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Victory Boogie Woogie

Gintaras Znamierowski2007

Modern Art Center / Modernaus Meno Centras

Modern Art Center / Modernaus Meno Centras

The artistic biography of Gintaras Znamierowski is rather different from that of other artists. He began studying stained glass art in 1988 at the Lithuanian Art Institute, but did not complete his studies. Since then, the artist has deliberately assumed the role of an artist on the margins, but his work is valued for its exceptional style and skill.
The foundation of Gintaras Znamierowski's 2007 painting Victory Boogie Woogie is an exact replica of the last work by the same name by Piet Mondrian. Mondrian, one of the founders of abstract art, created this painting over several years and art critics continue to debate whether the artist intentionally left the work unfinished or if its completion was interrupted by the painter's death. What does this painting mean for Znamierowski and why did he augment it with such humorous yellow tablets?
The asceticism and rigor of Mondrian's painting can also be seen in the works of Znamierowski: a thin and very even layer of paint, precise lines and, most importantly – no emotion! But here the influence of the reserved Dutch painter ends, since – aside from these formal considerations – text is also important in the work of Gintaras Znamierowski.
Literariness, that persistent enemy of the modernist, becomes material for conceptual art. The source of Znamierowski's work stems from the various imagery of contemporary culture presented, without emotion, as a frozen film frame. The artist wanted his works to have the least resemblance to painting as possible, even though he created them on canvas using oil paints. In this way, for years the artist irritated representatives of prevailing Lithuanian expressionist painting who conceived their work solely in terms of colourist and gestural creations.
Having consciously chosen the role of a nonconformist and avoiding almost all participation in official artistic circles, Znamierowski does not use his works to moralize or lecture. He observes and captures reality with an ironic eye. You may ask, though, why he painted the yellow tablets on his copy of Mondrian's piece? It is not that important whether these are drugs, narcotics or just vitamins. Just swallow a tablet and things will be happier, easier, safer – a clear attribute of a consumerist society. It appears as if Znamierowski is alluding to our similar approach in superficially and mechanically consuming art, a view seemingly supported by the fact that Mondrian only became known in the West after the designer Yves Saint Laurent created his "Mondrian dress", featuring elements of the painter's creations, twenty years after the artist's death. The story is not only a very real one, it is also sad and funny at the same time, much like Znamierowski's paintings.

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  • Title: Victory Boogie Woogie
  • Creator: Gintaras Znamierowski
  • Date: 2007
  • Location: Lithuania
  • Physical Dimensions: 120 x 120 cm
  • Medium: oil on canvas

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