Oil on canvas, 100 x 150 cm
signed (lower right), dated, titled (on the reverse)
Purchased from the artist in 2008
Interview with Algis Griškevičius, September 2021
EP: We have your painting Before Sunrise in the collection of the European Parliament. Although the title of the painting refers to a part of the day, it is the subject of the painting itself that is more emotionally powerful - an abandoned carnival ride. It evokes a bygone glory, nostalgia, and at the same time, the scene is mysterious and stimulates the viewer's imagination. What is the real background of the painting? Is it a specific place? Or is it an allegory of an event? How was the painting created?
ALGIS GRIŠKEVIČIUS: The motive of abandoned funfair carousel in the line of my work reappears frequently. For me it speaks of allegory and ambiguity. The carousel itself, one may think, should be evoking jolly memories however it's neglect state and dramatic lighting creates a paradox mixed with tension and anticipation of a possible menace. The title "Before Sunrise" described not only a concrete time but also a metaphysical state, when one senses as if the time has stopped for a moment. The absolute silence of nature just before the sunrise strengthens that feeling. Like so this contradiction of silence in the air and reminiscent sense of the past joys gives a meaning to the narration of my paintings.
EP: On your website there are black and white photographs with similar abandoned places. Are they the same places?
ALGIS GRIŠKEVIČIUS: While collecting of material that serves as inspiration for my paintings I am making a lot of photographs and sketches. Later on in the studio plots of some photographs turn into paintings with a new added atmosphere and my own interpretations. This does not however eliminate the value of the photographs themselves.
EP: In addition to painting, you also create objects and take photographs. I was intrigued that gesture, ritual, mystery and imagination play a big role in your photographs. They seem to be a record of a mysterious ceremony. Where do you get your inspiration?
ALGIS GRIŠKEVIČIUS: The photographs which are not for the use of my painting process are made in a different way. They start as an idea in my head and are being carefully staged and directed afterwards. It involves sketching, making props and sometimes coming up with engineering solutions. Only after this lengthy thought process, the shooting takes place. I may claim that creator’s fantasy is the main tool here and the rest is merely an execution.
EP: Actually, there are often surrealist elements in your work. Is this an escape from reality for you?
ALGIS GRIŠKEVIČIUS: If I am not mistaken, B. Brecht has once said that an artist is not a mirror reflecting the reality, but a sledgehammer, which gives it a form. In order to create my own reality I juxtapose many different art movements, I take elements from naive art and surrealism especially.
EP: How do you actually assess the state of Lithuania and society after 30 years of independence? Are you more or less satisfied or are you more critical.
ALGIS GRIŠKEVIČIUS: Lithuanian society as in many other post-soviet countries is very variegated - some have adjusted to the waves of western world sooner and easier than others. Artists in my opinion should be always curious, follow the newest trends and advances not only in art and stay quite critical of the government. However difficult at times the independence years have been I cannot even compare them to the times of occupation and suppression of Soviet Union. These things are simply incomparable.
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Freedom of the arts and sciences. The arts and scientific research shall be free of constraint. Academic freedom shall be respected.
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Acquisition programme of works of art from Cyprus, Czechia and Estonia following the Bureau decision from 13 December 2006
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Acquisition programme of works of art from Hungary and Latvia following the Bureau decision from 13 December 2006.
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Acquisition programme of works of art from Poland and Lithuania following the Bureau decision from 13 December 2006
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Acquisition programme of works of art from Slovakia, Slovenia and Malta following the Bureau decision from 13 December 2006
Acquisition programme of works of art from Bulgaria and Romania following the Bureau decision from 13 December 2006
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Acquisition programme of works of art from Croatia following the Bureau decision from 13 December 2006.
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