Cycle `Laments`


The theme of lament exists in painting for more than three thousand years. Already in ancient Egypt the artists started immortalizing the grief of a person`s loss in a ritual scene of mourning over the dead. Most probably it is an especially old ritual which has formed at the beginning of civilization. For Virginijus Kašinskas who in his pieces of art strives to emphasize the principal moments of man`s existence it is an eternal constantly moving theme. The region in which in the artist`s opinion it is still possible to find the most archaic spiritual and artistic structures is Samogitia The impact of the traditional manner of life of the native land, studies on local art monuments enabled him to create the basic attitudes of a great cycle of “Laments” only 12 canvases of which are exhibited in the museum.
The elements of the means of artistic expression chosen by the author are near to the folk art layer which is the oldest and least of all affected by the great styles. In the canvases we often see very generalized images of people. The natural outpouring of feeling as if washes off distinct signs of nationality, race, age or sex. The sensation of a universal moment typical to all the people community is formed which is strengthened by archetypal symbols subtly arranged into the paintings. The surroundings painted in a generalized manner emphasize the attitudes common to all mankind as well. We see no specific lands, towns or villages – it is simply space full of grief. The pain is boundless, so piercing through forms and spatial plans pulse in the paintings. Embossed paint surface catches the lights and shadows of exterior, the images are formed in the illusion layer, linear drawing emphasizes the depth of painting layers. The rhythmic exposition of realistic symbolic and conditional  forms unites the dynamic movement of various directions into one structure. In “The Great Lament” that creates even the impression of ornamentic kaleidoscopism, eternal transformation. Restless, rising, merging and again disappearing figures seem completely dependent on powerful spiritual currents. Probably it is only the colouring of the canvases that is more related with a specific region. According to the old Northern European tradition the place of suffering and pain is mostly the kingdom of cold and fire. The mirror structural part of “The Eternal Lament” not only erases the limits between real and artistic space. Since the antiquity a view that in a mirror one can see the essence of an idea exists in the society of creators. Dante wrote that the images of things hover in a clear medium and there they are such as the Creator has contrived. In order to make them seen the clear medium should be limited by not clear shining surface. By such that we see in the mirrors or the eye imitatinga convex mirror. Perhaps not everybody is fated to see or feel it.

Art critic Saulius Mikėnas