Embroidery in synthetic band on plastic superimposed on photograph
Lina Jonikė uses embroidery – one of the oldest techniques of textile decoration – to apply a lyrical, secretive and intriguing pattern to large format photography, and, thus, “silently” offers the viewer clues to a number of potential stories and interpretations. By choosing to portray (or dress up in embroidery) a naked body, the artist compares it to a blank canvas, on which, through the application of stitching, rather than painting, she creates a destiny for an imaginary human being. The textile technique and the textile itself semantically form a parallel to the expression of individuality. A thread in Jonikė’s hands is more than a tool for creation. It serves as a century-old opportunity to reveal both national and cultural identity (determined by family relationships and social-political processes). The artist often employs subconscious codes from the Lithuanian mindset that are inseparable from religion, intermingled with a mythical heritage and mysticism (interpretations of the motives of the Pensive Christ, Virgin Mary and little mermaids). But Jonikė is also not afraid to transform metaphors and attribute to them new meaning. For example, in her work using three colours (a reference to the Lithuanian flag), named “LIE-TU-VA” (Lithuania), she does exactly that by portraying the country’s idyll through the concept of a family.
Jonikė portrays the topic of motherland, which is a reflection of oneself as a part of the nation, (in a technical sense) in a number of her works. Even though the artist combines stitching with photography in all her work, some of her works, however, are embroidered on canvas, and still others create only the illusion of traditional needlework. One particularly intriguing decision by the artist is the creation of a garment (cloak, towel, loin cloth, drapery) to cover a naked body on a transparent plastic panel, thereby further removing it from photography. By employing such a principle in works such as “Pensive Christ” (2001-2002), which shows Christ seated in a melancholic mood, an image peculiar to Lithuanian folk sculpture, or “LIE-TU-VA” (2005), the artist creates an element of intrigue by offering opportunities for the multi-layered interpretation of the works and presupposing the idea of “undressing” the hero.
Jonikė’s work is particularly feminine. By choosing feminine topics and perspectives, as well as an ancient technique (embroidering), the artist is able to speak about the archetypal experience of contemporary women, and focuses not on feminist or cultural frustration (as, for example, is the case in the embroidered works by Ahmer), but on the search for an inner peace that is only possible through realising ones identity.
Art critic Virginija Vitkienė
Translated by Michael Haagensen
Fragment from the article „Art as a Manifestation of Being“ in Cloth & Culture NOW. Ed. By Lesley Millar. University College for the Creative Arts. London: Direct Design, 2007.
LINA JONIKĖ. 1969 / LITHUANIA Education: 1989-1995 – Kaunas Art Faculty of Vilnius Art Academy. Textile Department. 1988-1990 – Private A. Aleksandravičius studio of anatomy painting. 1987 – J. Naujalis Secondary School. Print Design.
Current position: Independent artists from 1993. Since 2000 – lector at Kaunas Art Faculty of Vilnius Art Academy. Textile Department.
Solo exhibitions from 2000: 2013 “She likes tomatoes”, „GALLERYGALLERY EX“, Kyoto, Japan. 2012 “I Love LT”, Kaunas Photography Gallery, Kaunas, Lithuania. 2012 “She loves tomatoes”, Janina Monkutė-Marks museum, Kėdainiai, Lithuania. 2012 “She loves tomatoes”, “Artifex”, Vilnius, Lithuania. 2010 “Games”, Gallery “Artifex”, Vilnius, Lithuania. 2009 “Photography and Thread”, Giedrė’ Bartel Gallery, Berlin, Germany. 2006 “Lithuania’s Every Day Life”. Gallery “Sofa”. Druskininkai, Lithuania. 2006 “Lithuania’s Every Day Life”. Gallery of LAA “XX”. Panevėžys, Lithuania. 2003 “Textile and me”. Foreign art museum, Riga, Latvia. 2002 “Textile and me”. Kaunas Picture Gallery of National M. K. Čiurlionis Museum, Kaunas, Lithuania. 2001 “Lithuanian Country Star”. Gallery of Textile Guild. Kaunas, Lithuania.
Group exhibitions from 2000: 2013 “UNITEKSTAS“ Kaunas biennial, „Reverse trajectories”, Kaunas, Lithuania. 2013 “Color – Mood – Symbol”, galery „Balta”, Kaunas, Lithuania. 2010 “Contemporary art from LITHUANIA”, European Central Bank, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. 2008 “CLOTH&CULTURE NOW” Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, UK 2008 “Textile Kuntst aus Litauen” Female museum.Bona,Germany 2006 Lithuanian textile Exhibition at Embassy of LR in Poland. Warsaw, Poland. 2006 Lithuanian Textile Art Biennial “Route”. Vilnius, Lithuania. 2006 “Pins and Needles”. Textile art exhibition in Tallinn, Estonia. 2006 “Black Light”. Kaunas Castle. Lithuania. 2005 “Northern Fibre 6: (Wo)Man and technologies” workshop. Tuusula, Finland. 2005 “Marginal Divertissement”. House-Museum of Antanas Mončys. Palanga, Lithuania. 2005 5th international Kaunas Art Biennial TEXTILE 05. Kaunas, Lithuania. 2005 “Textile Body”. Dominik Rostworowski Gallery. Krakow, Poland. 2005 “New Lithuanian Textile”. Museum of Decorative and Applied Arts. Riga, Latvia. 2005 “Junge Textilkunst aus Litauen”. Gallery “Körnerpark”. Berlin, Germany. 2005 First Quadrennial of Contemporary Lithuanian Art. Gallery “Arka”. Vilnius, Lithuania. 2005 “Marginal divertissement” Antanas Mončys House-Museum. Palanga, Lithuania. 2004 Felt symposium (TEASE). Hyjum Iceland, Estonia. 2004 2nd International Textile Exhibition “Tradition and Innovation”. National Art Museum, Riga, Latvia. 2004 11th International Textile Triennial Lodz’04. Lodz, Poland. 2003 4th International Textile Biennial “Right and Wrong Sides”. Kaunas, Lithuania. 2001 3rd International Textile Biennial “Soft World”, Kaunas, Lithuania. 2001 1st International Textile Exhibition “Tradition and Innovation”. National Art Museum, Riga, Latvia. 2000 World Wide Mobile Exhibition “Women in the World”. “White columns” gallery, New York; Flint Art Institute, Michigan, USA; Brenau University, Alabama; Gaines villa, Georgia; Delta Axis, Memphis, Tennessee. 2000 Austrian-Lithuanian Textile Exhibition “(Ver)bindungen”. Berchtold villa. Salzburg, Austria. 2000 5th International Competition in Betonak. “Begijnhofkerk” Museum. Saint – Truiden, Belgium. 2000 “Kaunas Applied Art”. Kaunas Picture Gallery, Lithuania.
Curator of exhibitions: 2006 “Pins and Needles”. Textile art exhibition in Tallinn, Estonia. 2005 “Embroidery: Finland – Lithuania”. Graphics’ Gallery. Kaunas, Lithuania. 2003“Embroidery-A”.”Balta” Gallery. Kaunas, Lithuania
Awards and Grants: 2006 Second Prize at Lithuanian Textile Art Biennial “Route”. Vilnius, Lithuania. 2005 Excellence Award in the category “Place”. 5th international Kaunas Art Biennial TEXTILE 05. Kaunas, Lithuania 2004 – Best Foreign Artists Medal of Poland Artists’ Association. 11th International Textile Triennial Lodz’04 2002 First Prize in the competition “The Best Artwork of Kaunas 2002”. Kaunas Picture Gallery. Lithuania 2001 First Grade Diploma at 3rd International Textile Biennial “Soft World”, Kaunas, Lithuania. 2000 Diploma for Stile at exhibition “Kaunas Applied Art”. Kaunas Picture Gallery, Lithuania 1999 Diploma at International Textile Biennial “Line”. Kaunas, Lithuania. 1997 Excellence Award at 5th International Textile Competition. Kyoto, Japan. 1996 Copenhagen Art Week’s Prize. Exhibition “Art Genda 96”. Oksnehallen, Copenhagen, Denmark
Artworks in museums: National M.K.Čiurlionis art museum, Lithuania.