Vidmantas Kiaušas

The National Prize winner, artist Stasys Eidrigevičius and art critic and lecturer of Vytautas Magnus University Remigijus Venckus. Photo of Romualdas Požerskis

A meditative look at the Mother's portrait. Photo of R.Požerskis

In brief: The National Prize winner, world-famous visual art creator living in Poland from 1980 Stasys Eidrigevičius organised a closed meeting with Kaunas culture and contemporary art creators. Only nine Kaunas representatives of art participated in the meeting. Two short films “What's new in Stasys' Life” and “Guest at One's Home” in Polish were shown. The article is about the work of S.Eidrigevičius and his visit to Lithuania: exhibition in Vilnius and meetings in Kaunas.

Some of the books illustrated by Stasys Eidrigevičius

People know S. Eidrigevičius as an illustrator of books of Vytautė Žilinskaitė, Eduardas Mieželaitis, as a wonderful master of applied graphic art (“9 Poems” of Czesław Miłosz). Others are charmed by paintings, pastels, aquarelles, masks, photographs, performances, acting of the artist. At the moment the retrospective exhibition of S.Eidrigevičius open at the National Gallery of Art “Face on a Mask” reveals the diverse personality of the creator the best. 200 works created in 1974-2010 are showcased in it. The exhibition of three parts “Misty”, “(Im)mortal”, “Melancholy and Nostalgia” is really worth the trip to the capital.

Exhibition of Stasys Eidrigevičius “Face on Mask”. April 8-June 5, 2011. Curators: Regina Urbonienė, Milda Žvirblytė. Vilnius, 2011 © LAM National Gallery of Art, photos by Tomas Kapočius.

Meanwhile the meeting of the artist with Kaunas art creators and researcher was organised as part of the international media festival “Media Art Days 2011”. S. Eidrigevičius often repeats that he never knows what theme he will choose in front of the audience. One could experience this during the meeting in Kaunas. He seemed to open the door, to take a look what was there inside of his personality in order to enable the audience to understand how his biographical facts and their reflections intertwined in his works. While writing the article, V.Kiaušas chose quotations from the conversation with the artist in Skliautas café, from meetings with Kaunas artists at Kaunas Photography Gallery and 101 gallery.

S. Eidrigevičius. “A Hare”. 1988. Paper, pastel. Photo by Ignacy Eidrigevičius

The first meeting was organised at Kaunas Photography Gallery, and S. Eidrigevičius showed and commented his photographs at VMU 101 gallery on the following day. “I started photographing using my intuition, I had no teachers. Sometimes my parents used to sit for me, sometimes I captured them accidentally,” told the artist.

While commenting the visual lecture “My Road”, the artist amused students by telling about experiences in the old village and the harsh and poor reality. S. Eidrigevičius: “I am interested in things which are falling apart; I am from the world you see,” he stated.

The creator appeared to be charmingly impulsive, and it was interesting to guess how this gracefully chaotic man, closed in a studio, could become a master of perfected and well-thought-of forms.

S. Eidrigevičius: “The concept is important. It is significant that the work would speak and create emotions to the viewer. Photographs are my regular works that have been performed in another technique. I strive for economy. There may be much of everything, many tiny details, chaos, and sometimes I need cleanliness and pure forms. I never show a man's face, if it is shown, it is covered by a mask. That mask has been taken from my face…”

Masks, faces, the big nose of Pinocchio. “Pinocchio is one of my characters,” the artist agrees. “I find it beautiful, it is a possibility to have an adventure. I am speaking about the sitting Pinocchio: a metal sculpture with antenna like a nose, symbol, farewell directed upwards. It is an antenna of lie, a document…”

Looking at the big retrospective exhibition of S. Eidrigevičius “Face on a Mask”, the author of the article thought about the endless diversity of a man's internal world, about the colourful expression of the artist via creation. Publicly closed, masked, frankly ironical, but sensitive and easily hurt – such is Stasys Eidrigevičius.

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