Miglė Morkūnaitė
www.kamane.lt, 2011-11-30
L. Jonikė. '∆' (2005). Photo from linajonike.lt
L. Jonikė. 'She Likes Tomatoes', fragment. Photo from bienale.lt
L. Jonikė. 'She Likes Tomatoes', fragment. Photo from bienale.lt

In brief: The artwork ‘She Likes Tomatoes’ by the Lithuanian textile artist Lina Jonikė is exhibited in Kaunas Textile Biennial 2011 at M. Žilinskas Art Gallery. As it is usual in work of the artist, a traditional technique of embroidery is combined with contemporary technologies – photography and video installation.

The work ‘She Likes Tomatoes’ consists of six parts displayed in a row: a realistically embroidered tomato, three optical images created by little dots embroidered as tomato seeds, photograph of a nude pregnant woman and a video installation where we can see ripe tomatoes thrown into the ground. The artist accentuates four aspects that a tomato could be examined through: a tomato as a fruit, as an unknown object, as a material for creative work and a hero of the story.  

L. Jonikė throws a juicy tomato ironically into her own work. Her fling is not an impulsive or sudden gesture. On the contrary, precisely embroidered splashed fruit is the result of a considered and thorough work. The artist is the first to throw the tomato into her work and by that she shows a self-critical and auto-ironic attitude.

The artist shapes a different approach towards a tomato as an everyday object from her personal perspective. She considers it as a symbol in her work that gives a possibility to start a dialogue and get acquainted with people. The cycle of a growing tomato is compared to human life: from seeds to sprouts and fruits that are finally plucked. The artist used photography to express the poetical comparison of nature and human life. Symbols of reproduction – a pregnant woman and a pot with a tomato sprout – contain the meaning of the greatest miracle.

According to the art critic Virginija Vitkienė, works of L. Jonikė are highly feminine in terms of subject and technique. Embroidery has been considered to be women’s activity exclusively since the early times. The technique gives some certain cosiness and colourfulness for the work.

The work ‘She Likes Tomatoes’ distinguishes among other textile works in the exhibition by its playful and rather light topic. Other participants of the biennial examine global problems of the old and the contemporary world, existential experiences, childhood memories. In the meantime, the work of L. Jonikė invokes an elevated mood and makes forget about all troubles.

The work is kind of a game that wakes up the mind and imagination because the author suggest enough reasons to look at the tomato not only as a fruit but also as an object of art or means of creation. At the same time the artist does not make viewers follow her interpretations; on the contrary – she offers to contemplate personal experiences that would let treat the everyday objects creatively and create particular symbolic meanings.


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