Thursday 2011 June 23 – photos and programme (LT)

10:00 Presentation of Čiurlionis project + presentation of “Psilicon” theatre by Auksė Petrulienė in Čiurlionis memorial museum
11:30 Meeting with artist Jūratė Kazakevičiūtė
14:30 Meeting with Virginijus Sutkus + workshop
19:30 Celebration of Joninės with “Racilelis”

 

This morning’s work was spent in two sites. The first was to see the Jonynas Gallery, and an exhibition of this Lithuanian artist’s work. Working in the mediums of paint, sculpture and stained glass, he emigrated from Lithuania in 1951 and worked mainly in the USA from that point. His decorative stained glass was a personal highlight.

From here, the majority of the morning was spent meeting two highly creative and visual artists at the Ciurlionis Museum.  Both have their own
websites which will illuminate their work more fully.

Aukse Petruliene works within the medium of Silicone and Silicone Theatre (silikono Teatras). Using silicone puppets these then get pressed between two plates and filmed from above. This is then accompanied by music. All themes introduced through the work are social themes and Petruliene is interested in working in non-theatre spaces and to use her work as an “antidote against societies problems”. She realised a need to work together with spectators on making their own puppets, filming and presenting them.  We saw an animated
piece on Romas Kalanta (1972) , a man who set himself on fire  in protest of Soviet rule, and to use animation to explore this contentious issue. She works with museums and the pupils who come into those museums.  It was also interesting to learn that in Poland the Museum work is very formal and
based on traditional learning process as opposed to much of the more creative work that takes place within UK museums to varying degrees of success.

Petruliene is keen to use humour in her work that can involve and excite people rather than looking at more serious approaches.  She stated that
“imagination and subjective thinking creates art, not knowledge” which
resonated with my practice of encouraging impulsive imaginative working.

Our second artist was Juarte Kazakeviciute, a Lithuanian artist who exhibits internationally. Her background is in fine art and looking at issues surrounding feminism, “femininity and women in social surroundings…. And breaking social stereotypes”. With an interest in surrealism (and female surrealists), she showed us many objects she had created which involves soft sculpture. (See her website for pictures). Her art is social, commenting on the world around her. For example,  ‘Messengers’ (2010) is a collection of angels
with limbs missing, commenting on the marginalisation of people with disabilities within Lithuania.

What is striking is that the artists would love to sell their works, yet the market is poor and doesn’t exists. Often artists have to take other work as teachers, gallery or school owners to make a living whilst practising their craft.

On a policy note, there are grants from the state (Ministry of Culture) for artists – albeit on an individual level. In the UK there are Arts Council grants for individuals and organisations. The Lithuanian system consists of 50 one year (salary and material) for all artists including dancers, visual artists and actors. In relation to my practice as a theatre director, in Lithuania, actors are employed full time for theatre companies and are affiliated to organisations (a form of regional repertory theatre). This agreement is set by the Ministry of Culture. Therefore it is difficult for a collective of freelance actors, directors and designers to bid for project funding- a theme which is becoming apparent in Lithuanian Cultural Practice.

Another great morning!

Written by Robert Marsden  (UK)

 

Thursday was the day of the artists. After lunch we met Virginjus Sutkus – an artist and a teacher of art, film, photography and the history of art. He told us about his work and showed us his paintings and illustrated diaries. We discovered he run a few projects with his students. One of them was called “The Europ’art Puzzle”. During that project students from five different countries cooperated and communicated to break down normal school routine, get to know their cultures and to start global youth dialogue. After that we had a workshop with Virginjus Sutkus. We were supposed, while using various techniques, to show how we felt at the moment or what we have seen in Lithuania.

After diner we had the most important part of the project – the “get to know each other” session. Three groups (from Lithuania, Poland and UK) were talking about their projects, studies and work. Polish group, by talking about some of their projects and workshops, presented their specialization – culture animation taught in the Institute of the Polish Culture at the University of Warsaw. British people explained their views on community art practices and ideas – the base of their work with people. Lithuanians presented their projects witch local communities and said a few words about their university which usually does not support their activities. Then we discussed the differences between cultural projects and their theoretical and historical background in the three countries.

Last part of the day was the celebration of The Jonas Day. Local people in traditional clothing were teaching us how to dance their traditional dances and how to song their songs. Thus, the most important thing was to be together and celebrate this old holiday dedicated to the gods and goddesses of nature.

Written by Dorota Marszałek (PL)

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