October 3 – November 17, 2018
Exhibited at Panevėžys Civic Art Gallery (Respublikos street 3).
The continuous project “Aukštaitija art”, which has been organized for many years by the Panevezys civic art gallery, seeks to bring together professional artists from the Aukstaitija region and present their works of the last two years in an exhibition. The first such exhibition was held in 1995, and after a somewhat longer break, it has been held regularly since 2005. Every time the artists are presented with a thematic direction, which is encouraged to be followed when selecting works for the exhibition.
The theme of the 2018 exhibition is “Memento mori” (Remember that you will die). This motif in art is most often found in the genre of a still life and was particularly intense in the Baroque period. The abundant table full of hunting, fishing and crop yields symbolized the welfare of human life, however the skull (the main symbol of the memento mori), wilting flowers, leftover food, and other elements remind us of a more important message, which tried to convey the idea that all the wealth of the earthly world is irrelevant, and it is only a splendor; that a man should live not for it but fortify his spirit and prepare for the real and heavenly life.
In a sense, the issue of consumerism was raised already then. So like in the seventeenth century, today this message is also very topical. The exhibition is aimed at presenting contemporary reflections on the attitude of artists to the rooted and excessive consumption in society. If a few centuries ago a man for the sake of heavenly grace, was encouraged to abandon unnecessary details of luxury, today the new leaders of the capitalist world encourage the unnecessary trifles to fill the physical and spiritual homes of an individual. We are always buying something, we use it, even without thinking about what it gives us and whether we really need it. After all, we do not even notice how fast we become exhausted and dull wishing to get everything here and now. The “Memento mori” invites us to stop, to think if we really need it all, and to redefine our values.
As we ourselves are like trapped in the frames of the excessive and reckless consumption, the exhibition artists have also been partially restrained and invited to create works of the genre of a still life with the differently interpreted motive of memento mori. Some of them had a more standard attitude to this task, others – more innovative. This year’s exhibition is unique due to a smaller variety of genres than usual. In a standard situation, we imagine a still life as a painting. Perhaps that is the reason why a few representatives of other areas are afraid to create some unusual variant of this genre. Therefore, the paintings reign supreme in the exposition. However next to them, though not quite as abundant, we see other branches of art, of which installation art is distinguishable by its power of persuasion. I am glad that the exhibition has been replenished by new young artists who are still taking their first steps in the world of art, but despite living outside of the Aukstaitija region, they do not forget their roots and associate themselves with this land.
The exhibitions of the “Aukštaitija art” are a glance at the artists of the region and at the same time, an invitation to the creative reflections of the contemporary theme. The exhibition presents how they managed to cope with the task given.
Aurelija Seilienė, exhibition curator