Memories – dripping rivulets of paint 4

Kristina Budrytė-Genevičė, 2014-12-02

In brief: “I was not much into arts, I was much more interested in music, but my parents, especially mother, directed me towards art,” the painter, creator of video art, video and audio installations Eugenijus Varkulevičius-Varkalis (b. 1956) starts his personal story in this way.

In the article he tells about his first childhood friend Arūnas Vaitkūnas, with whom the artist studied together at Saulė Gymnasium in Kaunas. He remembers how he chose the specialisation at Naujalis art secondary school. E. Varkulevičius disliked fussing therefore, the specialty of his mother, graphic arts was not for him. He loved sculpture as he created much from plasticine in childhood. Still, he became bored of sculpture soon, and painting appeared more interesting. The teacher Algirdas Lukštas gave interesting tasks, was able to motivate pupils.

This teacher, according to E. Varkulevičius, was unsurpassable, he compared all his later teachers with A.Lukštas. The artist also names such influential teachers as Valerija Juškienė and Elena Jakutytė.

In addition to school, E. Varkulevičius had a hobby unrelated with education and art – ornithology. The artist was also dipped in music. He had a music band Jamaika ir Band at school.

After entering the Art Institute in Vilnius, the artist studied along with Nomeda Saukienė, Vidmantas Ilčiukas, Audrius Zikaras, Liudvikas Natalevičius, Jonas Šidlauskas, Aleksas Repšas. He also established a music band with students called Afrika, which was called a punk rock band.

After the studies at the institute, most of the students wanted to stay in Vilnius but E. Varkulevičius, as many others, was sent back to Kaunas, to Steponas Žukas Art Technical School. He lectured here for a year but “Kaunas was so gaunt with its applied arts,” the artist remembers. The artist disliked this activity and was bored, very few students were talented.

Later the artist travelled in Lithuania, its villages. The Artists’ Association granted a workshop to him, the former homestead of the artists Vladas and Barbora Didžiokai in Dovainionys village. Many friends visited the artist working there in several years. Later he moved to another homestead in search of more silence.

E.Varkulevičius did not stay in the countryside long. After the borders to the west opened up, he left for Germany with friends, later – for the USA. He lived in New York for many years, worked with Jonas Mekas. Now, after so many attempts to run away, the artist returned to his native city Kaunas again and feels well here. He creates, reacts to events of the art world actively, shares experience sometimes, has created a family.

The works of E. Varkulevičius, like his memories, are full of all-encompassing snappy wisdom: one may see a modest wisp of fields in his works as well as an anthill of a huge megalopolis. Attention to religions of the world has also not disappeared anywhere, it has penetrated the rivulets of paint running down and returning again on the surface of canvases.


Project “Story and Soviet Stages of an Artist in Lithuania

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