Rasa Andriušytė , 2009 09 29
The exposition of E. Markūnas’ paintings “One More Breaking Morning” was presented in Kaunas gallery Meno Parkas. This is the collection of works painted during the period of 2004-2009: abstractions, several expressive paintings with figures and fantastic fictions. With this big variety of paintings the author sort of tries to show his universality. We should envisage the universal painter who can paint a lot and in different styles. But the problem is that the question “how to paint?” is not the main question in world art already for a while. Stylistic harmony, unified touch nowadays is not the main goal of creation or the crucial criterion of evaluation. It is rather important to answer the questions “what and why do I” create, exhibit. The exposition hall of the gallery Meno Parkas is quite small. It is difficult to exhibit many paintings, so the artist could make more precise choice of the paintings, which would better point the message of this exhibition.

One of major themes of E. Markūnas’ works is life of people of his generation. Its history really does not lack actuality and colour. The hippie’s freedom in the soviet school of art, the outbreak of art of “the break generation”, ambitions and coma of “The Viper” is a part of E. Markūnas biography and creation. In 1999, in his first personal exhibition the painting “My Generation” was exhibited. In the context of 1990-ies it was quite a brave abstraction with paraphrases of the motives of artists of his generation and folk ornaments. In now open exhibition the painting with long title “One More Morning Break When We Used to Listen to the Radio of Luxembourg in 1978” (2009) also touches the theme of generation of E. Markunas, which was raised behind “the iron curtains”. But only a nostalgic memory of his past is represented in it. Does the artist, who was able to change the language and body of painting (“Column No. 1”, 1991) return to the traditional, emotionally based, orientated to self-expression creation?

E.Markūnas. “My Generation”, 1990

E.Markūnas. “One More Breaking Morning When We Used to Listen to the Radio of Luxembourg in 1978”, 2009

Like many artists nowadays, E. Markūnas tries to analyse the scenes of modern life of the city, where beautiful women and merry men are acting, the night lights are shining (“Du (eto)“, 2009, “Pink violet“, 2007). “The painting like screen” conception’s reflection can be noticed in the paintings of E. Markūnas. There is almost no static view. Even the rectangular plane of canvas is used more like a traditional thing. Sometimes the boundaries of rectangular are ignored. The painting looks like an image of a photograph at a rakish angle; the view is sort of accidental. This is not composition, but decomposition. Sometimes the artist purposely paints authentic faces of well known people (“I Will Find You”, 2007 “Du(eto)”, 2009). Therefore his painting style has association with a shot from a photo camera or movie. It is interesting that there are several layers of view – pictorial, emphasised by graphic elements on the top of it (“Soft Breath for von Weber”, 2008) or the opposite, where the paint is sprayed, rolled on the linear painting (“Astonished Boy. Fiction by Pontormo”, I-III, 2009). Thus the views overlap, the impression of temporary act, movement arises. There are some other painters who form the body of painting in similar way – Jonas Gasiūnas, Seržas Gaitandži. Parallelity can be quite a natural thing; according to it we can draw the common local tendency of our pictorial art.

E.Markūnas. “Du (eto)”, 2009

E.Markūnas. “Pink Violet”, 2007

E.Markunas. “I Will Find You”, 2007

E.Markūnas. “Astonished Boy. Fiction by Pontormo”, I, 2009

E.Markūnas. “Astonished Boy. Fiction by Pontormo”, III, 2009

Things that ones have been important, almost sacred to the author are being ironized in his painting “The Drowned Pinocchio” (2004). It seems like there is an intention to dispose the past, disregard it. In this painting the author identifies himself with Pinocchio – a pictorial hero of his teacher, painter Antanas Martinaitis. E. Markūnas makes an irony of himself and “drowns” in the green waters of Kaunas. It is almost clear what would say A. Martinaitis when he would see fiction and natural realism together. But the times of pictorial art have changed and “The Drowned Pinocchio” is one of the most interesting paintings of this exhibition. The fantasy world of childhood and interface of imitated symbolic death could be an interesting topic. Surrealistic elements found in his nook of romanticism act harshly and promising in this picture. Maybe he should not be afraid of his own tendency to mannerism?

E.Markūnas. “The Downed Pinocchio”, 2004

In the paintings of E. Markūnas we can find sharp, retrograde courage to argue with the practices of pictorial art in Lithuania and with several pictorial traditions – expressionism, abstract expressionism, post-modernism. Though I understand that to fight in several different front lines is very difficult, it would be hard to unconditionally agree with everything what I saw in exhibition. To try many things does not mean to find something. Contemporary artist consistently confronts with difficult and complicated condition of authentic creation – to find a way between the flow of information and irreplaceable inner voice “I”. It is difficult but essential.

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