Pranas Griušys exhibition “City in Itself”

A. Žmuidzinavičius Creations and Collections Museum

In his personal exhibition “City in Itself”, painter Pranas Griušys observes and explores the city, by reconsidering its’ time and again. The object selected for painting analysis is specific and intimately close. All the works shown in the exhibition are related only to Kaunas City.

The city as a pulsating and altering structure brimming with spaces and people has been attracting the artist for a long time. The daily routine of Kaunas City, its past, personalities, random details observed while passing by – anything may become the motif of a picture. The painting narrative organically grows into a painted chronicle of the city. Then you experience something that is profoundly common in the works of the artist – a dose of sarcasm or ‘soft’ irony. The spectator is glancing at Kaunas City through the eyes of the painter. What is Pranas Griušys thinking at this moment, where does he focus his glance? What does he see?

His creative work has always abounded in references to humour and intrigue. In this particular exhibition, the artist remained faithful to the postmodernist trend of photorealism. However, quotes of the daily routine are transferred to works of art subtly, by avoiding the currently fashionable term ‘right here, right now’. The author is sourcing solid ground from situational categories possessing unique experiences. By creating mises en scène with a brush, the painter wakes up instances of sensual experience in his spectators – these are forgotten smells and tastes, or unexpected play of light and shadows… Are they trifles? The personal experiences of the author intertwine with the experiences of ours, residents of the same city.

Yet we should come back to the artist. What does this city mean to him? It is not his native space. Still, he has spent a sizable share of his personal life and professional career here. While riding a bike or taking a walk along his typical routes from the New Town to the Old Town or from the City Centre to Lower Šančiai, the painter sees the city from the philosophical point of view. When recollecting texts of his favourite philosophers Immanuel Kant and Arthur Schopenhauer, in the painting dimension, he first of all strives to determine for himself the concept of Kantian experience. Thus he gets immersed into the metaphysical and scientific cognition which is manifested by the thing-in-itself and the phenomenon as a Kantian concept. In the contemporary philosophy, the issue of experience persists as one of the key points. Painter Pranas Griušys represents the unity of the worlds of philosophy and visual arts. In his works, experience becomes a part of the process of understanding. If we are capable of relating the worlds of philosophy and visual arts which are both represented by the painter, we observe that, in his artwork, experience evolves into the process of understanding. Even if we discard various philosophical schools of thought, we still observe the pure attitude of the painter to the selected object. This is rather a phenomenological concept of experiencing physical things (objects), emotions and moral categories in a particular way.

Professor Pranas Griušys was born on May 23, 1955, in Klaipėda City, Lithuania. In 1982, he graduated from the National Institute of Arts in Vilnius, Lithuania and gained formal qualifications in painting. Since 1982, he has been working at Vilnius Academy of Arts, Faculty of Kaunas. He has been lecturing drawing, painting and composition. Since 1988, he has been a member of the Lithuanian Artists’ Association. Since 1982, he has been taking part in exhibitions nationally and abroad. His works have been purchased by M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art, Vytautas the Great War Museum, Lithuanian Art Museum, Tretyakov Gallery and art lovers residing in Lithuania and abroad.