„Meno Parkas” in collaboration with gallery „Māksla XO” presents solo show „Little Retrospective of Obsession“ in Riga of one of the key artists of current Lithuanian art scene – National Culture and Art Prize award winner, professor of Vilnius Art Academy - Jonas Gasiūnas (born in exile in 1954, Siberia). Exhibition will be hosted at the gallery „Māksla XO” (Elizabetes 14, Rīga, LV 1010) from June 29 to July 25, 2017.
LITTLE RETROSPECTIVE OF OBSESSION
Jonas Gasiūnas is unique art figure in the national context. Gallery "Meno parkas" and Jonas have been working together for a long time, there is strong connection and understanding. Remembering good decade back, when painting was experiencing sit back and challenges from other medias, Jonas Gasiūnas did not turn from it and kept on the main track and raised it to the next level. While deep expressionism in Lithuania was the mainstream, he found different position and grew it. As he says now, the idea to convey concrete things through smoke (i.e. using the drawing with the burning candle technology) obsessed him.
Jonas creation has strong narrative, what is important to him as relation to the past. He made huge impact to the young generation. That is why gallery presented artist for National prize for Art and Culture, which was presented to him (in 2010). "Meno parkas" now works not only with J. Gasiūnas, but also with his former students.
Under the headline “Romantic Past”, curator and art critic Krzysztof Stanisławski in his text explains the role of history in works of Jonas. „He – J. Gasiūnas - gave a speech at the solo show held in the Łaźnia Centre for Contemporary Art: “Memories always make the past romantic, change it to a kind of tale. History still seems to be true yet changes with time and adopts a more nostalgic form”. This statement perfectly reflects the character of the artist’s work. In his pictures Gasiūnas reveals the process of making historical narratives; in his painterly compositions ordinary events acquire the form of universal stories. The artist paints with smoke literally, using candles as painting tools. This technique allows him to create a specific tension. What is painted is true, and what is drawn with smoke is fiction. It is hard to overlook irony in such concept of painting, especially that it is highlighted by titles of the paintings“ (Polish curator and art critic Krzysztof Stanisławski, "Jonas Gasiūnas - Malarstwo / Painting". Kaunas: „Meno parkas“, Torun: Centre of Contemporary Art “Znaki Czasu”. Kaunas, 2015).
Jonas Gasiūnas about his work „Willow‘s Lake“ (2017), where the image of the floating in the air girl above the water and the drones on both of her sides, talks: “The once experienced reminiscence, even if it is very personal, isn‘t eternal. It‘s impossible to restore past time, but it is possible to create illusory time of painting. A girl trapped in an illusory time, floating over the lake, is real. It may be testified by the drones who are watching her.”
This is not the first presentation in Latvia of creation by Jonas Gasiūnas. Artist took part at Contemporary art festival “Northwesterly Wind“ in 2011 in Cesis. Another important participation was earlier – in 2009 Jonas took part in group exhibition “Swedbank Art Award 2009“ in Riga Art Space, what evolved to winning the award. Solo presentation of the artist was just held in New York in the prestigious event - Armory Art Week.
Exhibition “Little Retrospective of Obsession” in Riga is a part of gallery‘s „Meno parkas“ international cultural exchange project „Art Line“ and is partly financed by Lithuanian Council for Culture, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, Kaunas City Municipality programme "Iniciatyvos Kaunui" and Embassy of Lithuania in Riga.