Živilė Minkutė is an emerging artist, who is studying for a Masters in Graphic art at Vilnius Academy of Art, and has already held several solo exhibitions in Vilnius and Šiauliai. November 14th - December 31st, 2014 her exhibition "Connections" will be shown at the Kaunas Picture Gallery. As her exhibition was getting closer, we interviewed the artist to get to know her a little better.
You are currently living and studying in Vilnius. How would you describe the local art scene and the feeling of what it is like to be an emerging artist in this city?
Yes, the Academy at the moment is my home, because I am still studying there and this year I will complete an MA in graphic art. Vilnius is a colourful city and full of different cultures. There are enough of activities for anyone who is interested and looking for something to do, but the quality is yet another question. There are a lot of things around, so you need to dedicate time and enough attention to chose what’s right for you. I’m glad that I can already identify myself as a small part of this context, although it’s only these first serious steps I’m taking. I try to be actively involved where and how I can, because I believe in a chance of success. It would be naïve to think that things can happen if you’re sitting quietly in your studio. At the moment, I am excited to be on the list of quadrennial participants. It feels good, because there are ways to grow and develop and that is most important to me.
Which art themes are you interested in?
I don’t know, if there can be any themes that would be uninteresting to me. Of course, there can be such works, however if a work of art is sincere and mesmerizing, whatever the theme, it attracts your attention. Strictly speaking, I am quite egocentrical (I believe I’m not the only one) and, most of all, I like to read on issues that are closest to my creativity.
Then perhaps you can name which artists inspire or influence you and your work?
When speaking about artists, who inspire me I would have to mention Lithuanian artists, such as Žilvinas Kempinas and Stasys Eidrigevičius. Works by both artists are very distinct, but I find them equally powerful. Sometimes it seems that art is only a filter through which we are looking at the same world that the rest of the people are looking at. An artist is the creator of that filter. No one else has the same experiences as I do and this rule applies to any person. This is the key to my work. Therefore, the main themes in my works are relationships, emotions, ties, the survival of everyday and the creation of the veil that covers the everyday. So, here I come back to the works by Kempinas, whose art I would boldly name as experiential and not as a pantomime. It’s like a natural element that you can observe, merge with or disappear within it. You can also ignore it, but it’s not worth it. Although his pieces are more like interventions into our world rather than filters. Meanwhile, works by Eidrigevičius are closer to the creation of those filters. By observing his works you do not enter a different world, but the world around you becomes different.
You are studying graphic art. Would you want to be associated with this discipline or do you want to work in other mediums as well?
I admire, like and use graphics as the main vehicle for my creative expression, but I am also interested in other things and so I would not want to limit myself under the title of “graphic artist”, because I do not feel as such.
Which specific creative characteristics can you name in working with this medium? How does it influence your experiments in other art forms, for example in the installation “Connections” where you are searching for “spatial” graphic forms?
Graphics as a form of expression has many different stages. However, in all cases, the formation of an image starts on another surface and then only later ends up on paper. Therefore, there is a moment of transference of a mirror image. I think that subconsciously it has an affect on certain creative themes and forms I use and provides me with access to the artistic processes. For example, layering and overlapping are very important to me. I believe that it comes from the graphic medium, because I also often notice it in my colleagues’ works or concept descriptions. The installation “Connections” also acts as a layer that prevents you from accessing the graphic prints, dividing the space and blocking the initial encounter with the other works. We have a silhouette, which acts as a net stopping us and telling us to look at ourselves as if in a mirror before facing the abstraction of the “relationship”.
In the works entitled “Connections” there are clear reflections on temporality, recurring cycles and the present time. Even your choice in monotype technique, where only a single original print of the image is possible, emphasizes the importance of the passing moment. What experiences led you to such themes? Did you make any interesting discoveries in the process of creating the exhibition?
Last year I went through a number of personal changes in my life, which forced me to stop and think not about what awaits me in the future, but that, which surrounds me at the moment and that the present is the most important thing I’ve got. When growing up, I was constantly taught to think about the future, to have an aim, and I have noticed this amongst my friends too. It’s strange how people forget to live in the moment. All of these perceptions have come into my creative work as well. I’m going through a lot of temporality at the moment, but that’s not a bad thing. We are all transient and I don’t believe in eternal life. Before I was tormented by huge ambitions and fears, but now I feel better. Perhaps I’ll be right in saying that everything what I am speaking about and what I had to live through the works in this exhibition had to live through as well, because they are a part of the process and have lived through many, namely visual, metamorphoses until they became flickering abstract gray scale works of art. My focus is on the process, because any action that is done with a hundred percent satisfaction and belief cannot have a bad result.
What are you working on at the moment?
Recently, I started working on many small-scale projects and at the same time developing a new series of works, which grew out of the “Connections” series. The images should be slightly different, but in terms of content it should be a continuous piece. However, as I have mentioned earlier, my creative process is more experiential than executional and so everything can still change. The future has always been a problematic question for me, because I do not like to plan as I feel like I would be turning away from other opportunities. I believe that it is important to have an idea as though a goal that I am striving towards and everything else should fall into its place. The idea, of course, changes according to new experiences. This year I am closing my study period, at least for a while, and so inevitably I will have to make a lot of important decisions. However, at this moment I am concentrating on the present and the future will happen in the future.
Thank you for your time.