Conversation with the stained-glass artist Eimutis Markūnas

Austėja Masiokaitė

www.kamane.lt , 2011 01 14

E.Markūnas. Photo by A.Masiokaitė

Stained-glass works of E.Markūnas

In brief: Spaces of the majority of churches are dimmed with lives of saints immortalised in glass and lead of stained-glass. Stained-glass works decorated windows of many public buildings not so long ago. However, this art, which has old traditions, is retreating. Cheaper decoration methods are frequently chosen in architecture now. The painter, stained-glass and installation creator Eimutis Markūnas, whose stained-glass works decorate spaces of Lithuanian and foreign buildings, believes that the golden age of stained-glass has gone for good. In his opinion, this kind of art will surely change fundamentally, and there is no place for traditional stained-glass in post-modern architecture at all.

“Other forms are taking place of stained-glass works. These are showcases and work with them, architectural glass, which is not interesting to me. Formats, spaces are getting bigger. In general, there is no such thing as stained-glass and nothing else. Glass, mirror is used, installations are created, various glass objects,” the artist notices.

Speaking about stained-glass art creation, E.Markūnas notices that artists of this field should feel really sad as they do not get so many orders for work. The artist believes that classical stained-glass has died.

“It was not killed by anybody. It experienced natural death, like an old man. Simply its idea and form no longer agrees with architectural tendencies. Still, it is only one side of the medal. There exists a triangle: architect, customer and artist. If they all interact, the result can be something that will not mean the word “stained-glass work”, but something in glass, done with glass. Otherwise, nothing related with glass is born,” E.Markūnas shares his thoughts.

The artist reveals that, when he finished studies in the eighties, there were many of orders. However, when the nineties came, everything ended, and if the artist did not have orders from Germany, he states he would have closed the studio most probably.

The artist also notices that stained-glass works would suit architecture present in Lithuania well. Therefore, it is not the problem of stained-glass but the problem of cooperation.

“Nobody cares about art in some skyscrapers. There is more playing with factures of surfaces of showcases. It is aesthetical and nice but such decorations are cold and boring for me as an artist. I do not know whether these are new winds in stained-glass art. Nobody wants to play with lead an more: one needs fast and impressive result. Nonetheless, I believe that stained-glass will return in some form, perhaps without lead.”

The artist is asked what is needed for a glass work to become stained-glass work. E.Markūnas points out that the word itself is no longer suitable. Some new word should be coined. Some new word between architectural glass and stained-glass work should be found. Stained-glass works will surely remain in churches, which are conservative in our country and do not want post-modern things.

Speaking about the future of this field of art, the artist notes that it could be some microchips integrated in glass. Perhaps these will be plasma screens, microchips in glass changing the colour of glass all the time. This will be optical art, installations. The real stained-glass has had its day.

“There will be no return and rise of stained-glass. I do not know what should happen. The aim of present architecture is to become faster and lighter; why should one darken spaces? On another hand, stained-glass works look the best in churches,” the artist ends the interview.

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