Art Groups the Novelty of the Organizational Art Life
At present, the greatest grouping by the artists is already over. The artists
showed their most active attempts to rally up to 1993-1994. In the period between
1989-1997, in Lithuania there existed twenty-four officially manifesting themselves
(through exhibitions, actions) groups of artists. Nearly 200 people participated
in their activities.
In the course of time some of the artists dropped out or new members joined
the groups and part of the gatherings stopped their activities. Therefore, in
the present article, which sums up the groups as a certain phenomenon of artistic
life, it is reasonable to specify the dates of the formation of groups as well
as the names of the persons, who participated in the activities of the groups
in the initial period. The aim of the present article - to register all the
groups which more actively functioned in the mentioned period, to point out
the reasons for groupings, the principle ideological orientations and the character
of creative activities. While preparing for this task, questionnaires were sent
to artists, unfortunately, not all of them were eager to respond. Therefore,
the only sources of information were the Lithuanian press, exhibition catalogues
and personal observations.
Groups as the whole of people united by common interests and matters do not
present any novelty in artistic life of Lithuania. The first period of independent
Lithuania's life (1918-1940) witnessed the functioning of groups and societies
the members of which were the artists representing various trends. It should
be mentioned that only in the 30's they began to solve not only organizational
but also creative issues, contrary to the practice since the early 20th century.
Part of the groups emerged due to ideological dispersion.
Quite a big part of Lithuanian artists, forming groups, declare their direct
creative links with Lithuanian prewar art, its principles and even organizational
structures. Therefore, it is reasonable to briefly review some grouping facts
of the prewar artists. Some of the parallels could clearly show how much prospective
are analogous declarations at present and whether it is worth to look back when
it is high time to march forward.
In 1930, the Society of Independent Artists(1) was established.
The membership numbered 17. The major members: Vytautas Kazimieras Jonynas,
Bernardas Bucas, Ceslovas Kontrimas, Adolfas Valeka, Viktoras Vizgirda, Adomas
Galdikas, and others. The society was declaring the artists' ambition to free
themselves from academism, naturalism, and dilettantism and to create modern
art. The "independent ones"; managed to slightly stir up the stagnant
atmosphere of artistic life in Lithuania.
In the period between 1932-1933 functioned the society The Line, the
members of which were artists and writers. It was proclaiming antifascist, revolutionary
ideas and propagating the art of the Soviet Union. Stepas ukas, Petras Vaivada
and Petras Tarabilda participated in its activities.
In 1922 the group ARS was established. Its members were: Antanas Gudaitis,
Viktoras Vizgirda, Juozas Mikėnas, Vytautas Kazimieras Jonynas, Antanas Samuolis,
Jonas Steponavicius, Telesforas Kulakauskas, Adomas Galdikas and Mecislovas
Dobuinskis. It was the first group to proclaim its manifesto: "to create
means to march forward after having glanced backward"(2).
The members of the group ARS associated the name of the group with the word
"arsime" (in Lith. - we shall plough). They were greatly concerned
about the application of the Lithuanian folk art traditions in professional
art, and they made attempts to interpret them and fuse with the traditions of
Western Expressionism and Fauvism. In respect of the most general artistic tendencies,
the character of their art coincided with West European art.
The Society of Lithuanian Artists was established in 1932. Its aim was
to be a counterbalance to a modern art of the young. Its members were Vladas
Didiokas, Jonas Mackevicius, Juozas Zikaras and other realists. Their exposition
arranged in 1933 was characterized by Justinas Vienoinskis as an "abundant
in quantitative but modest in qualitative respect exhibition by the representatives
of the old-fashioned outlook in Lithuania". However, it was the period
between 1938-1940 that witnessed the greatest conflict between different generations
and different ideological views. The formation of several sections in the Lithuanian
Union of Artists strengthened artistic differentiation. The principle of joining
one or another section was of the "trend-type", i.e. on the basis
of an original artistic ideology(3). In 1939 was formed the Section
of Individualists (Paulius Augius Augustinavicius, Antanas Gudaitis, Antanas
Vienoinskis) and the Section of Realists (Antanas muidzinavicius, Juozas Zikaras,
Adomas Varnas, Robertas Antinis, Matas Mencinskas, Vytautas Kauba, Stepas ukas
ant others). According to Jonas Umbrasas and Eglė Kunciuvienė, Lithuanian art
historians, who have made a more thorough analysis of this period, the break-up
of the Union of Artist started from the sections because they became independent
and hard to be guided. In 1940 the Section of Individualists and some other
members (21 artist all in all) withdrew from the UA(4).
The art historian Elona Lubytė, who has justly noted that there was no alternative
art in Soviet Lithuania, touched upon some specific issues concerning the grouping
of artists during the Soviet period. There only existed small groups of like-minded
artists who used to gather in the homes of the artists Judita and Vytautas erys,
Marija and Vladas Vildiūnas, Saulė and Vincas Kisarauskas(5).
The period between 1945-1987 did not witness any more radical manifestos or
In the period between the 70-80's, small groups of artists bound by similar
artistic views used to arrange group exhibitions. They can be conditionally
called as a group movement of four or five artists, and associated with the
birth of group phenomenon in Soviet Lithuania. For example, Kostas Derekevicius,
Algimantas Kuras, Arvydas altenis and Algimantas vėgda arranged significant
exhibitions, which produced a great enough resonance among artists, in 1979.
In 1982, Kaunas hosted an important group exhibition of the works by Jūratis
Zalensas, Alfonsas Vilpiauskas, Arūnas Vaitkūnas and Mikalojus alkauskas.
One more group exhibition of the works by Bronius Grays, Henrikas Natalevicius,
Mindaugas Skudutis, Raimundas Sliys and Romanas Vilkauskas was held in Vilnius
The period between 1989-1997 saw the formation of a number of artists' groups.
During this period, they served as significant attempts to reform creative life.
It goes without saying that a group presents a more modern structure than the
Soviet-type Union of Artists. Small groups of artists have played an important
role in the decentralization of the creative life, though the status of some
groups was in the nature of a mere compromise: some of the members of the groups
did not leave the LUA, but they registered themselves in this organization as
The Green Leaf (alias lapas) was established in Vilnius in 1988. Its
members: Gediminas Urbonas, Aidas Bareikis, Artūras Maktutis, Julius Ludavicius,
Gintaras Sodeika, Juozas Milaius and Linas Liandzbergis. The young artists,
graduates from the Vilnius Academy of Arts (VAA), were striving for a conscious
opposition to the romantic national traditionalism prevailing in Lithuanian
art. The beginning of their creative biography coincided with the period of
cardinal changes in society, its political power and institutional structures.
The members of The Green Leaf made attempts to promptly join the context of
international art, basing themselves on such prominent figures of contemporary
art as Jurgis Maciūnas (1931-1979) and Joseph Beuys (1921-1986). The group creates
actions and strives, according to the art historian Herkus Kuncius, "aestheticize existence or to effect it in another way"(6).
A characteristic feature of the actions performed by The Green Leaf is the fact
that the artists do not rely on improvisation, they are eager to precisely realize
the original idea. The messages of actions are universal and associative; they
are open to intellectual interpretation. As the members of the group do not
like to improvise during actions, they never make attempts to include spectators
into them, though it is a common practice in the art of actions. The spectator
plays the role of the one who perceives and touches the mystery of the action.
Due to changes in certain objective circumstances, the joint activities of the
group have stopped. Its existence, however, gave fresh impetus to the conceptualization
process of Lithuanian art.
The group 24 was established in Vilnius in 1989. Its members: Alfonsas
Andriukevicius (art historian), Valentinas Antanavicius, Eugenijus Cukermanas,
Kostas Derekevicius, Bronius Grays, Leonardas Gutauskas, Linas Katinas, Algimantas
Kuras, Viktoras Liutkus (art historian), Raimondas Martinėnas, Henrikas Natalevicius,
Vytautas Pauktė, arūnas Sauka, Algis Skackauskas, Leopoldas Surgailis, Arvydas
altenis, Vytautas erys and Ricardas Vaitekūnas. The name of the group implies
the fixed number of the members. The artists of the group create painting, graphic
works, assemblages, etc. The group 24 deservedly owns the laurels of the principle
reformer, because in 1989, it was the first alternative to the Lithuanian SSR
Union of Artists. Part of the members of the group - creative like-minded artists,
used to arrange group exhibitions prior to the establishment of the group. Thus,
one can state that the group 24 has its certain prehistory. The members of the
group are the people with a similar conception of the "most general aims
of art and principles of creation"(7), which can be possibly
considered to be the basis for the firmness of the group. Among members of the
group rank recently titled artists, lecturers of the VAA, professors (arūnas
Sauka - the National Prize winner). In the course of the formation of the group,
the majority of artists already boasted their weighty creative biographies,
at least within the limits of Lithuania. Therefore, the aim of the establishment
of the group specified in its by-laws seems somewhat vague - "to unite
for a joint activity creative and active artistic individualities". The
aim of grouping was formulated in a particularly ambitious way: to represent
elite art, not tolerate commercial creation and not to serve for utilitarian
purposes. At the same time the group 24 at least declared a noble ethical position,
which in the course of the shift and turning point was and has remained significant
despite its slightly utopian character. The group 24 distinguishes itself by
its exhibition activities. Some of its members have arranged solo exhibitions
and the majority of them participated in exhibitions in Lithuania and foreign
POST ARS was established in Kaunas in 1989. Its members: Ceslovas Lukenskas,
Aleksas Andriukevicius, Gintaras Zinkevicius and Robertas Antinis. The group
has proclaimed its manifesto, denying traditional conservative art. POST ARS
was one of the first groups in Lithuanian (beside The Green Leaf)
to start the creation of group actions, installations and performances; however,
they also create sculptures, graphic and photo art. The members share similar
views and ideas, which R. Antinis, member of the group, characterized in the
following way: "From animate to inanimate, from a thing to a body, from
a concept to a movement, from an action to a sign and from something tangible
to intangible. The element of the development of actions and installations -
improvisation"(8). They have arranged exhibitions in Chicago
(USA), Hungary, Finland, Slovenia, Poland and Germany. At the 1992 Niederlausitz
Biennial (Germany), they were awarded a prize for the work The Score (land art).
The New Communication School (Naujosios komunikacijos mokykla) was established
in Vilnius in 1990. Its members: Ernestas Parulskis, Saulius Pauktys and Giedrius
Jonaitis. The New Communication School (NCS) - an atypical group engaged in
versatile activities. The creation of art is one of its many spheres of activities.
The NCS is an alternative movement, the aim of which is a playful, easy communication,
jolly actions, making use of such atypical medium of Lithuanians like piercing
humor. The NCS - the structure taking its shape and undergoing transformation.
It has its chancellor, sponsors, activities and even patronage gestures. The
NCS declares links with mass culture and pop art. In the exhibitions of this
group, stylistic rules do not play any limiting role. Exhibitions and other
activities express the reaction of the group to public business. The themes
of the exhibitions are conditioned by urgent problems - alcohol, pornography,
elite art. Comical character manifests itself as the principle aesthetic category.
The group has arranged ten exhibitions. A monument to Frank Zappa (sculpt. Konstantinas
Bogdanas) was erected in Vilnius on its initiative.
Sel was established in Vilnius in 1990. Its members: Tomas Geciauskas,
Sigitas Lukauskas, Rasa Staniūnienė and Sigitas Staniūnas. The name of the group
is an abbreviation of the term "super ex libris". Its meaning is widely
interpreted and is associated with an ancient book sign, a print on the cover
of the book. Sel - a conceptual group, which creates installations and objects.
The originality of their joint projects is based on the fact that the objects
are placed in specific spaces - the former ammunition depots, military fortifications
or monasteries. Historical and social aspects are no less important than the
artistic ones. It is also important how the works interact with cultural environment,
what ideas they formulate in it and convey to the spectator. It should be mentioned
that each work has only one formal title - Sel. The group has arranged eight
exhibitions in Lithuania and foreign countries.
The Snake (Angis) was established in Vilnius in 1990. Its members: Jonas
Gasiūnas, Vytautas Dubauskas, Kaestutis Lupeikis, Arūnas Vaitkūnas, Mikalojus
alkauskas, Alfonsas Vilpiauskas, Henrikas Cerapas, Eimutis Markūnas, Ricardas
Nemeikis, Antanas Obcarskas, Raimundas Gailiūnas, Jonas Arcikauskas and Rimvidas
Jankauskas-Kampas (died in 1993). They create painting, objects and installations.
The common support of The Snake members - European Modernism since Expressionism
to extreme tendencies of contemporary art. Expressionism, as the group leader
J. Gasiūnas mentioned in one interview, is perceived not only as the style of
their painting but rather as an acceptable spiritual state. The majority of
the members are in close relationship with the traditions of the prewar group
of painters ARS. The members of the group are painters "on a large scale",
who took to the canvases of an extraordinary big format and established them
in Lithuanian art. Painting is traditionally comprehended as a pictorial character
and the process of painting and creation is often even mystified. It should
be also pointed out that inside the group exist several subgroups, which by
their ways of expression oppose one another. The most contrasting points on
the one hand - the painting by Jonas Gasiūnas and Mikalojus alkauskas and on
the other - by Ricardas Nemeikis and Antanas Obcarskas. The Snake - one of
the few contemporary groups beside 24 which foster the traditions of Lithuanian
school of painting. According to the members of the group, the aesthetics of
Modernism, particularly Expressionism, is not completely used up and can manifest
itself not only through painting but also by way of other contemporary forms
of art. The Snake has arranged five group exhibitions. In 1996, The Snake exhibition
hosted some guests - artists from Denmark.
The Four (Keturios) was established in Kaunas in 1990. Its members are
only women artists: Aura Andziulytė, Aura Barzdukaitė-Vaitkūnienė, Judita
Budriūnaitė and Elena Balsiukaitė-Brazdiūnienė. They create painting, graphic
works, objects and installations. The name of the group came to be used spontaneously
in the process of arranging group exhibitions. The name as well as the activities
of the group contains no limitations, feminist or other binding aspects. At
first, as a kind of joke, the group was known under the name The Moth, wittily
opposing the group The Snake(9), which was formed at the same
time and consisted only of male artists. An exceptional feature of the group
is the fact that its exhibitions are always based on a certain conception, acceptable
to all of them in advance. Therefore, the artists devote their works to that
particular theme. Sometimes, The Four experiments a conceptual character of
forms and sometimes that of the idea. Though there are also cases when the group
is directly associated with feminism, but practically it is hard to notice in
their creation any shades of the movement for the emancipation of women. Their
painting is of a Neo-Expressionist orientation, and the artists rather wittily
characterize it as "the phenomenon of a lyric, impulsive and coloring origin".
In the period between 1990 and 1996, The Four arranged twelve exhibitions in
Kaunas and Vilnius.
The Lost Generation (Prarastoji karta) was established in Klaipėda in
1990. Its members: Virgilijus Bizauskas, Rytis Martinionis, Romas Klimavicius,
Justinas Mickevicius, Arūnas Jusionis, Arūnas Vasiliauskas, Aurimas Anusas and
others. The name of the group reflects urgent social problems faced by today's
generation of forty-year-old people. The members of the group create painting,
graphic works, sculpture, assemblages and installations. These artists formed
their group in 1987 and only in 1990 the group was registered at the municipality
as a public organization. "Non-traditional visual thinking and a desire
for a creative freedom" bind them(10). The creative provisions
of the group were formed as an alternative of the existing stereotypes in society.
The group has arranged some exhibitions in Klaipėda.
. V was established in Vilnius. Its members: Ona Grigaitė, Svajonė
Stanikienė and Paulius Stanikas. . V is a spontaneously born formula of the
name without any definite meaning. . V - a small group of like-minded friends,
who have been collaborating since 1987. They started with ceramic objects and
later passed to the installation of space with postmodernist objects, sculptures
and photographs. The ceramist Ona Grigaitė creates autonomous works and Svajonė
Stanikienė and Paulius Stanikas are co-authors. The three artists are bound
by the idea of the ". V grotesque spiritual values". These young
artists were the first in Lithuania (about 1987) to consciously destroy the
boundaries between the traditional branches and genres of art and to negate
(or to present other) the functions of traditional material - clay. They distinguish
themselves by a grotesque and exultant, mockingly lyric outlook on the things
and environment. Both their installed spaces and separate objects possess the
character of a theatrical scene, the most characteristic feature of which is
optimism and the fusion of nausea. The group has arranged seven group exhibitions.
Good Evils (Geros blogybės) was established in Vilnius in 1992. Its
members: ilvinas Kempinas, Ieva Martinaitytė, Patricija Jurkaitytė, Leila
Kasputienė, Aidas Bareikis, Julius Ludavicius, Gintas Vaicys, Saulius Maylis,
Saulius umskas, Giedrė Lilienė, Saulius Kruopis, Artūras Raila and Evaldas
Jansas(11). The members of the group are graduates of Prof. Kaestutis
Zapkus studio at the VAA. A paradoxical logic hidden in the name of the group
is characteristic of the creation by these young artists. The members of the
group are original artistic individualities, who create painting of different
stylistics as well as objects and installations. All are bound by a desire to
express themselves at the level of conceptual ideas but not at that of the inner
expression and national school. The first exhibition (1992) was a kind of declaration
made by the group about the essential significance of conceptualism in contemporary
art. At the same time Good Evils questioned the importance of the national school
as the only regional system of art and presented a clear alternative of artistic
thinking. It is a group of individualities, who as a group, want to accentuate
a paradoxical, opposing combination to each other, without reducing a mutual
creative tension. The group has arranged five exhibitions.
Group 1 was established in 1992 in Vilnius. Its members: Audrius Dzikaras,
Adasa Skliutauskaitė, Danutė Jonkaitytė, Audrius Puipa, Kazimiera Zimblytė,
Vytautas Jurkūnas, Dalia Kasciūnaitė, Aldona Dapkutė (art historian), Vytenis
Jankūnas, Gintaras Giedrimas, Arvydas Pakalka and Rūta Katiliūtė(12).
They create painting, graphic works and drawings. The name of the group is associated
with an idea that "in the presence of existence a creator is always alone".
According to the art historian A. Dapkutė, member of the group, "the activities
of the group are based on personal contacts and close collaboration", therefore,
guests are also welcome to their exhibitions. The group is non-conceptual, its
members are artists holding rather different views and representing even opposite
artistic trends. What they have in common is the recognition of traditional
values and traditional visual arts. The scale of their creation - "from
absolute realism to absolute abstraction"(13). Their works
show a tendency towards minimalism and conceptualism. The group has arranged
six exhibitions, mainly in Vilnius and one in Moscow at the Embassy of the Republic
F-FC was established in the period between 1992-1994 in Vilnius. Its
members: Giedrius Kumetaitis, Mindaugas Ratavicius and Simonas Tarvydas. They
create installations and video installations. They engaged in artistic activities
still studying painting at the VAA. Participated in exhibitions as well as in
film and video festivals in Maastricht (The Netherlands), Glasgow (Great Britain),
Vilnius and Riga. In 1994 the group created the installation Transit, which
served as the basis for the diploma project of all the three artists. In 1994
the group changed its name to the Academic Training Group (Akademinio pasiruoimo
grupė). After graduation the group did not stop its activities, as G. Kumetaitis
states, due to a common creative atmosphere. The group is conceptual, does not
observe any defined provisions, is open to various trends, ideas, ways and means
of expression. Joint creation presents interest because "it makes possible
to keep distance between a creator and created work and to more objectively
estimate the work". The group works intensively, over ten projects have
been already realized in the exhibitions held in Vilnius, Malmö and Stockholm
(Sweden), Helsinki (Finland), Dessau (Germany) ant other countries.
Individualists (Individualistai) established themselves in Vilnius in
1993. Its members: Svajūnas Armonas, Rimas Biciūnas, Jonas Ceponis, Jonas Daniliauskas,
Jūratis Burktaitis, Virginija Kalinauskaitė, Aloyzas Stasiulevicius, Leonardas
Tuleikis, Vilija Kneiytė, Evaldas Malinauskas, Algimantas vaas, Aleksandras
Vozbinas, Juozas Vosylius, Stasys irgulis, Liudvikas Natalevicius and Romualdas
Lankauskas. The members of the group are from three Lithuanian cities: Vilnius
(15), Kaunas (1), Klaipėda (3) and iauliai (3). They represent different generations,
hold different artistic views but are bound by "friendship, school and
attempts to survive in complicated historical circumstances". The group
also pays attention to traditional forms of artistic expression - picture, print,
sculpture - and classical ethical values. "We make an attempt to revive
the importance of the artist's originality and exceptional character",
states the painter A. Stasiulevicius, one of the most active members of the
group. The program of Individualists is based on the ideas of the Section of
Individualists, which functioned in the 30's of the 20th century. It accentuates
the significance of the plastic world formed by the artist, but the program
does not essentially state anything new. "Art in the expression of individuality,
nationality and modernity", wrote Juozas Keliuotis in the exhibition catalogue
of the Section of Individualists in 1938. This creative credo is practically
repeated by today's individualists, pointing out the significance of the plastic
world formulated by the artist as one of the greatest postulates. It seems to
be strange that even fifty-five gone years have not left in the artists' consciousness
any sign of the urgent creative and aesthetic perception for new generations
and new times. The group has arranged several exhibitions in Vilnius and Kaunas.
Ė was established in Vilnius in 1994. Its members: Arvydas Baltrūnas,
Ricardas Bartkevicius, Marius Piekuras and Vidmantas Jusionis. The name of the
group - the authentic letter Ė of the Lithuanian alphabet, and according to
the members of the group, no such letter can be found in any other alphabet.
It took them long to find a visually vivid and polysemantic name. It is a paradox
but the associations provoked by the sound and interjection Ė in the Lithuanian
language are cardinally opposite to those noble themes and meanings which present
interest to the members of this group. A great role in the creation of the artists
of this group is played by religious themes, mostly - biblical tales. As a stimulus
for the formation of the group Ė (as well as for The Table) was the group exhibition
on religious subjects A Day has Twelve Hours? held in the Lithuanian Palace
of Artists in 1991. The group has been associating its creation with a certain
implication of Catholic ideology for two years now. Said implication means not
only engagement for sacral art but rather an affiliation to the Catholic cultural
tradition. From here arises attention to eternal truths and the origin of the
good. The members of the group are like-minded artists; the same school and
a similar understanding of painting bind them. It implies a priority to color,
attention to form and a subject as a point of support. All of them are as yet
faithful to oil painting on the plane and the traditions of the group ARS of
the Lithuanian school of painting. Different from other groups, the members
of Ė do not hide their common economical and organizational interests. The group
Ė has arranged six exhibitions in Kaunas, Vilnius and Kristianstad.
Experimental Guild of Artists (EMC - Eksperimentinis menininkų cechas)
was established in Vilnius in 1995. Its members: Saulius Ercmonas, Aleksandras
Gucenka, Dalia ebenkienė, Rimvydas ebenka, Rasa Ercmonienė, Rimvydas Markeliūnas,
Algimantas Maceina, Nijolė Vadopalaitė, Algirdas Galinskas and others (40 artists
all in all). EMC bears the features of a creative organization and a firm. Among
the members of the group - stained glass artists, wall painters, graphic artists,
sculptors, musicians and a film director. Their artistic task - to synthesize
art belonging to various spheres and to fill "form with spirituality".
The core of the group also performs the functions of art managers as the group
strives not only to realize its creative potential but also has its own commercial
interests. In 1995, it participated in the industrial fair Construction and
Repairs '95 in Vilnius.
Some more groups can be enumerated here. One or another piece of news about
them appeared in Lithuanian press. Unfortunately, only their names and incomplete
lists of members can be mentioned, because in many cases there is no exact information
and it is impossible to say whether their existence lasted longer than the duration
of the group exhibition.
Doooooris was established in Klaipėda in 1990. Its members: Raimundas
Urbonas, Remigijus Treigys and others. Without Shoes (Be batų) was formed
in 1992 by the graduates of the Kaunas Institute of Art and the Vilnius Academy
of Arts; Narutis was established in Kėdainiai in 1993; its members Vytautas
Vanagas, Viaceslavas Evdokimovas-Karmalita, Vytautas Lionginas Galinis (1942-1985);
Gesture (Mostas) was established in Palanga in 1993; its members Arvydas
apoka, Saulius Pakalnikis, Juozas Mekys, Raimondas Dauka, Vytautas Kusas,
Romas Paulikas, Juozas Gruiys, Edvardas iba; 3x was established in
Druskininkai; its members - Adalbertas Nedzelskis and others. Aqua was
established in 1993; its members Vija Tarabildienė, Juozas Gelgudas, Saulė Urbanaviciūtė,
Bronius Bernotaitis, Osvaldas Jablonskis, Eduardas Urbanavicius and Loreta Pladienė;
The Table (Stalas) was established in Vilnius in 1994; its members Kęstutis
Vasiliūnas, Vytas Narbutas, Jonas Vaitekūnas and Gediminas Piekuras.
The process of the formation of groups at the late 80s was rather spontaneous.
The artists formed groups according to age, place of residence, creative interests,
favorite art techniques, practical reasons and group creations. However, the
main reasons for grouping are practical (it is easier to survive and arrange
exhibitions), but the main precondition - friendly relations and the same school.
It should be mentioned that the emergence of a new group in many respects did
not mean any turning in the development of art. Therefore, no wonder why theoretical
conventions deserved any concern. POST ARS announced the principal
provisions of creation and new aesthetic positions in its manifesto. The group
24 declares its ethical position, where as the rest limit themselves by generalized
phrases about a similar understanding of art and faithfulness to the national
school. The absence of artistic orientations (first of all for themselves) practically
makes the groups as friendly circles of familiar artists. It is hard, indeed,
to say in what respect, for example, Individualists differ from the Group 1
and The Snake from the 24. Qualitative scales of art, undoubtedly, would work
without the sign of belonging to a group... Thus, in this respect Lithuanian
groups (except POST ARS, The Green Leaf, The Good Evils and Academic Training
Group) are anachronisms distorting the widespread concept of the group in the
history of art as a gathering of the friends of idea.
The review of the majority of the existing groups or those, which had existed
some time ago, makes possible to single out two types of groups. The groups
of the first type are bound by broad cultural and social aims and the group
of its members is perceived as a special form of collaboration. These are such
groups as 24, The Snake, The Four, The Lost Generation, 1, Individualists, Ė
and other small groups. The groups of the second type have their definite aesthetic
programs and clear artistic aims, which are consistently being declared. They
are: The Green Leaf, POST ARS, Sel, . V, Academic Training Group, Good Evils
and The New Communication School. The groups of the first type have a stricter
organizational system, their by-laws, the fixed number of members and they more
actively arrange exhibitions. The artists of the second group are bound purely
by the idea of creation and in most cases they do not pay any attention (except
the NCS) to organizational formalities. They communicate with their colleagues
in a more open and spontaneous way, invite them to participate in actions and
exhibitions and easily separate facing the absence of common creative stimuli.
They are concerned not about periodical presentation, but the criteria of the
inner necessity concerning the very venture. The groups of such type may have
better prospects, because they are rather creative units than organizational
Thus, common ideas and a theoretical platform can rally individualities into
a certain creative group. No such group existed in the prewar Lithuanian art.
Even ARS in its Manifesto did not clearly formulate its artistic views, and
the section devoted to artistic principles, which could be directed towards
the future, was greatly vague. Anyway, ARS and the writers and poets Keturvėjininkai
introduced problematics of Modernism into Lithuanian art. With the establishment
of the groups POST ARS, The Green Leaf, 24 and particularly of The Good Evils
at the end of the 80's of the 20th century, the views on the future roads of
Lithuanian art dispersed into two hardly adjustable extremes. Beyond any doubt,
it gave new valuable impulses to the development of art in the current period.
Similarly to Keturvėjininkai and Kazys Binkis who in their lectures on new art
as early as the 20's of the 20th century criticized the art of "the painters
who drew peeled and unpeeled potatoes", Prof. Kaestutis Zapkus declared
to his students at the VAA (he lectured at the Academy for half a year) that
"provincialism is not an aesthetic category. Painting must be renewed and
enriched with modern thinking, information, concepts and forms".
Due to the active work of the mentioned groups international conceptual art,
which was progressing in Lithuania rather slowly, at last found favorable conditions
for its flourish. Beside other trends, art also approached a Post-Modernist
In the end - a futuristic prognosis. With the changes of conditions for the
better, say, with the formation of the normal system of the guidance and management
of art, the majority of the present groups will become redundant and a membership
in them will lose its urgency. In the near decade, some two or three groups
of the second type might survive, provided they manage to attract and keep the
(1) The data on interwar organizations are taken from the book:
Kunciuvienė E., Umbrasas J. Organizations of Lithuanian Artists. 1900-1940.
(2) ARS. Kaunas, 1932, pg. 5-6.
(3) Umbrasas J., Kunciuvienė E. Organizations of Lithuanian Artists. 1900-1940.
Vilnius, 1980, pg. 173.
(4) Op. cit., pg. 177.
(5) Lubytė E. Galleries. The Emergence of Art Market and its Problems // Literatūra
ir menas, June 15, 1996.
(6) Kuncius H. Rituals of the Green Leaf // Krantai, March, 1991.
(7) Group 24 // iaurės Atėnai, February 2, 1990, pg. 4.
(8) Antinis R. A Stallion and Rider // Santara, Summer, 1996, N 26, pg. 30.
(9) The name The Moth also appeared in the press, therefore, it is
reasonable to explain its origin.
(10) Pibilskis L. Exile of the Lost Generation / Literatūra ir menas, November
(11) The three latter artists participated only in some group exhibitions and
do not belong to the core of the group.
(12) The three latter artists left the group in 1992.
(13) Responses to the Opening Day / Literatūra ir menas, November 7, 1992.
Translation by Laimutė Zabulienė
Translated from Rasa Andriuytė. Dailės grupuotės - organizacinio
meno gyvenimo naujovė /Lietuvos dailės kaita 1990-1996: institucinis aspektas/
(Changes in Lithuanian Art 1990-1996: Institutional Aspect, AICA Section Lithuanie,
Received on 2003-02-20