The Ancestors of the Forms

The exhibition of Tadas Gutauskas’ recent sculptures ”The Ancestors of the Forms“ is quite a strange event in Lithuanian art life.

It seems that it is about prehistory, about heritage, about something ancient and very old. At the same time, it speaks about our modern world, about our feelings, about our dreams and visions, about our future, about our desires, about our passions, love and death, so it is about everything – about past, present and future. From one side they seem very serious, speaking about the crucial problems of our existence, but from another side they are full of happiness, full of humour, criticism and fun. All aspects: religiousness, spiritualism and jest, create a vast atmosphere for their interpretation.

It is important that these sculptures have no electricity, no computers, no wires, no metal, no glass. But at the same time, they have a lot of modern forms which include rockets, cosmic ships, airplanes. Furthermore, they resemble forms of animals, and human beings – feminine, masculine forms. Some of these sculptures share similarities with Lithuanian folk art, its religious forms in graveyards and monuments in the cemeteries.

Another group of sculptures evokes links with world anthropological art: with some archaic African sculptures, Malaysian sculptures, American Indian, Indian art. In some examples we can see associations with Buddhist stupas, also with some columns and idols with human heads or human skulls, also we can find some aspects of shamanic art. We see here some allusions to the Goddess of the World, goddess of the ancient European civilisation. Also we can see links with some androgenic creatures like Shiva. Furthermore, we see examples of Twins mythology. Some of them are similar to Ancestors.

The sculptures seem like a very serious thing. However, their colours are very bright, very strong and quite synthetic, and they are similar to plastic – so their colours are modern, their colours are contemporary, and they are similar to Pop Art style. So here we can see that in this exposition Tadas Gutauskas uses very wide aspects of artistic language.

Phantasmagorical forms of Tadas Gutauskas’ creatures integrates progress and anti-modernisation, modernity and prehistory, mind and subconsciousness, religious exaltation and its parody, transcendence and life enjoyment.

Vytautas Tumėnas, PhD in humanities, art historian, ethnologist