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Besides, we both have another obligation – obligation to create i.e. declare positive values and implement them in life, which some day will help other people to live better. (Albert Camus)

    This is already the forth textile art exhibition opening its doors in Kaunas. Not much time passed since the modest beginning in 1997 and it is gratifying to see that the exhibition has grown. A lot of talented textile artists are working in Lithuania and periodical international exhibitions provide a great opportunity for communication and getting to know the artwork of foreign artists as well as an incentive for their own art. The main intentions of this exhibition were to show the vast panorama of contemporary textile art as extensively as possible, to see the fashions and trends of European textile and, finally, to enjoy excellent single pieces of art. This exhibition, as well as the previous ones, is a retrospective and panoramic. The title of the exhibition is encouraging artists to perceive what is right and what is wrong in the plane of textile art and is chosen not just for its associations with the structure of traditional fabric. The aspects of its deeper comprehension allow addressing substantially wider range of issues and problems, housing more essential issues like the essence of art, the decision making of an artist and a person, social engagement, responsibility and many other rather than categories, supported by dualistic controversies or analysis of specific textile art problems. Does the art have a capacity for analysing these issues? How about contemporary textile art? What are its present problems and views? We got used to saying that textile art has already learned to use most of the new mediums a while ago and became a cross discipline art. Without imposing any conceptual framework it was tempting to provoke and learn what is important for them, textile artists of the beginning of the 21st century and expect beforehand, as if looking forward to confirmation, that textile art is capable of speaking contemporary and conceptual language in the hard-working and creative hands. The philosophical aspect of the Right and Wrong Sides was suggesting the artists the freedom of topics and genres, and the main criteria for artwork selection was to make certain about the links between the artistic idea and technology as well as professionalism of the artwork.
    It is early to speak about the exhibition, based on viewing the artwork on slides, but I think that most of selected artworks is really excellend and professional. The topic of the exhibition is reflected quite differently in the artists’ work – beginning with the efforts to embody it by the plastics of the artwork, plot narration, allegory and ending with completely ignoring it or slipping over the surface. Three conditional groups of artwork distinguish themselves based on the relation with space and application of techniques – wall, mixed techniques and spatial. Artists, working with traditional weaving techniques and each time envisioning new opportunities for expression, could be assigned to the first group. The majority of the artwork is performed using non-woven or mixed techniques. They include various traditional and non-traditional techniques, their intertwining, or combination of the two (photo on fabric, printing, stitching, dyeing, sewing and etc.). If the artist decides to weave, often fibres, wood filaments, wires, and various other materials substitute the threads, sometimes allowing the artwork to acquire the third dimension. Sill other artists are creating objects and installations in which the most important thing is expressivities of textile fabric and plasticforms.
    There are only a few pieces of artwork performed using waving technique, but all of them fascinate with meticulousness of the performance and precision, only Lithuanians in this exhibition tend to present photographically accurate portrayal, and Latvians prefer decorativeness. The fact that weaving is retaining its value and allowing discovering deep lying strata and intellectuality is evidently demonstrated by the artwork of Laima Oržekauskienė (Women- Archatos: Danutė, Lina, Violeta), in which the artist is developing her favourite motif of female torso. Her aspiration for perfectionism is revealed in her monumental female bodies, seemingly emerged from frescos in the mist of ceased gold, with application of gold threads and natural human hair. Feliksas Jakubauskas, indefatigable virtuoso of weaving excellence, is exhibiting two tapestries, representing the light and the dark sides of life. Combining the coldness of silk glare in pastel shades with the mat warmth of wool, the artist created the impression of glaring light in one piece of his artwork (Nights - Days. A Home of Light). Big format fabric looks like post-painting abstraction, dictated by the impulse. When looking at these pieces of artwork the idea, that only big format tapestries allow revealing the content with full power, is confirmed.
    The artwork of Wen-Ying Huang and Michiko Kawarabayashi breathe with eastern culture and speak about the dictatorship of the external world for our lives and our thoughts. Wen-Ying Huang (Now and Then) compares his portrait with an old photograph of a boy in the background of his still favourite Japanese stylised flowers, as if contemplating about the differences in times. Monochromic black and white geometry of Michiko Kawarabayashi (Peace) reminds the ruins of a concrete city, in the background of which a little figure of a child is lost, as if reminding us about the painful lessons of history.
    Figure expression is characteristic to Silja Puranen’s artwork Renunciation and Lapse, in which she is using second hand blankets and heat transfer for suggestive depicturing of two allegoric female figures, embodying a different burden of moral values and symbolizing sacrifice and sin. Textile materials, their features, drawing and colours, subjected for expressing the main idea, become essential and integral part of work concept.
    The best pieces of artwork of the exhibition are touched with pizzazz and question essential and global topics of time and history, peace, life and love and the topics of their dialectics showing how the artist perceives them in the context of our disturbed historical time. Eloquent object of Sugane Hara (Her Tragedy Has a Value to Consume), in which she is telling us about a young woman’s painful fate in the society, for which we, as part of the society, are also responsible. Thanks to author’s technique, polyester is hard to recognize turning into a fragile pink material, which breathes life into the space, providing texture and weight. At the same time the upward increasing scope of the object lingers as if unavoidable threat and thus the author seems to be saying that it is impossible to say, which side is right and which is wrong, because we live in the world, being ruled by the laws of economics.    
    The exhibition reconfirms the idea that contemporary textile is diverse, hard to describe, but open for new ideas, technologies and the best pieces of artwork are able to speak live language of art, express a point of view into the surrounding world. There are no indications of extreme vanguards and destruction in the exhibition and Lithuanians along with the foreigners seek spirituality, harmony and aesthetic emotions. I hope for the exhibition to provide enough positive experience and impulses both for the textile artists and everybody who visits it. This was one of the main intentions of this exhibition and the future will show how we succeed.


Snie­guo­lė Sur­blie­nė