interdisciplinary art programmes
May 5th, 1999

06: artist/relatives

tvvv.plotas_06: artist/relatives

TV project / discussion / videoconference
broadcasted by LTV / May 5, 1999 / 10.30. p.m. CET





It is a part of our history to keep  very strong family connections and close links with relatives in Lithuania. In Lithuanian the word istorija is a homonym – it refers not only to the academic field of history and its object, but also to the English word story or narrative in the broadest sense. The homonymic tension between istorija and story raises the issue of the extremely complicated relationship between individual freedom and historical necessity in Lithuanian-speaking society. On the other hand, it also encourages ironic hypotheses – that by telling the story of one’s life, one (inadvertently) recounts the nation’s recent history. By telling the story of his father, Lithuanian artist Deimantas Narkevicius creates a larger narrative structure of Lithuanian history. By using this method we approached Narkevicius himself and his relatives to tell the story of their trip to Manifesta2 in Luxembourg.  Darius Narkevicius, the artist’s brother, is telling a story about driving his artist-brother to Luxembourg, the importance of the exhibition, and the role he plays in his brothers cinematic work “History” which is part of the big show.
Two brothers J&J Vaitekunai are the sons of a prominent Lithuanian painter P.R.Vaitekunas. All their lives they have suffered from the weight of their fathers fame. In some cases it helps them open doors but they also wish to bring a light to those dark family liaisons. The brothers wish to reveal secret family stories and suggest a trip to favourite places of  their childhood, accompanied by the narratives of what it means to be raised in the artist family. The story they tell is full of unexpected signs leading to the darkness of the forest where illegal moonshine is made.
Algimantas Slapikas, the sculptor, is taking us on a trip of his memories, using an old home made 8 mm film left by his father to tell a story about the necessity of simple and basic, human and family relationships to his own work. Algimantas Slapikas takes us to his family house for a barbecue, where its possible to have a more intimate meeting with his relatives and get a deeper understanding of how important it is for the artist to have the protection of his family.

>Grandmother of the artist : He’s a good kid from the very childhood. He would cry a lot then. If you ask him not to cry, he starts crying even louder. So once I even slapped on his leg. And it was like a cure. He became silent and was the most the best silent kid. But we were very good friends. We used to go and dig some clay, and he brought and made a monkey, he put his hand in its mouth, such a small hand, that it disappeared in its mouth, such a soft clay it was. Some parts of the monkey remained. Then he would carry around bricks, when he was two years old. He would say, grandmother I need to build a house of my own. In general, he was able to do many things, and you could then understand that he would become an artist. And clay-heads still remain nowadays. Yes, and my and his great grandmother’s clay-head still remain. And he had some drawings from school. He finished Jablonskis high school, learned to speak fluent English and then he graduated from Art Academy, married, built a house of his own and he still lives there now.

Probably all artists have soul given from heaven. They are so decent, so noble, so kind.
You can trust the artists. They will give away anything to help others. In a nutshell  this family is a Lord’s gift. And he tends to take interest in greenhouses. No, no, he doesn’t, but he comes to help us. He has his own pond, he loves flowers, nature. He cares of nature. As all artists do. If something happens, he will always help us.

>Jonas Vaitekunas /artist/Vilnius : Well, as regards the very meaning of the kin and family. We have roughly counted members of the kin involved in art, which is about 30, which is a lot, but they don’t make the unity, because they are separated by time and space and they can’t somehow influence each other. There are musicians and other artists among them and there are even those who paint fake visas into their passports, but we don’t count these. So then a more exact term would be ‘family’. Family is more related. So what was the primary activity? Of course, Pazaislis, father’s landscapes, besides, contemporaries, artists would come to visit, who keep influencing creative activity up to this day in one or another way. The late Martinaitis would come,  Stankevicius, who else? Repsys, who drew little apples on the garden-table and the boat, Paliokas, who would play the violin. So this is was the essential source of influence. I used to see parents in this environment, surrounded by these people.

>Justas Vaitekunas /artist/Vilnius : It’s an interesting issue  WHEN the is artist?  For instance. – Of, WHEN is the artist? This is one of the questions of art philosophy.
On this issue, whether he IS or he is NOT and WHEN he is, we discussed yesterday.

… That somehow there is kin awareness in this art environment…

>Family’ friend : You know why I love artists? Because they are quiet, calm people. They don’t rush, don’t get nervous. You can’t say this about specialists of other fields.


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