The aim of rethinking the continuity of time and history and the importance and sacredness of the cloth 1

Gabrielė Kuizinaitė, 2016-03-29
Fragment of M. Žaltauskienė-Grašienė's exhibition Attire

In brief: M. Žaltauskaitė-Grašienė's exhibition Attire hosted in Pažaislis, presents the works comprised of three series about women: nymph (Penelope), saint (Virgin Mary) and queen (Victoria). The drapes carved in all of these sculptures are re-weaved by the artist and brought back to the shape of fabric.

M. Žaltkauskaitė-Grašienė currently is one of the most active textile artists of the younger generation. She has not only perfectly mastered textile technologies but also likes to experiment and oppose the tradition. In her works she combines different areas of art, media. In the contemporary textile series Attire, author focuses on form, aesthetics, historic icon of the female portrayed through clothing, the detail of its texture, which metaphorizes and summarizes the fragment of historical narrative.

I wanted to know how the author had the idea of creating this series. M. Žaltauskaitė-Grašienė explains, “I chose the image of Penelope's attire, while looking at the ancient Greek sculpture of Penelope at the Tehran Museum in Iran. This sculpture was without a head, therefore the gaze went to the exquisitely carved marble drapery folds of the garment.

“The Idea of the Virgin Mary's attire series was born accidentally. While visiting Vytautas church in Kaunas, I have noticed a sculpture of Virgin Mary, which is small in size (about 35-40 cm). The sculpture depicts Virgin Mary with two braids. Later I learned that this is the only such sculpture of the Virgin Mary in the whole Lithuania.

“I created the Queen's attire after seeing the Queen Victoria's sculpture in Manchester, UK. It sat with dignity in the main town square, vested in a mantle of an impressive size. The Grandeur of the attire even today reflects the imperial power. It was important for me to weave the details of their draperies, as if to redesign, transform time and to provide these icons with a new breath and the spirit of this period, reconsidering the scale of values and their significance in the modern world."

I wanted to hear more about the work process of the artist. She says she uses new technologies, "in particular - a digital jacquard loom and sometimes digital printing. Many stereotypically think that artist using digital media is not doing anything; he simply pushes the button and the piece comes out. However, in order to create a work digitally, you need to know the tools that you are working with, in this case the programs and also the process."

I was interested to know if the artist could single out some contemporary textile tendencies. M. Žaltauskaitė-Grašienė says, "I am interested in how the artist is able to affect the technologies and its progress - when using technologies she improves them in order to implement some seemingly impossible idea. I would think it promotes technological progress, especially if the artist is actively working in cooperation with specialists from other fields. I would single out cooperation as one of the main tendencies."

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