15 06 2021 – 17 07 2021
“Superfluitates” by Monika Radžiūnaitė at Pamėnkalnio Gallery is the second exhibition of the medieval series, in which the artist continues to combine the themes of cultural history, ancient legends and stories, literature, art history, iconography, and Christian tradition of the Middle Ages. The exhibition features works that focus on beauty, decor and splendor inspired by the images of that time – stained-glass, manuscripts, mosaics and medieval ornaments. Using authentic examples or their details, the artist combines them with the texts of medieval theologians and saints and transforms them into a contemporary pictorial form, revealing iconography-based narratives and sometimes didactic lessons that invite the audience to turn visible images into texts in their minds.
In the exhibition “Superfluitates”, Monika Radžiūnaitė discovers the Middle Ages as filled with bright colours and light penetrating through them. Her works are rich with ornamentation, which hides a semantic content – hyperlinks, visual rebuses; and the key to them lies not only in the dictionary of the Christian iconography, but also in the general knowledge and constant earthliness of man. The first part of the medieval series titled “Hyperlink” accentuated the importance of an abundance of text and references, which allowed filling and overflowing with information, discovering the potential of visual meanings and the ways of reading the image through a never-ending information chain, moving from one fact to another and thus freely creating one’s own values. In “Superfluitates”, the artist seeks to place this information in an emerald glow, bleeding red, luxurious lazurite-blue, a serpentine optical ornament, and to get to know it while admiring earthly beauty.
The works of the young artist Monika Radžiūnaitė are characterized by the interpretation of history, the actualization of elements of old paintings and the use of cultural references, as well as a developed plot. The artist’s creative strategy is based on ignorance, incomprehension or error as a conscious state of stupidity, which frees the artist from the need to know the true or historical meanings of images, the circumstances of their formation. Although Monika Radžiūnaitė carries out a detailed artistic study while painting, she relies on authentic examples of medieval visual culture and such medievalists as Johan Huizinga, Herman Pleij, Michel Pastoreau, Umberto Eco, and such saints and theologians as St. John of Damascus, St. Augustine, St. Thomas Aquinas, Hugh of Saint Victor and other contemporaries and researchers of the time, but without seeking omniscience, diluting the received information with various forms of humour (irony, sarcasm, satire), and claiming that she “gladly has no hope” to explore everything. Radžiūnaitė says about her work: “We cannot reconstruct the Middle Ages, we can only update the history with the help of what has survived and what researchers thought was important. But the very process of restoration can reveal what is important to us and what has remained eternal in the present.”