Baltic bonsai 3

by Saulius Vaitiekunas
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About Baltic bonsai 3

Bonsai is a popular Japan's tradition of growing and nurturing decorative trees. Due to external circumstances and others will, the plants are transferred to a strange, artificial space. This way the tree is doomed to suffer ruthless challenges in an attempt to change its nature, not allowing to grow and unfold.  

Nations, just like trees, have their own times of forming, flourishing and vanishing. In history, we can find many examples when nations had grown to becoming civilisations and later on vanished or were destroyed. Many nations became bonsai.  

In 2018 three Baltic countries – Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, commemorate the 100th anniversary of their restoration. These are moving stories, which have similarities and differences. Whilom, Lithuania was like a gracious tree, but historical circumstances determined compulsory changes, drastic chopping, pruning, breaking. History of our nation is similar to the fate of bonsai tree: diminished, put into a small bowl, being “supervised”, “protected” and “formed” by external forces.  

Installation “Baltic bonsai” is created from Baltic Sea stones, found in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, incrusted with various signs made of silver. Stories and marks made by the time itself are imprinted in these stones like ridges of a tree. What destiny Lithuania could have had if the decisions of the external forces would have been different? How much of it depends on us? Can bonsai become a tree again? On the other hand, maybe every one of us is bonsai?  

Year: 2018

Signed: yes

Saulius Vaitiekunas

Saulius Vaitiekunas was born in 1953, Klaipėda, Lithuania. Although he graduated from Faculty of Law in 1976, that didn’t stop him from following his passion for creation work. Nowadays, S. Vaitiekunas is a well-known conceptual and transdisciplinary artist in Lithuania and abroad. The art field mainly consists of jewellery, monumental sculptures and conceptual installations. Stone, indeed, is a heart of the entire art. S. Vaitiekunas has a very unique attitude to this material, he connects modernity and archaism in art pieces. When creating sculptures or ready-made objects, the artist preserve natural and organic forms of stones, sometimes just adding ancient archetypal symbols. Moreover, an artistic talent becomes obvious when artist combines different sizes of forms. In general, the artistic language of S. Vaitiekunas is highly individual and specific, conceptions and philosophical insights interact with precise and minimalist aesthetics.

     Stone statues reveal their mystical nature while stone becomes almost live and speaks about secrets of universe and human existence. But at the same time, working with stone embodies strong relation with homeland. So it is both universal and very familiar substance. S. Vaitiekunas is without a doubt an artist creating art during and about his times. There is an abundance of hints and references to the processes taking place in our society at the moment – the absurdity of politics, ecological threats and challenges of emigration. While feeling the pulse of everyday life, the artist clearly articulates his position and the sensation felt all around, becoming relevant and timely. In the background of Lithuanian artists, S. Vaitiekunas also stands for his ambiguous, philosophical and often ironic titles of artworks that broaden the perception of the art itself.

 

 

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

 

  • Solo exhibition – “Rosary”, Vartai Gallery, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2001
  • Group exhibition – “Re/Formos“, Geneva, Switzerland, 2002
  • Solo exhibition – “Bon voyage“, Galerie Michael Schultz, Berlin, Germany, 2005
  • 1st Lithuanian Contemporary Art Quadrennial, Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2005
  • Solo exhibition – “Requiem to the Orchestra“, Vartai Gallery, Vilnius, 2008
  • Group exhibition – “Balticalia Lituania“, Plus One Gallery, London, United Kingdom, 2006
  • Group exhibition – “Invisible Bridges of Cultures. Africa and Lithuania“, Johannesburg, South Africa, 2007–2008
  • Group exhibition – “Lithuanian new“, Galeria Szyb Wilson, Katowice, Poland, 2008
  • Personal exhibition – “…because the time is near (Apr 1, 3)“, Terra recognita Gallery, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2009
  • International Biennial of Enamel Art – “One gram of gold”, Meno Niša Gallery, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2010
  • Solo exhibition – “Nostalgia”, Terra recognita Gallery, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2012
  • Solo exhibition – “To be or not to be”, Terra recognita Gallery, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2013
  • Group exhibition – “Spiegel naar de toekomst“ together with Alfons de Laat, Galerie De Compagnie, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 2014
  • Group exhibition – “Requiem to the orchestra”, Maastricht, The Netherlands, 2018
  • Solo exhibition – “For the merits…”, Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2018

 

 

SELECTED AWARDS

 

  • S. Vaitiekunas got a scholarship from Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania in 2015, Vilnius, Lithuania
  • The nomination from the audience for the most original exposition in Craft Vilnius'14, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2014
  • The nomination from the audience for the best author in ArtVilnius'14, Vilnius, Lithuania, 2014

 

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

 

  • Since 1992 – a member of Lithuanian Artists’ Association
  • Since 1996 – member of Lithuanian Art Gallerists’ Association
  • In 2009 he established a fund for the preservation and development of the artistic heritage and Terra recognita Gallery
  • An artist arranged over 40 personal exhibitions in Lithuania and abroad, also participated in many international exhibitions and contemporary art fairs in homeland and other countries – United States, Germany, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Portugal, South Africa, Poland
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Saulius Vaitiekunas

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