Graphic artist Mikalojus Povilas Vilutis gives his paintings names after he has finished creating them. First, the artist conceives of an image, then he creates it and, finally, he finds a name for it. It would be difficult to imagine any name for these trio of prints other than Aggression. Threatening black and red color contrasts, solid, almost chiseled, shapes that are sometimes punctured by sharp lines. We can recognize human figures but they lack sexual identity, appearing like a body mass created of emotions.
All three paintings are given the same name, but they each speak of a different form of aggression.
• The first figure (Aggression I) is focused on itself like a menacing mountain. The lines spinning around it resemble annoying, angry thoughts. Infested with these, we can feel a loneliness which, when mixed with anger, very often ignites aggression. In the first painting the threat is only building, like a dark storm cloud.
• The second painting (Aggression II) is different. Lines erratically scattered across a black background surround the head of a screaming figure. Looking at this painting, it is impossible not to recall a turbulent argument, or the faces of screaming people who are no longer able to hear anything else. Aggression flung in all directions is powerful and uncontrollable. But it is also, we notice, a bit funny. In his writings, Vilutis doesn't avoid ironic observations about himself or his surroundings; sometimes this attribute is evidenced in his prints as well.
• The third piece in the series, Aggression III, resonates with yet another emotion. The figure within it is the least reminiscent of a human figure. In the complex shape we can recognize only the profile of a screaming face and a pair of raised hands. We can feel pain, or even suffering. It is an aggressive suffering, born of and fed by aggression. The pain is further highlighted by the harsh red line that pierces the body from the left.
The Aggression series as a reflection of life
The circumstances surrounding the appearance of the Aggression cycle are openly described by the author himself: "Then I had a period of heavy drinking. Bleak, unhappy, monotonous. 1979 to 1988 were dark years of hopeless insights. All of that infuses and is transmitted by my work. Unhappy little paintings, but not empty ones. A lot of pain in all of them." At this point in his creative career, Vilutis was already known to the art world and was recognized by society. The centric composition of the Aggression series, its simplified forms and concise palette of limited colors, is similar to his early works. At thirty-five, the artist remains enamored of the work of Pablo Picasso and his effort to simplify and transform an image is evident, while at the same time he distinctively highlights the essential features of the depicted object.