1. Absolute Textiles: from Early Beginnings to 20th Century. // Ed. Eglė Ganda Bogdanienė
Author about Works
I have collected home dust and formed a real „dust rabbit“. Well, it seems that dust from the corners of the home collecting memories of life, could become material for creation.
Today felt has become a well-stablished means of expression in textile art, along with other numerous textile techniques. Divisions between clearly defined disciplines of art have been eroding, and a piece made of felt no longer belongs to the world of textile but is rather a piece of contemporary art in the broader sense. Dedication 1 is meant as my artistic reply to Joseph Beuys and his works, an allusion to a union of two people who are linked by their fondness of felt.
Performance was presented in Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius; Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris; X International Lodz trienniel (Poland); Center for Art and Culture, Gent (Belgium); Galerie im Kornerpark, Berlin.
Felt gardens is a set of textile art pieces based on art nouveau and art deco styles produced combining hand and needle felting. These large felt panels were initially intended to be modern art pieces to decorate mirror walls in the restaurant in the Hotel Panorama in Vilnius (architects Dalia Adomoniene, Evaldas Adomonis). Creation of panels took four years (2003–2006) and was never installed, since the Hotel Panorama has been sold in the meantime. However the loss of intended decorative function has highlighted the value of the panels as modern art. Modern composition of trivial traditional elements prompts smooth feel of marble, at the same time maintaining the warmth of felt and demonstrating the skill of the artists. These visually attractive felt forms providing seemingly purely decorative function are deceptively conceptual: playfully ironic of the ornamental function that art has to carry out in modern society and it’s ephemeral consumer dependent nature. It also reflects on yet alternative form to show dissent – as critical, yet very professional and aesthetically pleasing expression. In the abundance of critical ideas expressed in dramatic, shocking, even repulsive way this art piece provides a ironically gentle, cheerfully erotic and warm alternative voice.
The Eye found a buyer and was sold for 10 dollars, quite a bit of money in those distant days. However, watching my son grow up, graduating from school, entering University, I did miss The Eye – regularly revising story of its creation.
In spring 2012 I have received an unexpected email from Canada. The woman reminded me that she has bought The Eye during her visit to Lithuania many years ago. She also told that she kept on traveling and often brought The Eye on her trips, as this was one of her favourite art pieces. Yet she confided that sometimes she feels certain unease looking at it. In my response I have told the story of how the piece came to being and send her a picture of myself hugging my younger son on his school graduation day. She then wrote back, that the story suddenly explained the strange feeling of guilt and uneasiness which filled her looking into The Eye – the piece is too personal, full of love and family warmth and it should be going home ... Soon I received a parcel from Canada which contained my sons woven and framed Eye carefully packed in alkaline paper.
The objects carry a touch of irony and a quick glance at them is likely to be misleading. The installation consists of pretty „handicrafts“ which, while being meant to be attractive, signal frustration and oppression. I see such a form of artistic expression not just as a precondition for existence but, importantly, as a means of social action that has both artistic and social value. The artistic object is perceived as an integral part of social life and annihilates boundaries between aesthetic and mundane experiences.
The Red Tape installation explores the ways of thinking and perception how textile, traditionally perceived as a gentle symbol of sitting-room cosiness and femininity, turns into a weapon, into a means of social activism and protest. The objects highlight a dominant concern of our times: the ever-increasing regulation and bureaucracy that proliferate in trades, professions and institutional activities.
The installation has absorbed draft documents (rules, regulations and terms of reference) that me and my colleagues had drafted to satisfy the requirements of an international institutional accreditation. For many years, I have been closely involved in the implementation of the action lines of the Bologna Process in university-level education in Europe, particularly in Lithuania. This has shaped my critical views about excessive bureaucracy. To what extent the endless drafting and submission of plans and reports could be meaningful and relevant, if at all?
The Red Tape installation consists of five tapestries that absorbed hundreds of rules, regulations, terms of reference and draft instructions. In addition, they include the embroidery of the most important documents. I used to spend working hours in the office to draft the documents and embroider the most important ones in the evenings (either manually or using a programmed embroidery machine). I have chosen the technique of embroidery on purpose: using the sharp end of the needle relates to piercing, pain and suffering.
The memories of Nepal resurfaced recently when I was working with handicapped children at the Vilnius professional training centre for the deaf. We had embroidery classes and I asked Darius to make the embroidery of a photograph. We had few photos available and he chose a pair of my black and white passport photos which I used to carry in my wallet. In Darius‘ work (Double Portrait), the whites of the eyes were as blue as in the Nepalese piece, with black pupils. My red coral necklace turned blue (in the Nepalese version it was black). Darius‘ work was his emotional diary reflecting his mood and experiences. Some threads of the embroidery are quiet and orderly; the others are untidy, expressive and radiating with quiet anger. Darius worked on the embroidery with two pictures on his desk, a postcard-sized image of Our Lady and my passport photo he was copying. His embroidered piece, small as it is, presents diversity and is full of emotional contrasts; one portrait is somewhat greyish and impersonal, just as photos in official documents tend to be, whereas the other portrait is vibrant and radiating with life and colour.
Textile. I was into needlework since I was a child - knitting, sewing, embroidery; later moving into professional studies of textile, its design, technologies, history and mythology. Later still, all this evolved into the broader concept of textile and its culture, based on researching deep traditions and technology innovations, and the quest for new inter-disciplinary means of expression. As art critic Virginija Vitkienė puts it, textile is a culture that provides endless sources for artistic concepts and manifestations.
Dance. I used to go to dance classes since I was a child. My longest effort to learn dancing was at the Valentina and Adomas Gineitis studio. To me, dance always was more than just the sum of movements. Dance is about personal experiences, history, emotions, an adventure… I was never too fond of Argentine tango which, being based on rather simple patterns of primary elements, consists of following the man, listening and adjusting to him, providing improvised replies to questions that his body asks. This dance crushes one’s pride because it demands giving up one’s wishes and requires listening with your body. One is supposed to be flexible, humble, shrewd, wise, mildly provoking – and yet getting where you want to get, with your understated feminine agenda. Indeed, the two years of Argentine tango classes provided not just the grasp of tango - by default, they developed skills required for teamwork.
Carpet. I chose classical patterns and colours of the carpet, while the size was determined by the space allocated for the performance, the hall of the Panemune castle (the project took place in the framework of the international symposium ‘Felt 2014,’ the theme being ‘Dynamic textile: from the local context to inter-disciplinary explorations’). I spent two weeks assembling the carpet out of died wool fibres, and its soft transitions of colourful patterns radiated with luxury and elegance. Once the carpet was finished, I danced tango on it with Kęstutis Litvinas, my Argentine tango instructor, thus destroying the aesthetics of the wool puzzle and harmonious image. The dance has added the final pattern for the carpet - unpredictable, irregular, with a touch of vitality, just like the life is meant to be.
Today it is also witnessing the economical changes in the country – from the time the Bus Ticket was created the price for the single trip has increased more then three times.
In the Project titled The Crisis, the artists, in their own artistic way, interpreted the most outstanding event of 2010-2012 both globally and in Lithuania – the economic recession. This is an ironic reply to the general hysterics of the economic recession period. And the word “crisis” itself is used a lot of times both in the artistic installation and in the collection of clothes, as if it is the main motive of the present days.
Costumes for the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance – these are clothes tailored for the really existing members of the Cabinet of the Republic of Lithuania, who are the real advocates of the recession in Lithuania. The specific size and style of these people was taken into consideration. In 2010, those costumes received the highest award of Golden Shuttle of the 3rd Lithuanian Textile Art Contest (taking place every two years).
The pilot collection Alive Fashion is for the inventive youth who are fond of the unexpected. The clothes are made of the fabrics covered with thermo-chromic textile dye. The fabrics seem to be alive, they remind of the chameleon skin changing its colour. These slow-fashion clothes will bring delight to the people wearing them, when the colours and the patterns are changing depending on the environment, the body temperature and the prevailing emotions of the wearer.
The aim of the Project My Colourful World is to facilitate the integration of the disabled in the society while promoting the mutual assistance and cooperation between the disabled and healthy people. It is the continuation of the series of art projects within the expanded social context, which have been initiated and implemented in Vilnius Art Academy since 2005. The main idea of the Project was to demonstrate the possibilities of the disabled to participate in various activities, hand in hand with healthy people, and to share the ideas, knowledge, skills and valuations. The participants of the workshops within the framework of the Projects were: visitors of the Day Centre “We Are” Aleksandra Stankevič and Rasa Andriuškevičiūtė, an employment specialist of the Centre Laima Kazlauskaitė, a vocational teacher Irena Važnevičiūtė, students of Vilnius Technological Training and Rehabilitation Centre, a vocational teacher-expert Irena Seniūnienė, and a senior vocational teacher Jūratė Laučienė.