the 10th International Ceramic Symposium in Panevezys are discussed in the section entitled "Exhibitions and Symposiuma".
There is information about the works of famous Lithuanian artists P.Repsys, D.Kasciunaite, S.Sauka, F.Jakubauskas, M.Salkauskas, D.Narkevicius, together with a list of their main solo and group exhibitions, reproductions of their art works, awards and stipends (summarized in English).
The problem of sculpture in the city is considered in the section titled "One World".
Here the reader can also find information on foreign artists' exhibitions in Lithuania, and on the works of Lithuanian emigrants.

Danute Zoviene

Art Review of Lithuanian Artist's Association

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

Editorial Board Lolita Jablonskiene, Algirdas Jusionis, Ingrida Korsakaite, Virginijus Kincinaitis, Jolanta Lebednykiene, Bronius Leonavicius, Eugenijus Nalevaika, Gvidas Raudonius, Vytautas Zirgulis, Alfonsas Zvilius
Danute Zoviene
Algimantas Stanislovas Kliauga
Eugenijus Karpavicius
Computer lay-out
Ramune Januseviciute
Egle Bertasiene
s Ausra Cizikiene, Leonidas Donskis, Almantas Samalavicius, Laimute Zabuliene


5 Leonidas Donskis Fin de siecle: The Twentieth-century culture on Trial
8 Laima Lauckaite Two Turns of Centuries in Vilnius Art
11 Almantas Samalavicius The Legacy of the Declined Vanguard
14 Round-table conversation Into the 21st Century without the 20th Century Art

exibitions and symposiums
22 Skaidra Trilupaityte Abaut Positive Negativity, or "Innovations" in this Year's Exhibitions
26 Ruta Pileckaite Unchained Objects (Conception and Aims)
28 Jurgita Ludaviciene Conscious Freedom of Objects
30 Dalia Marija Valanciute Free Thoughts about the Tallinn Triennial of Graphic Art
34 Vaida Scigliene Experience of International Ceramics Symposiums
39 Ruta Miksioniene A Hoard of Medals on the Side of Lake Mastis

42 Laima Kanopkiene Petras Repsys: Art is a Bitter Argument with Oneself
46 Nijolė Adomonyte Dalia Kasciunaite: Between Her Image and Herself
50 Jonas Valatkevičius Sarunas Sauka: Commentaries on Mental Processes
54 Raimonda Kogelyte-Simanaitiene Feliksas Jakubauskas: An Experimenting Classic
58 Algis Uzdavinys Mykolas Salkauskas: The Gate of Illusions
61 Raimundas Malasauskas Deimantas Narkevicius: A Type of Critical Artist

one world
66 Virginijus Kincinaitis Periphery as a Function of the Centre, or in Search of the Lost Novelty
70 Laima Kreivyte Urban Sculpture. Between a Monument and a Shop Window
74 Lolita Jablonskiene From Many to Separate. Lithaunian Art Seasons
79 Birute Pankunaite Abaut Guest Exhibitions
82 Morta Ulpiene The Return of Art Collections to Homeland
84 New Works of Monumental Atr

Aldona Dapkute
The Map of Plein-Air Sessions and Symposiums




Two Turns of Centuries in Vilnius Art
Laima Lauckaite

I am standing at the threshold of the 21st century and somehow do not feel like being a judge assessing the faults and merits of last century art in all seriousness; neither do I want to be an ardent prophet pronouncing a forthcoming apocalypses or flourishing. I am just jauntily standing at that threshold and looking back to compare the end of this century in art with the end of the last century - the odd, remarkable and depraved art of fin de siecle, which combined the legacy of the 19th century art with the rudiments of modern art of the early 20th century. At that time avant-garde art was only a small part of period art and basically constituted only the top part of an iceberg. Later, in the middle of the 20th century, theorists of modernism in the West performed not a very subtle, but highly necessary operation ­ they cut off this top part of an iceberg, opposed it to the remaining part and presented modernism as a separate and coherent independent world. This point of view still prevails in popular publications, text-books and exquisite monographs on the art of the end of last century. Therefore in the late 20th century art historians are engaged in reconstructing the art of fin de siecle, and are far more cautious in attaching the populist labels of traditional or modern, salon or avant-garde, high or mass art. In this context the Lithuanian art of the late 19th century looks rather different: so far art historians regretfully state the absence of modern avant-garde in Lithuanian art of this period.

However, as I set out to compare the art of the end of 19th and 20th century, I plead guilty, since as an art historian I know for sure that in art nothing is ever repeated, all the more every ten, hundred, thousand or any other number of years. Art of each region and period is unique and conditioned by a given set of social, political, geographical, artistic, cultural, national, individual and many other factors or circumstances. This set does not return and repeat itself: at best, individual details, situations and orientations removed from their context, can be similar. But it probably is in human nature to look for analogies, to search for similarities and build out of them rational structures called regularities. All the more that for an observant viewer they are so obvious and seem to insist on their presence. As early as a decade ago I wrote an article "Art of Young Artists: the Second End of the 19th Century?" (Veidai '88, Vilnius, 1989). In this article I compared creative pursuits of Lithuanian artists with the development of European art of the late 19th century. This time I am going to juxtapose diachronic cross-sections of Lithuanian art.

So, the time and the place: Vilnius, end of the last and end of the current century. In the summers of 1897 and 1899, large exhibitions of painting with the participation of painters from Vilnius, Warsaw and Krakow were held in Juozapas Montvila's drawing school in Vilnius. Battle and genre scenes, portraits and paintings of different styles were exhibited. Yet these exhibitions contained a particularly large number of landscapes entitled "Twilight" or representing twilight, created by different artists. These were small sketches of limited and delicate range of colours, painted at the time when the brightness and intensity of image disappears, leaving behind only silhouettes of things, dull and obscure contours. The hour when lines are erased and colours disappear is the time of mystery and mysticism, the time of communication with a different reality on the other side of the material and tangible world. To unveil the secrets of existence or at least intuitively get a glimpse of the transcendental reality was the highest value at the turn of the century, inspired by the aesthetics of symbolism. A century later, in 1998, the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius held an exhibition "Twilight", only this time twilight means darkness, in which a screen lights up and takes us to another world - enchanting, mysterious and powerful. One can analyse the differences between the virtual and the transcendental world, but both cases clearly show the yearning for another world, compared to which the reality of our life is corrupt and devalued.

In 1908 a one-painting exhibition took place at Didzioji St. 66 in Vilnius. In the course of several weeks it was visited by more than 3 thousand visitors ­ an unheard-of number for this city. The painting that had travelled in the United States and Europe with great success, finally reached Vilnius. A large canvas painted by salon painter E. Suchorovski was exhibited in a specially arranged boudoir with gilded furniture. Entitled "Nana's Daughter", it represented a nude and could be most precisely described as a mixture of academism and eroticism. In art exhibitions, both by local and foreign artists, of the late 20th century in Vilnius, one of the most heavily explored themes is a nude body. The body becomes the most important language in which art speaks about man. We can try to analyze what distance has been covered in the direction of exploring the body, exposing and emphasizing its sex, in the course of one century; yet the direction remains the same.

In 1902 and 1903 the largest exhibitions in the city were held by the sole local art organization - Vilnius Art Circle that united artists of different nationalities and education. It is interesting that in these exhibitions, artistic photographs by Adomas Dauksa and Aleksandras Jurasaitis were exhibited together with paintings and sculptures. Later photography disappeared from art exhibitions and was downgraded to separate exhibition halls and an isolated niche of dubious artistic status, until nearly a century later ­ in the late eighties ­ it was admitted to Vilnius exhibitions as a branch of visual art with equal rights. One could think that the beginning of this century was marked with conservative views and a narrow academic hierarchy of branches of art, but its concept of the media of art turned out to be more insightful and modern than that of later times.

At the turn of 1909 and 1910, the first exhibition of modern art in Vilnius was held by the avant-garde group "Impressionists - Triangle" from St. Petersburg, whose members were Nikolaj Kulbin, Vladimir and David Burliuk, and others. Local press reviews of this exhibition sound as if they had been written about a regular exhibition of contemporary art: "Blue, green, violet and pink faces, people striped like tigers and spotted like leopards, women without arms, on hens' legs, marks of plague, cholera and smallpox, bright aniline spots, as if the painter splashed them with a sponge out of a paint bucket, distorted lines and perspectives, tumours, dislocations and fractures after an earthquake or the end of the world, furniture after debauchers' party at an inn, the earth after the end of the world... Everything that is hideous, unrealistic, ugly..." . The destruction brought in by modern art in the long run turned out to be not hideous at all; on the contrary, it started an epoch of creative and innovatory art. Similarly, many people today find postmodernist destruction threatening. So, in the history of West European art the situation seems to repeat, and even dates coincide: 1863 saw the establishing of the Salon of the "Rejected" in Paris, which marked the birth of unrecognized modern art; this art reached its peak in the first decade of the 20th century and went into decline in 1962, when Fluxus led by George Maciunas started their happenings in Wiesbaden. Fluxus jokes and jests suddenly took the far-reaching consequences, and Western art turned from the values of modernism to those of postmodernism. What seemed only funny jokes from the point of view of modern art, imparted a deeper meaning: "Postmodernism replaced the aesthetic justification of life with the instinctive one. As real and life-affirming, only impulses and joy are valuable; everything else is neurosis and death." As a person tired of the surplus of the latter in the Lithuanian art of the second half of the 20th century, weary of great ambitions of seriousness and depth of modern art, I admire these Fluxus values and would prefer that the beginning of the oncoming millennium belonged to them. And what remains to those who cannot reconcile themselves with the retreat or even agony of traditional and modern art? Writing about the values of the humanities, Mikhail Bakhtin formulated a phrase of genius: "Nothing can be totally dead, every meaning will enjoy a feast of rebirth." How does it sound: optimistically or reassuringly?


Into the 21st Century without the 20th Century Art
Round-table conversation

Paradoxically, Lithuania enters a new millennium without a National Art Gallery. An idea of such a gallery has been in the air for 15 years. There is no institution in Lithuania that would represent a broad panorama of 20th century visual art. On 7 May 1997, a round-table discussion of the problem of the National Art Gallery took place at the Lithuanian Artists' Union. Its participants were: Chairman of the Artists' Union Gvidas Raudonius, Director of the Lithuanian Art Museum Romualdas Budrys, Chief Architect of Vilnius Aleksandras Luksas, Rector of the Academy of Arts Arvydas Saltenis, artists Bronius Leonavicius and Arturas Vaskevicius, and art critic Danute Zoviene.

In the words of R. Budrys, a modern building on the right bank of the Neris has been assigned as premises for the National Art Gallery. The building can be remodelled into an art gallery by expanding it, but for this purpose large investments are needed. Up to now more attention has been devoted to providing exhibiting spaces for Lithuanian art of earlier centuries.

A. Saltenis suggested another possible place for the National Art Gallery ­ the complex of the Radvila Palace. A foundation has been established in the United States, and approximately 1 mln dollars have been collected for this purpose. Part of the Palace is already restored and accommodates the collection of Western European art donated to Lithuania by Lithuanians in exile. In this way a historic part of the old city of Vilnius would be renovated.

A. Luksas said that the problem should be solved pragmatically: first we must decide if the National Art Gallery should be housed in a separate building like the Louvre and accommodate all functions of a gallery, or we should choose the decentralised system, when the research centres, depositories and exhibition halls are in different locations or buildings. The participants of the conversation signed an appeal to the President of Lithuania, Speaker of the Seimas and the Prime Minister, asking to include the construction of the National Art Gallery in the programme of commemoration of 1000 years to Lithuania's name.


About Positive Negativity, or "Innovations" in this Year's Exhibitions
by Skaidra Trilupaityte

Discussions about "advanced" technologies are not new in Lithuanian art criticism, though attempts to analyse their impact on the work of our artists are often limited to chronological remarks: what is "new" in this country, often looks "outdated" in comparison with the world art phenomena. The integration of young Lithuanian artists into the international art scene, at least in the context of large exhibitions held in the recent years, has already eliminated outer differences caused by the inadequate experience of Lithuanian and foreign artists. Ten years ago, with the sudden opening of new possibilities, many artists merely tried to catch up with the rest of the world (as a wave of retrospection increased in European art, chances seemed good for us "not to miss the train"). Today it is more important to note that the sense of being late has grown weaker. The art of young artists is no longer torn by tension marking the painful shifts of self-reflection, and their creative context can be best described by the word "cool".


Conscious Freedom of Objects
by Jurgita Ludaviciene

Art critics write about the exhibition "Unchained Objects" that took place at the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius this year. The concept of the exhibition was to show those tendencies of applied art that are oriented not at the functional object and understanding of form, but represent closer links with the general processes of modern art. The curator of the exhibition states her interest in authors who in addition to the customary means of expression look for new ones and in their works creatively adapt the principles of installation, photography, multimedia, object and conceptual art. The artists (V. Ozarinskas, L. Jonikiene, F. Jakubauskas, L. Sveikauskiene and others) have a perfect command of their craft and can realise their ideas with a great deal of freedom.


Free Thoughts about the Tallinn Triennial of Graphic Art
by Dalia Marija Valanciute

The first Tallinn Triennial of Graphic Art took place in 1968, with the participation of artists from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Now it has become an international exhibition attracting a large number of artists from all over the world. This year the usual procedure of participation was changed. Though the national collections of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia remained, individual artists were invited to send slides of their works for an international jury and, if accepted, participate in the triennial independently. Of 2000 slides sent in by 529 artists, the jury selected 123 works, among them prints by Lithuanian artists E. B?eskas, A. J. Krasauskait?, R. ?eponis, K. Grigali?nas and others. Unfortunately, the Lithuanian national collection, though marked by thorough mastery of technical skills, looked rather outdated. One should acknowledge that the Lithuanian, as well as the Latvian and Estonian collections were not capable of competing with the works selected by the international jury.


Experience of International Ceramics Symposiums
by Vaida Scigliene

The movement of ceramics symposiums has been recently gaining momentum and is important in several respects. First of all, it proves that this branch of art does not lose vitality. Second, it brings into life new ideas and creative pursuits. And, finally, it expands the spectrum of this field of art and opens the way to wider and more objective discussions about ceramics. The most significant events that recently took place are: Panev??ys International Ceramics Symposium in 1998; the participation of the organiser of the Panev??ys symposium J. Lebednykien? in the conference of the National Council of Education in Ceramic Art (NCECA) in 1996 and 1997; traditional international symposium of porcelain bone "Idea'98" in Kaunas, and the creative workshop "21th Century Ceramics and the Use of the Traditional Baking Technique" held by four institutions: the Lithuanian Artists' Union, The Gallery of the Applied Arts, Vilnius Academy of Arts and Vilnius Municipality.


A Hoard of Medals on the Side of Lake Mastis
by Ruta Miksioniene

In the summer of 1998, the 14th creative workshop of Lithuanian medallists took place in Telsiai. The medallists who gather in this workshop share their experience and visit the remote spots of the region. They involve in the process of creation and experimenting teachers and students of the Telsiai Advanced Art School. Exhibitions of works by the participants of the workshop, traditionally held at the Telsiai Central Bookshop, contributed to the opening of a new exhibition hall, where a large exhibition devoted to the 10th anniversary of creative workshops was held. Discussion of common creative issues, ideas born in conversation, learning new means of expression and technologies is only a small part of what the traditional workshops of medallists can give to their participants.


Petras Repsys: Art is a Bitter Argument with Oneself

by Laima Kanopkiene

Petras Repsys, in his own words, is a paradoxical ironist, an intellectual commoner (or common intellectual), and a winner of the National Award. Besides, he is a person obsessed with creative passion. In his early independent works he obviously followed the classical traditions of graphic art. A remarkable feature of his work is the constant balancing between the past and the present, and the transformation of the past into the present by means of actualising various phenomena. He is a professional and universal artist from the viewpoint of his skill and the branches of art in which he works. Repsys' originality lies not so much in his manner of work, but in his understanding and vision of the world, his rich imagination, temperament and professional knowledge. Though the subject matter of his works is realistically concrete, he seems to draw from imagination rather than from nature and is guided by rational understanding. In the painter's words, "the most important thing for me is the plastic form. This form enables me to express my thoughts and ideas without trivialising them".


Dalia Kasciunaite: Between Her Image and Herself
Nijole Adomonyte

The name of Dalia Kasciunaite causes an immediate reaction: she is the most outstanding woman painter and abstract artist in Lithuania. The development of her work seems regular, but in fact it always is hardly predictable. The artist is fond of creating large, stylistically autonomous cycles. Kasciunaite's debut in abstract art was moderately rebellious. On the one hand, her formalistic painting expressed the artist's wish to isolate herself from the period art, but on the other hand, it was marked with an ambition to establish herself in it. Kasciunaite's early paintings can be described with the popular term of "expressive colourism".

Another important stage of her work (late 80's - early 90's) is characterised by elegant patterns, masterful use of colour and refined drawing. The volume of the canvas becomes markedly lighter, and the rebellious wish to conquer the painting space is replaced by a need to create the highest tension in a picture, to make it vibrate with energy. These works also represent the artist's "foreign period" ­ exhibitions in large galleries in Germany, co-operation with Paris galleries and life in this city. The nostalgia that the artist felt while living abroad made her revise her creative views. For the first time the artist experienced a strong demand for personal and national identification. It resulted in a basically new quality of self-reflection and painting. Minimalism that appeared in her works was directed at the search for the original knowledge of herself and her roots. The painter discovered that slow dispersion of one colour or a lazy stroke can be more eloquent than a large variety of means of expression.

Kasciunaite's latest works speak of her turn to a deeper, more contemplative understanding of art, but they do not deny her artistic nature that reveals itself in images rather than genuine feelings.


Sarunas Sauka: Commentaries on Mental Processes
by Jonas Valatkevicius

Sauka's paintings comment on human relations. It is obvious that the painter speaks of the dark side of these relations. The basic intrigue of Sauka's paintings is the interaction of two elements in the human consciousness. They can be called instinctive (animal) and political (human). One layer of the social meanings in Sauka's painting implies critique of the discourse legitimising society's situation. Sauka's characters are always on the boundary between an animal and a being of higher quality whom we call man. However, Sauka's painting can hardly be interpreted as a ground of battle between good and evil, and there is no point in searching for a victory of either of those sides. The painter rather states a certain primeval state of the human being refusing to pronounce a strict judgement.


Feliksas Jakubauskas: An Experimenting Classic Raimonda
by Kogelyte-Simanaitiene

F. Jakubauskas creates traditional tapestries and uses natural materials (most often wool and silk), but his works are so modern that the final result often does not seem to have anything in common with the academic tradition. The artist firmly follows the main principles of tapestry weaving: monumentality, coherence of surface, classical dense material and the visual element, but the stylistics of a Renaissance or baroque pattern are transformed by the principles of abstract art. Jakubauskas is fond of experimenting in search of collage, three-dimensional space and untraditional structures. Despite their size, his works are marked by the conceptual understanding of tapestry. The artist does not avoid combining controversial materials (e.g. fragile and solid), employs sculptural forms and makes wide use of the possibilities of optical art.



Mykolas Salkauskas: The Gate of Illusions
by Algis Uzdavinys

Probably the most important part of the programme of modernism is a search. Painter Mykolas Salkauskas belongs to the category of "searchers". In this respect he is a typical representative of Lithuanian modernism, full of anxiety of the "lost generation" and moderately expressive. The invisible "spirit of time" that took possession of the painter's soul had several dimensions. One of them can be called "romantic", since it sketched an ideal picture of freedom on the background of a distressing reality. It was the sole "ideal" paradigm allowing a non-idealised ecstasy of self-expression and promising to explain the secrets of suffering, and also enabling to represent, at least partly, this psychological state that was deprived of any rights in the sphere of official rhetoric. M. Salkauskas is one of the more interesting artists of the older generation, whose work is worthy of a closer study.


Deimantas Narkevicius: A Type of Critical Artist
by Raimundas Malasauskas

Considerations about the preconditions and functions of art and an artist's role in the modern world by Vilnius artist Deimantas Narkevicius are one of the most reflective examples of meta-discourse on modern art in Lithuania. Narkevicius is a type of critical artist, rather unpopular in Lithuania, a country where artists are usually not inclined to articulate their artistic and other than artistic position in words. He refers not to premonitions turning them into metaphors, but to logical thinking and knowledge embracing not only the cultural sphere, but also economic and political phenomena. Transgressing the range of stylistic-formal problems, the territory of which is a usual ground for "meta-discursive" arguments, Narkevicius questions this territory itself, i.e. the idea of a concrete branch of art or art itself viewed from a certain sociological or political perspective.


Periphery as a Function of the Centre, or in Search of the Lost Novelty
by Virginijus Kincinaitis

What meanings and value differences, what systems of symbolic capital or cultural prestige encourage the development of the relations between the centre and the periphery at the end of this century? Why is the theme of globalisation, regionalism, periphery and multiculturalism or, to put it more simply, the relations between helpless provinces and the elitist centre so emphasised in art theory and criticism? This complicated range of problems is most often reduced to the tendencies of economic, political and cultural globalisation eliminating the original character of traditional local cultural contexts. The author comes to a conclusion that the focus of discussion should be not the relations between the centre and the periphery, but rather the contemporary conditions of production of these categories, the rules of their functioning and their utility.


Urban Sculpture: Between a Monument and a Shop Window
by Laima Kreivyte

In a gallery, sculpture can be regarded merely as an art work, and in an open space it becomes part of the public discourse. Sculpture in the city addresses mass audience rather than art connoisseurs. It unites the community, consolidates ideology, marks a location, perpetuates memory and envisions the future, decorates the environment and creates an image for a company or institution. Sometimes controversial sculptures serve as lightning rods for negative energy charges. Society is engaged in an active discussion of the fate of the sculptures on the ?aliasis bridge and analyses the monument to Gediminas in the Cathedral Square, and critics regard the re-erection of the sculptures on the Cathedral as the most important event of the year (though in the negative sense), while sculptors are decorated with state and national awards. Sculpture in the city is the best visible, generally accessible art object that arouses most heated discussions.


About Guest Exhibitions
by Birute Pankunaite

Exhibitions of foreign art in Lithuania are increasingly becoming more numerous, which is natural and therefore should not be called a tendency. Statistically, these exhibitions mainly consist of inexpensively and easily transported works, such as photographs and prints. Guest exhibitions are especially abundant "off-season", when local artists go on vacation or take part in plein-air sessions. In the geographical respect the Northern countries prevail. Among the largest international exhibitions in 1998 were the annual Soros exhibition "Twilight" at the Contemporary Art Centre and the 7th triennial of Baltic art "Cool Places" at the end of this year. Worthy of mention are the exhibition of Tony Cragg's works presented by the British Council, and installations by two young Norwegian artists Knut Asdam and Hans Hamid Rasmussen at the Contemporary Art Centre.


The Return of Art Collections to Homeland
by Morta Ulpiene

Since 1977, art collections of more than 80 Lithuanian artists in exile found their home in Lithuanian museums. In a one-year period (from October 1997 to October 1998), two large collections increased the Lithuanian art heritage: the collection of Professor Kazys Varnelis' works, museum pieces and the library, and the collection of Pranas Domsaitis' works, J. Paukstiene's paintings and drawings (ca. 100 works), works by various artists collected by Aldona and Antanas Minelga (more than 60 works), and collections of Jurgis Slapkus' paintings and water-colours (15 works). Pranas Domsaitis' collection came to the Lithuanian Art Museum from Lemont, the Museum of Lithuanian Art. The majority of works ­ drawings, sketches, engravings, water-colours and crayons ­ are from P. Domsaitis' permanent collection.


The Map of Plein-Air Sessions and Symposiums: From Paris to the Native Village
by Aldona Dapkute

Artists' creative initiative, both individual and collective, acquires different forms of organisation of creative work. In 1998 the organisation of plein-air sessions and symposiums reached its peak in Lithuania. Unfortunately, their exact number cannot be given due to several reasons: 1) organisers do not always inform the press and the media, or the presented information is not complete and precise; 2) not all events are publicised in the press; 3) organisers do not prepare reports and documentation about the events held; 4) certain events are not registered in any form. The most important question is: what events really have a lasting value and an impact on the development of art and culture in general. There is a need to establish certain priorities of state financing for all these events.