Vytautas Kašuba: The dethronement of history 0

Ramūnas Čičelis
www.kamane.lt, 2016-05-30

In brief: V. Kašuba is the Lithuanian expatriate artist who opened up Lithuanian sculptural and artistic thinking to the Western context and helped overcome national complexes. This coping is one of the conditions and opportunities of successful creative process of contemporary Lithuanian artists.

The main squares of many capitals of the world are decorated with the monumental sculptures of the bravest and the most famous national heroes. This sculptural feature can be traced back to the positivistic tradition of the 19th century, according to which, the history is treated as a process determined by the most prominent historical figures. However, the positivist belief in the rationality of historical development was shaken in the second part of the 20th century, after the World War Two, when Francois Lyotard, in 1979, for the first time in the world history analyzed and conceptualized the notion of postmodernism in his work The Postmodern Condition.

Expatriate sculptor Vytautas Kašuba's sculpture Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas was created and built in Vilnius, in exactly such context, while restoring the Lithuanian independence in the last decade of the 20th century. The part of the sculpture that embodies the Duke is created so that the character is holding an almost lowered sword, leaning forward and the horse is simply striding behind the historical character. In the sculpture Gediminas refuses aggression and leaning forward takes care of everyone who chose Vilnius and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania as their place of residence. The conquests in V. Kašuba's work are not given any prominence and are left beyond the artwork.

V. Kašuba's Gediminas is the Lithuania of the 14th century that is very similar, with its values, to the US after six centuries. This sculpture could only have been created by an emigrant artist, because Lithuania of the late 20th century was a very nationalistic country, holding on to its national heroes and the Great historical narrative which is convenient for rebuilding of the country, but which obstructs its further development, as seen in the Western context. In general, it can be said that V. Kašuba, as an artist, practiced the sculptural lightness, in terms of materials, in exile, and in terms of ideas realized it in Lithuania.

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