Palanga Amber Museum of the LNMA presents Mantas Lesauskas interrogations of materiality of amber

  • 2024-05-23

At 5 pm 17 May, Palanga Amber Museum of the LNMA invites to the opening of a solo exhibition Peripheria x Cor by Mantas Lesauskas, designer and researcher. The exhibition presents design objects born out of his science-based artistic research into amber. Do resources of materials simply subject themselves to the whims of their extractors and users? Are things merely a backdrop to human existence – created and waiting to be filled with the foreign will to act, to be valuable or useless? This solo exhibition offers unexpected answers to these questions. The exhibition at the Amber Museum will run until 25 August. 

“I am truly happy to be able to present this artistic research, which I call an interrogation of the material of amber, at the Amber Museum of the LNMA. Though my initial intent was to probe into peripheral mentality, it led me to amber and, unpredictably, on the way I have discovered a healthy relationship with it. I have noticed that we lack a balanced approach to amber, it is either exalted or despised. I hope that this exhibition and the accompanying texts with different stories about amber will help the exhibition visitors to regain this balance”, the artist places his exhibition into context. 

A subtly insightful interrogation of amber 

As a science-based artistic study, the exhibition invites to reflect on the periphery and centre relationship in the 21st century and its implications. The exhibits are designed using geographically specific amber in combination with aesthetically alike materials, resins, minerals, naturally harvested latex. Yet only those, who will embark on an insightfully subtle interrogation of amber, will perceive the entire spectrum of these items. 

At the exhibition Peripheria x Cor, the artist constructs his dialogue with amber using a method of interrogating the material, which allows to think outside the box, to reveal new facets of the material, and to discover a deeper foundation for cultural reflection and the artistic experiment transcending superficial judgements. 

The role of amber in history: the contexts of colonial practices and pursuit of national identity 

The designed objects, the architecture of the display, and the hosting mansion of Tiškevičiai – are all threaded together by the puissance inherent in amber. Starting with the Egyptian pharaohs, ancient Greeks and Romans to medieval European elites, empires and occupational regimes amber was used not only for decoration but as a status thing to gain political ends.  

Leskauskas’s research has revealed that the limited resources of amber boosted its value and inspired ritual practices, yet at the same time amber was exploited by the totalitarian ideology power machinery. Defined humbly as a fossilized resin in geological terms, amber attracts the attention of far beyond the interest of natural sciences. Enveloped by historical narratives and the aura of mystery by virtue of its likeness to gemstones, amber has played a part in colonial practices and pursuits of national identity. Heavily impregnated with meaning, it deserves the definition by Lesauskas as an “actively acting” material.  

At the exhibition the artist invites its visitors to ponder on the origin and extraction of materials used to design the objects on display, and why they suit or do not to be made into concrete things. 

Exhibition coordinator Regina Makauskienė
Exhibition text writer Greta Babarskaitė
Idea conceived by Mantas Lesauskas
Graphic design by Indrė Klimaitė (Klimaite Klimaite)
Photographer Darius Petrulaitis