Dovydėnas Rokas

Rokas Dovydėnas is one of Lithuania’s most highly regarded contemporary ceramics creators, interdisciplinarian and researcher, who received a doctorate in art in 2020. The artist’s creative interests range between design and art, between applied ceramics andart installations. Both the creative molding process and the final aesthetic expression of the work are important to the author. The artist is conceptually interested in the tradition of Eastern ceramics, its centuries-oldhistory of imitation, and technology (for example, making local clay externally look like Chinese porcelain). The ceramic vases created by the author are inhabited by two wonderful characters – Plėviakojis and Louhan. Plėviakojis is a fantastic creature similar to a tadpole, and Louhan is a historical figure, a fighter associated with Buddhism. Both of these characters are eternal enemies chasing each other in the fantastic universe of Rokas Dovydėnas.



Pinniped vs Louhan

Pinniped is an overgrown tadpole who has hatched from a frogspawn and is turning into a frogped as he grows. His nature resembles that of Greek fawns – he likes being on his own, copulates with goats, women and men. His arch-nemesis, Louhan, is an illuminated Buddhist warrior from whose sword the blood of infidels or just strangers is always dripping. Pinniped and Louhan chase each other across the galaxy, searching and failing to find. This is the story my vases are telling.



Art Critic On…

Rokas Dovydėnas is a prominent participant of Vilnius’s contemporary art scene who has been active since the 2nd half of the 1990s. Even though he had graduated from the department of ceramics at Vilnius Academy of Arts, he later made a name for himself as an artist who idiosyncratically employs the (new) media – photography, video and animation. Dovydėnas likes to switch media and even mix them; in addition, his work is characterized by linkage of historical/cultural/subjective times and several different contexts, which often takes the form of attractive games and tangles of citations. This is also true for the result of Dovydėnas’s several recent years’ work, a huge collection of “simulacrum” vases (imitation of Ming era chinaware) titled Pinniped vs Luohan (who are the heroes of Dovydėnas’s exhibition). Thus, the artist seems to be going back to the roots – ceramics. Yet this should not be taken at face value, because this “comeback” is more of a cunning manipulation of the viewer’s docility and the cliches of artistic disciplines.

Kęstutis Šapoka

Curriculum Vitae