Deep Rivers Run Quiet: Japanese and Lithuanian Contemporary Textile Exhibition

Mykolas Žilinskas Art Gallery
Nabuko Hiroi. Traces, 2013.

The exhibition presents contemporary textiles of ten artists from Japan and Lithuania. This exhibition is part of an international textile art project, which began in Japan this spring. The creative work of Vilnius Academy of Arts (Kaunas Faculty) lecturers Prof. Laima Oržekauskienė-Ore, Assoc. Prof. Lina Jonikė and Assoc. Prof. Monika Žaltauskaitė-Grašienė was exhibited at the prestigious art gallery „GalleryGalery“ in Kyoto. Two young artists from Lithuania – Giedrė Antanavičienė and Greta Kardi-Kardišiūtė – will join the famous international artists at M. Žilinskas Art Gallery. Japan’s textile in Kaunas is represented by Nobuko Hiroi, Suzumi Noda (Professors of Kyoto University of Arts), Haruko Honma (Professor of Kinran University), Yoshiko Tanabe (Professor of Seian University) and Megumi Kishida. 

The title of the exhibition is combined of a Japanese proverb, which is quite clear and understandable in Lithuania. The equivalents of this proverb can also be found in Lithuanian folklore: “Wisdom walks dressed up in mantel”; “A wise man speaks little”; “The one, who is not the strongest, must be the wisest”, etc. Both Japanese and Lithuanian proverbs show respect for traditions, humanistic ethics, and pleasant standards of human behavior.

Megumi Kishida. Smiling Glasses. 2018.

Lithuanian and Japanese contemporary textile is an amazingly close art world. The artists of both countries dive into deep philosophical reflections, while their works require calm observation and longer reflection. The common artistic thinking and parallels of handling with materials are observed in the works of Japanese and Lithuanian artists. An important role is also given to the knowledge about the ancient textile traditions, and their creative use. A similar relationship between contemporary artists, the cultural and ethical values of the past, are the signs of respect for history and memory – a meaningful reference to past cultures, as well as the use of old fabrics and painting techniques.

In the times of globalization, the world is affected by similar trends. One of it is the use of computer technology and photography in the creative work. The photography replaces drawing and sketching, often weaved with computer-aided machine tools. However, the interest in the latest technology still does not exclude artsits‘ ability to convey the individuality and the identity of their nation in their works. The exhibition reveals the aspects of the inner proximity of two geographically distant cultures.   

Haruko Honma, Mathuri-Pazruka59, 2019.

Lithuanian and Japanese textile art is also linked by strong business and professional ties and a close understanding of contemporary textile based on deep traditions. In 1997, a young Lithuanian artist Lina Jonikė was awarded the Excellence Award at Japan’s V Kyoto International Textile Exhibition. It was the first high evaluation of Lithuanian contemporary textile art, and it was earned in Japan. Later, the cooperation with the famous Japanese art historian, textile researcher and exhibition curator Keiko Kawashima, representing the GalleryGallery of Kyoto City, began. A number of exhibitions of Lithuanian textile artists have been organized with her effort. Many times, Japanese artists have been invited as guests at Kaunas contemporary art biennials. Dr. Keiko Kawashima was a curator of Japanese textile collection at Kaunas Biennial (2005) Textile’05. A few years later in 2011, the famous Japanese artist Reiko Sudo and Hiroko Watanabe participated in the Kaunas Biennial. For Lithuanian audience, the exhibitions of Japanese artists have provided a great aesthetic satisfaction, the possibility to get acquainted with Japan through the art works.

Organizers: Kaunas Biennial, M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art

Curators: dr. Rasa Žukienė (Lithuania), Keiko Kawashima (Japan)

Architect: Saulius Valius (“Ekspobalta”)

Sponsored by: Lithuanian Council for Culture; The Japan Foundation

More information about artists from Japan: GALERYGALLERY/KICTAC