Šapoka Kęstutis

medinis010Wooden, 2001-2003

This is an alternative story of a love affair with a birch log and the birth of the fruit of this love – Pinocchio. The project, which was the author’s MA degree work, was in development for around three years. It formally consisted of a story told through several media – photographs, drawings done in colour highlighters (including fluorescent yellow), and large-scale works (300×500 cm) conditionally classified as paintings, because those were bed sheets stitched together, on which the structure of the drawings was replicated in highlighters and fluorescent spray paint.

The series of photographs “told”, i. e. staged the story of love and Pinocchio’s birth with deliberate irreverent irony, while the drawings (which later grew into an independent series) and “paintings” developed this story in a rather animated/psychedelic style.

Presented here is one of the final photographs in the series, depicting the happy family with the newborn.


Peacock, video performance, 2006

povas

povas02

A video performance produced in collaboration with Benigna Kasparavičiūte, in which I “grew” a peacock’s tail and thus became very respectable and self-confident.

The idea of this video performance actually emerged naturally from the context of the time, the particular social and existential situation Benigna and I found ourselves in. It was an expression of our view of ourselves and the scene we were a part of at that moment. At the same time, this performance was our attempt at a discussion with the performative (and simultaneously very serious) tradition of the slightly older generation of interdisciplinary artists who had been at the peak of their activity in the 1990s.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7FbmmBuBzg


potvynis baltas somrero veikinimu koncertas-sveikinimas kuizinui

High Tide/White Sombrero (with Benigna Kasparavičiūte), 2006

When a pompous show (High Tide: New Currents in Contemporary Art from Australia and New Zealand) opened at the Contemporary Art Centre, we decided to mock that project and, of course, our own situation at the time, to parasitize the context a bit. At the same time, we wanted to create a work for which an intention and some intellectual efforts would be enough and no manual work would be required. We decided to congratulate the CAC’s director on the opening of the mentioned pompous project and his overall long, “fruitful” leadership of the institution.

We composed the greeting text, I wrote a poem for the occasion, and we thought that the song Sombrero by the Lithuanian band Žentai would best express our idea. We requested a greeting in the local broadcaster BTV’s show called Concert of Greetings. A few days later the work “materialized” itself in the TV show.

Later we acquired a recording of the greeting, which still functions as an independent work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zIp5gYVnFCc


kuriniai interjere Paintings in Interiors (one of the works from the series), 2009

The project’s idea was to find and photograph the painting works I had painted on different occasions between 1993 and 2005 on somebody’s request, which were now scattered around various apartments (mostly in Vilnius), and at the same time to tell the stories of these commissioned works’ emergence.

Presented here is one of those works and its story.

Vilnius, Vokiečių str. 15. Poppies (painted around 2004)

[…] called me and asked if I could produce a painting for her birthday. To be more precise, transfer someone else’s painting onto canvas. […] accidentally saw a painting she liked very much in one commercial gallery on Stiklių street, but could not afford it.

One afternoon we met near […] workplace in the Old Town and went to the gallery, which sold all kinds of expensive crap and several high-priced paintings that hung on the walls. […] pointed at one of them. I looked at it and saw a sugary, idiotic composition, a lot of poppy flowers, which cost about three thousand Litas. It almost made me puke! I though to myself: how could I have fallen so low as to be forced to copy a “work” by some idiot painter whom I would cross the street to avoid? […] said that I did not have to make an exact copy, but she wanted lots and lots of red poppy flowers like in that painting because she liked them so much, and because they would fit her new russet wallpaper nicely.

I found a canvas and paint in the studio, bought a few fake poppy flowers and began painting “from nature”. I painted a sea of blossoms and tinted the empty spots of the background a bit. In a word, it ended up being a visually “luxurious” painting, just as I had expected, even more impressive than the one in the gallery perhaps. We took it to a nearby framing workshop on Vokiečių street. The employees authoritatively suggested a red frame.

I saw the painting later, when it was already hung on the wall – red poppies in a red frame on red wallpaper, in an honourable spot (it had a whole wall dedicated to it) and in the company of miniatures by Sergei Grachyov and Marija Cvirkienė, as well as works by less known or completely unknown Soviet “classics” hanging on the other walls.


isperstas-menininkas koliazas

Collages 2010-2013

I have been making collages for several years now, not limiting myself to any particular theme. In a sense, it is a fairly spontaneous practice (although it takes me several weeks to several months to make some of the collages). The idea of a particular collage can come to my mind unexpectedly, suggested by a certain context, an overheard phrase, something I see, or just different images spotted in magazines that arrange themselves in my head in a particular “order”. At times it takes the opposite course – I have to look through a vast amount of visual material and rack my brains trying to find an adequate form for a preexisting idea that keeps haunting me, to reframe a particular context. In any case, most of my collages have their roots in concrete situations and particular contexts, and often work as a reference to and perspective on the latter. Thus, the series of collages (around 60 so far) as a whole gradually form a kind of complex cross-section of the socio-cultural context of Lithuania, or, rather, Vilnius. Presented here are a couple of randomly chosen collages.


Studies

2002-2008 Vilnius Academy of Arts, PhD in Art History and Theory

2000-2002 Vilnius Academy of Arts, Department of Painting (MA)

1996-2000 Vilnius Academy of Arts, Department of Painting (BA)

I believe that a lengthy CV is more appropriate for various formal reports or summaries of creative activity. I don’t think that a list of exhibitions or awards demonstrated on every occasion says anything valuable and meaningful about the artist or the quality of his work.

I am not particularly concerned with the formal creative principles, i. e. the use of one medium or another. The form of a particular practice depends on the content, the idea it expresses or any number of other semi-random factors. The media may vary from painting, drawing, collage and photography to performance, video art, “mutated conceptualism”, text or some immaterial situation. Finally, my critical practice (and thus, by extension, the institutional context) interferes with my artistic work, or vice versa. Form-wise my work is predominantly eclectic.

As I am not bound to the gallery and institution market as an artist (although, on the other hand, I am strongly bound to it as an art critic), lately I have been focusing on personally relevant existential, mostly local contexts tied to the art scene of Vilnius, which, for better or for worse, some commentator of my work has identified as “institutional critique”.

My worldview has been changing over the last several years under the influence of various internal and external factors. I have come to view my creative practice not in terms of “contermporary art”, let alone “relevance” (who even invented this stupid term?), but rather as the practice and worldview of an autodidact or a “folk artist”, or, at best, psychologically – as that of a “typical” late 19th century post-Impressionist, maybe even an early 20th century modernist to some extent.


Artists Who Inspire Me: Gintaras Znamierovskis, Rolandas Rimkūnas, Jonas Zagorskas, Benigna Kasparavičiūtė, Paulius ir Svajonė Stanikai, Redas Diržys