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28.06. - 25.07.2017 JONAS GASIŪNAS "Little Retrospective of Obsession"

28.06. - 25.07.2017

Galerija "Māksla XO"

Elizabetes iela 14, Rīga, LV 1010

Teaching Tool. 2017, oil, charcoal from candle smoke on canvas, 180x145 cm


Little Retrospective of Obsession

In collaboration with Lithuanian gallery „Meno Parkas” (Kaunas) and one of the most established artists of the current Lithuanian art scene – Jonas Gasiūnas – for the first time in Riga, „Maksla XO” gallery presents Jonas Gasiūnas’ solo show „Little Retrospective of Obsession“ with the artist’s latest works.
Jonas Gasiūnas is known for his unique author technique – drawing with the flame and smoke of a burning candle on canvas, covering the surface with volatile, trembling lines and dots. The theme of his works is concerned with “time” – individual and historical, reminiscence and recollection.

„It took me long to devise a way that allows me both, to depict some visible shapes and challenge their existence. I feel it justifies my scepticism towards the possibility of objective (re)cognition of reality. Drawing in smoke has proved an ideal means and it should be perceived as fiction,” Jonas Gasiūnas.

Jonas Gasiūnas entered the art scene of the 1980s as a perpetuator of expressionist aspirations, but came to witness the crisis of the discipline of painting in the 1990s. Instead of withdrawing to periphery to tender the tradition, he opted to conceptualize the means of expression employed by painting. He perceives painting as open to other media. Alongside with painting, Gasiūnas has created installations (he is one of the pioneers of the medium in Lithuania) and objects and has tried his hand in video performances since 2002. The artist’s experience with camera has prompted him to borrow the motion-picture concept of a moving image and transfer it to the surface of canvas.
While painting with candle smoke, Jonas Gasiūnas aim is to show that everything that is created by the smoke is that, which is imagined, while the painted base is “reality”. The interaction between these two planes (the illusory and the real) creates the painting's narrative.
The drawing technique employed by the artist functions similarly to graffiti; he also manipulates recognizable images usually associated with repressive structures, a loudspeaker, a probe and a Russian military choir being examples. The traces of smoke covering the surface of his paintings in dots and broken lines resemble of mail markings and notations on archival files and other documents or fragments of protocols.
Jonas Gasiūnas looks back at the political and social history, as well as contemporary tendencies, which he likes to portray in an ironic manner, - in one work combining seemingly incompatible characters – the Russian choir and a child with a baseball bat.

Jonas Gasiūnas was born in the Altai region of Russia, but lives and works in Vilnius, Lithuania. In 2009, he received the Swedbank Art Award. Both in 1993 and 1997 he won first prize at the Vilnius Painting Triennial, and has been an instructor at the Vilnius Art Academy, in the Department of Painting, since 1991.
Jonas Gasiūnas works are in numerous public art collections: European Central Bank art collection (Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany), European Parliament art collection (Brussels, Belgium), National Art Gallery (Vilnius, Lithuania), M. K. Čiurlionis National Art Museum (Kaunas, Lithuania), State Tretjakov Gallery (Moscow, Russia), Stadtmuseum Nordico (Linz, Austria), as well as private collections.

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.

Exhibition supported by: