Vigintas Stankus



14 07 2022 – 04 08 2022

“Tribe” is a multifaceted word. It is the ability to be oneself in a community without rejecting the legacy of one’s ancestry, origins, culture, religious practices, language and experiences. Artists have the privilege of belonging to a social group, a lineage, a family, a profession, and at the same time of being independent of anything. Vigintas Stankus was no exception. As a respectful friend, a responsible companion, a caring family man, he had the ability to break away from the real world through the creative process.

He always prepared for the creative process in advance. He would meditate. He would shut himself away in the studio, where he would distance himself from his surroundings. But he was constantly pondering his circle, his “tribe”. This is how the encrypted Sanskrit inscriptions (meaning “mother”, “daughter”, etc.) appeared in his paintings, how his wife’s notes and scraps of his daughters’ drawings were used in his collages, and how his canvas absorbed the ashes from the family hearth (with which the artist experimented and painted the series “Ashen”).

Earth, stone, paper, sand, wood, linen, ash – these were the materials that Vigintas Stankus used to create his paintings, collages, totems and sculptures. Sacralising the moment of creation, the artist experimented with pure materials, thus giving his works a certain mystical, ritualistic, pagan spirit, thus getting closer to his origins, the earth.

The image of the earth was one of the key inspirations for Stankus’ artistic expression, indirectly inspiring his constant search for colour. Monochrome painting has been an important component of avant-garde visual art in the 20th and 21st centuries and has proved to be a durable idiom of contemporary art. Vigintas was particularly interested in this area of painting and produced many monochrome paintings and objects in his mature period. This exploration of a single colour, of surfaces and textures, gave the artist a particular discovery of meaning, light and emotion. His works (especially the “Ashen” series) exude a unique energy. Paradoxically, by conveying simplicity, serenity, solidity and purity in his monumental works, Stankus is able to create a highly dramatic and moving effect through monochrome painting.

Tribe is a leitmotif that dominates all stages of Vigintas Stankus’ work. Iconography, which has accompanied Stankus from his earliest years, has a history of motifs, traditions and continuities that seem to come from other worlds. The artist’s work was strongly influenced by his constant pursuit of personal growth: his attention to the environment, details and symbols, and his exploration of means of self-expression. It is also about respect for others, communion and devotion to family, the ability to listen to one’s own inner instincts and to hear the call of one’s ancestors. All these tribal ties are reflected in the artist’s works: paintings, collages, drawings, sculptures and totems.

With this exhibition, we want to honour the artist who would have turned 60 this year. After his premature passing, Vyga (as he was called by his friends and associates) left behind a valuable archive of his work. In the exhibition “Tribe”, we present, albeit on a small scale, the phase of V. Stankus’s work that most reflects his worldview.

Organiser: the family of Vigintas Stankus
Curator: Julija Dailidėnaitė Palmeirao
Partners: Pamėnkalnio Gallery, Lithuanian Artists’ Association

Portrait of Vigintas Stankus

Photos by Augustinas Žukovas. Find more here