REWIND HISTORY is a series of artworks that questions the understanding of textile as a genre of reproduction that has been formed in art history. The series was exhibited in Kaunas biennial exhibition Rewind History curated by Rasa Andriušytė-Žukienė. The curator highlighted the aspect of reproduction (which is inseparable from both the history of tapestry in Western Europe from the 17th century to the 20th century and Jacquard weaving technology) as the foundation of creative interpretations at the exhibition. She asked textile artists that are currently active what Lithuanian artists and works have had an impact on their creative decisions, or are simply remarkable or had become visual icons. She selected a collection from the works mentioned by the artists, which then became a subjective (textile) Lithuanian art history of the 20th and 21st century.
The artworks were shown in Kaunas Biennial in 2011, at Estonian Museums of Applied Art and Design, the Palace of the Dukes of Braganza (Portugal).
SOFIJA VEIVERYTĖ. Our Surgeons. 1974. Oil on canvas. 360 x 300 cm. Property of the Lithuanian Art Museum
Sofija Veiverytė (1926-2009) was a bright figure in Soviet art, whose best works have not been affected either by time or ideological change. In parallel with her wall painting that was hailed as Soviet work (perhaps as a price needed to be paid to the system), this energetic woman painting memorable portraits of the Lithuanian intelligentsia. Doctors, actors, musicians and scientists are not only heroic characters of their time in her canvases (the kind of depiction that was demanded of an artist by Soviet art doctrine), but individuals that are full of a unique inner freedom.
Sofija Veiverytė had a particularly vivid personal style. Her habit of large-format compositions of a few figures that were not centered, with light bodies that seemed to be “hovering”, and oblique eyes was admired some artists, but also raised numerous discussions. What is interesting is that her striking personal style did not level the inner uniqueness of those being portrayed, though most of the people she painted were rather similar on the surface, and appeared to be relatives.
“Our Surgeons” is a conceptual portrait of doctors, perhaps even more of an old-style historical painting where the people depicted are joined by an idea and common interests. We see famous Lithuanian cardiologists: Professor Algimantas Marcinkevičius in the front, a young doctor who is now a famous heart surgeon Vytautas Sirvydas farther away on the canvas. Ten different characters that are provided with an expressive language that is revealed not only in their faces, but in the movements of the figures. Art researcher Nijolė Tumėnienė writes that “Tension hovers in the painting – famous doctors look like they have found themselves on the battlefield for life”. (Tumėnienė N.(compiler).Sofija Veiverytė: Solving the Riddle of a Personality [katalogas] Vilnius: Lietuvos dailės muziejus, 2008, p. 8.).
Artwork prepared by Monika Žaltauskaitė-Grašienė. Woven at UAB AUDĖJAS.