Toma Švažaitė
www.kamane.lt, 2012-03-21
Red Room, 1983.

In brief: If I were Alice and Alice were me, only James Bond and his number 007 could stop us. He would try to convince us: ’Bugaboos are relics of the past and they do not exist. Understood? There were not, are not and will not be any bugaboos!’. The bugaboo should be understood not only as a character living under our carpets but also as everything that stretches beyond the boundaries of logic.

This other side of the line is the house of Audronė Petrašiūnaitė and I have been living in her ‘Red Room’ for a week already. A soft, pastel light and inhabitants of this house charmed me as Alice in the Wonderland. Playful cats, a white lamb, wine glasses, inwrought tablecloths and lush plants live in the rooms full of colours and intimacy. The everyday is sacred here and does not have the sense of boredom so usual for modern society.

Colours are the main characters of the house affecting us visually, intellectually and emotionally. Warm pastel tones fill the rooms with pulsating love and joy of life enlivened by vibrating dynamics of lines. A rhythmical dance of colours and lines leads the viewer deep into the interior of feelings. That is where a real Alice’s journey across the rooms of inner states begins.

The interior of the room and a figure sleeping there are painted in a primitive, a bit childishly unhandy manner. Yet the picture consists of two layers and the second one shows a playful character of the hostess to be especially subtle and sensitive. A streamlined, undeveloped and rather primitive style of expression was the most proper to convey a personal and intimate psychological subject.

I lived in the Red Room for seven days and I did not meet the hostess yet she was everywhere at the same time. Her forms would be seen in pied wallpapers, figured wraps or striped carpets. The duet of the figure and the interior tells us stories of the house, legends and charades of the village. The essential concept of existential psychology – dasein (to be here in German), symbolizing the unity of a man and the world, could be used here. Obviously, the ‘Red Room’ reflects the complete harmony between itself and the author. There is no place for a stranger that is why my visit could last for seven days only – as seven stars of the Bear, seven spots of a ladybug, seven sins and virtues, seven world miracles and James Bond’s number 007.

Gladly, the significance of subjectivity and personal experience started to dominate in the Lithuanian art in the 80’s. Pictures began to speak about a psychic reality, vagueness and incompletion occupied the asthetic language. Viewers too appreciated the sense of spiritual alliance dominating in painting. After wandering in colourful interiors and viscous landscapes and recognizing themselves there, they manage to keep on living.  

Have you ever thought about your own interior? I want mine to be as the ‘Red Room’. However, my everyday does not have such a dreamy story and Alice would never get lost in it. I am a part of modern society, where 7 is just a number after all.


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