Raimonda Kogelytė-Simanaitienė
www.kamane.lt, 2012-01-16

In brief: Valdas Kurklietis is the young ceramicist based in Kaunas who has already discovered his unique artistic expression. It is revealed in his solo exhibition ‘Time of Challenge’ displayed at the Balta Textile Gallery.

Valdas’s creative biography started while he was studying at Kaunas Art Faculty of Vilnius Art Academy. A young generation of ceramicists began to act at the same time (Ala Červonikova, Mindaugas Pridotkas, Vytė Noreikienė, Žilvinas Labanauskas, Eglė Labanauskaitė-Steponavičė and others). Attention towards social phenomena, civic position, sharpness of mind, intellectual perception of the surroundings and a precise interest in ceramic expression are characteristic to all of these artists, including Valdas. His works impress with a studious combination of subjects and material expression. The shapes of his works are never random: they help the subject develop and strengthen the meaning. A visual suggestibility is supplemented with a perfect mastery of technologies and their effects (colourings, facture, decor, etc.).

In the recent ten years Valdas exhibited his works in Lithuanian and foreign shows and symposiums of ceramics. For example, he created a memorable work ‘Time of Maximal Challenges’ in the Reduction symposium (2009). Ironical parallel is used here: two massive moulded beetles resembling of scarabs roll a ball wrapped into a bag of a well-known shopping centre. Choosing such an obvious metaphor the author mocks at the domination of mass culture and consumerism in our society.

One could observe Valdas Kurklietis‘s vase ‘Global Warming’ at the exhibition of Pavasaris (2010). With the help of the crackle technique the artist created an impression of cracking ice or snow. The work was awarded with the diploma for the best respond to the topic of the exhibition.  

The author is interested in environmental topics. His ceramic plates ‘The White Bear’ and ‘Seagull’ remind of a mosaic with figures of animals in the centre. They also could evoke the memory of the 60’s ceramics, when a principle of positive-negative and stylized composition, resonances of the laconic functionalism were used.

In the Pavasaris exhibition of 2011 the artist showed the work ‘Cupping Therapy’, which uncovered social problems of Kaunas city. Eventually he started the series of works related to medicine science, body organs, physical and partially spiritual human state. Such titles as ‘Post-Surgical’, ‘Fractured Head’, ‘Stem Cell’, ‘White Cell’, ‘Organs’ dominate in Valdas’s solo exhibition. When asked why he was interested in the subject, the artist declared his concerns at self-destruction, natural and human devastation, processes of human identity and perception of the uniqueness.

The usage of holes, empty spots, fusion of inner spaces, shapes of labyrinth and screw make Kurklietis‘s works polysemantic, continuing each other. The impression is supported by organic forms, materiality of stone mass, colour and ornamental decor that give a special vitality for the whole collection of the exhibition.

Light is also an important means of expression for the artist. He uses it moderately and accentuates the inner or external structure of the work, strengthens its suggestibility and mystery.

A keen look of the artist, ability to be a reflector of major social problems – these are the features that make his work exceptional and mature in the field of contemporary ceramics in Kaunas.


Photographs by Valdas Kurklietis

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