Works by Stasys Eidrigevicius in the National Art Gallery

  • 2011-04-27
  • By Rokas M. Tracevskis

PUT ME ON THE PAGES OF PLAYBOY: Rabbit, painted by Stasys Eidrigevicius in 1988.

VILNIUS - The National Art Gallery, which is one of the branches of the National Art Museum, presents the exhibition of works by Stasys Eidrigevicius, titled A Face on the Mask. The exhibition includes some 200 paintings, masks, sculptures, and photos created by Eidrigevicius from 1974-2010. Eidrigevicius is world famous, mostly due to posters and book illustrations created by him. He received the Grand Prix in Barcelona, Spain, for book illustration (1986), Grand Prix in Lahti, Finland, for his posters (1989) and many other international awards. During the Eidrigevicius exhibition, the lights in the National Gallery have been lowered to avoid the fading of colors of the valuable art pieces created by this artist.

Eidrigevicius was born in the Lithuanian village of Mediniskiai, of the Pakruojis region, in 1949 and spent his childhood in the village of Lepsiai, near the town of Panevezys. He graduated from the College of Fine Arts and Crafts in Kaunas in 1968 and from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vilnius in 1973. Since 1980, Eidrigevicius has lived in Warsaw, Poland, though he likes to travel and stay for a while in New York, Tokyo and other cities. One of the masks in the exhibition A Face on the Mask is wrapped in French paper used to wrap baguettes in Paris – Eidrigevicius got such an idea when he lived for a year in a small flat in Paris and had his gallery in that city. Anyway, despite his cosmopolitism, his paintings have some Lithuanian folk mood and colors, which he probably got into his subliminal mind during his childhood in the Lithuanian village.

There are also other unusual materials used in the exhibition presented in the National Art Gallery. When Eidrigevicius was conscripted into the Soviet army, he was stationed in Russia’s Kaliningrad district. He used to paint on the small pieces of material taken from inside the military uniform’s epaulettes. His Soviet-era paintings on these epaulettes are also on show in the exhibition A Face on the Mask. Eidrigevicius explains the title of the exhibition and the big number of masks in that exhibition in this way: people usually wear a psychological mask in their everyday life, and that mask is often more interesting and alive than the real face.

Eidrigevicius, who participated in the opening of the exhibition on April 8, said that he would like to make an exhibition of photographs he has taken. However, he stated that these photos will present naked body parts and, therefore, he has no plans to show that exhibition in Poland and Lithuania – he described these two countries as countries where pious prudes of shallow understanding of Christianity are allowed to dictate the life rules for the rest of the population. Eidrigevicius said that he already had a nasty experience in Poland when his exhibition was revoked due to fear of reaction of the demonstratively religious locals. Lithuania imported that dark character feature of prudery from Poland in previous centuries, together with the Polish-style Catholicism (according to ethnography professor Daiva Seskauskaite, Lithuanian folk songs, which were created in the pre-Christian era, are pure porn if correctly deciphering symbols in their texts).

The exhibition A Face on the Mask will be on show till June 5.

The National Art Gallery, which is situated on Konstitucijos Avenue 22, is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 12:00-19:00, on Thursdays from 13:00-20:00, on Sundays from 12:00-17:00.

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