March 24, 2023 / April 12, 2023

From the life of a tree

An exhibition of drawings by Lithuanian artist Algimantas Švėgžda (1941–1996), honorary professor of the Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts, is opening in Klaipėda's "Baroti" gallery. Without over-developing the biography of this well-known and famous creator, it should be noted that he belonged to an informal group of painters - "Ketverti" (with D. Dereškevičius, A. Kuras, A. Šaltenis), who broke the established patterns and canons of fine art in the 1970s. The artist is also known as one of the first representatives of photographic realism. In addition, A. Švėgžda's personality influenced more than one generation of artists - he worked as a teacher at the Vilnius Children's Art School (now the J. Vienožinskis Art School) and the State Art Institute (now the Vilnius Academy of Arts). Due to health problems since 1982 the creator lived in Berlin (and died there), without breaking off intense ties with the Motherland in the form of constant returns, constant cultural contacts. In A. Švėgžda's will, after his death, the entire creative legacy was left to Lithuanian museums, and a part was donated to his alma mater - the Academy. Therefore, the works exhibited in this exhibition are from the VDA museum collection.

It is no coincidence that the exhibition "From the life of a tree" is dedicated to drawing (and wood)... For A. Švėgžda, it (like pastels) was an important creative segment, equal to painting. It also worked as a technique, a way of seeing the world, a peculiarity of thinking. During the drawing sessions, the author not only observed and analyzed objects of visual reality (primarily natural, as well as artifacts related to personal and family experiences), but also built a relationship with the Beyond through them. More than once, the artist's work was called pantheistic. The epithet of transcendence also fits him. A. Švėgžda lived life in a leisurely and detailed manner, extremely carefully and accurately capturing seemingly simple works of Nature - a tree branch, horsetails, berries, an egg, chestnuts or an apple.

The title of the exhibition - "From the life of a tree" is based on the cycle of colored pencil drawings "Tree" created in 1990, reminding us that plants and humans are brothers and sisters, with their own growth, maturity, aging experiences. Other cycles are also exhibited - "Search for Wisdom" (1984), "Saxon Landscapes" (1989), "Autumn Meditations" (1994), triptych "Hazelnuts".