Thursday, 29 December 2011

II. (Museums. Lithuania. Žilinskas) Soothingly unchanged.

Part I.

Not all is stale at M. Žilinskas Art Gallery. Here are some highlights:

1.  A display of photographs from Čiurlionis's photo album accumulated during his travels in Caucasus (1905). 
There were some predictable mountainscapes as well as some astonishing portraits from the boat trip. Thoroughly postmodern.

M.K. Čiurlionis photos from Caucasus

M.K. Čiurlionis photos from Caucasus
The only true disappointment is the museum had not published the album as a book (well, an artist book, probably - I’d love to work on it!). What about a limited edition of prints from the original negatives?

2. The last painting by Čiurionis Trikampis. Ratas. Kvadratas  (Triangle. Circle. Square.)
 Apparently, they used to title it “Boats” (yawn-yawn), because it ... well... shows boats on it. I am delighted that the original name had been reinstalled. One should always remember the problem of titles and untitles and the importance of naming things.

The last painting by M.K.Čiurlionis

3.  Deathmasks by Petras Rimša. 
A selection of white heads is set out at the end of a rather large room. They are obviously meant to be a centerpiece. It is a rather crowded display for a room that size (have they  considered of dividing the space). The spotlight is very bright. White masks are arranged of black, like an assortment of ritual masks. Clinical curiosities? Despite an unsuccessful display, I found the presence and the reality of the person (behind the mask) extremely physical: you can see the veins in the neck, the hair stuck in the plaster.

4. Then there are photos by Domicelė Tarabildienė. Photomontages from 1932. 
Simple. Elegant. I had no idea she existed.
She was working in the context of Hartfield, Lissitzky and Rodchenko. I would very much like to research her photography more. To be continued.

Generally - the gallery seems to host a phenomenal amount of artwork in one exposition. Sheer volume is diluting the effect.  Too much stuff to take in. There is enough work and space to assemble a few blockbuster exhibitions.

The visit felt like a trip to the past. Soothingly unchanged. All is quiet in the Eastern front.

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