J. Zikaras House-Museum

From 1 October visitors are welcome at the restored J. Zikaras‘ house-museum and the renewed exhibit.

J. Zikaras’ House (J. Zikaro St. 3, Kaunas) was made over to the disposal of M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art in 2001 by the will of the sculptor’s daughter Alytė. Before that time, she was a hostess of a semi-secret museum with the display of J. Zikaras‘ works. After her death, a memorial exhibit was arranged there.

The Zikaras family settled in a new wooden house in the neighbourhood of Kaunas Art School in 1932 and lived there a joyful life, though they could not escape from very dramatic events. The lecturer of Kaunas Art School, the first professional sculptor, had lived there only for 12 years – in 1944 the artist voluntarily withdrew from life to protect his family from persecution and exile.

Thanks to his daughter Alytė, not only the sculptor’s works, sketches, documents, letters, various objects but also vivid memories which she generously shared had been very carefully preserved. Her only wish was not to name the house “a museum” (a holy and silent area), instead, she wanted it to remain a home: alive, noisy, open. By means of video installations the new exhibit creates an engaging atmosphere: visitors can watch faces of those who gathered here to discuss, play chess and taste the hostess’s delicacies. On display – intimate letters in which children shared their love for their parents and parents‘ gentle lessons, Zikaras‘ letters that express his devotion to his wife, his muse, and sad moments when mourning two children who died unexpectedly in half a year. There is also a box with Zikarienė’s inscription “My greatest jewels”, in which the hanks of all children’s hair have been carefully preserved. Visitors will see in the workshop a skull which was found during the excavation of the foundations of the future house. It became the guardian of Zikaras‘ “masculine space” because his wife, who did not like the skull, never set her feet in her husband’s workshop.

In the father’s and sons’ room, visitors will find an unexpected object of World War I design – a piece of furniture that served as a bed at night and a desk to make homework during the day. On the father’s desk, there are unique curricula in which the tasks for students have been coded in drawings but not in words. The sounds of “Santa Lucia” can be heard in the quests‘ room – just the melody which the sculptor listened to with his friend painter Jonas Mackevičius while tasting the “Limoncella” and remembering the latter’s travels in Italy. Art, authentic interwar home environment, unique views of Kaunas, a lot of interesting details of the house, its interior, the life of inhabitants, sounds and smells create an atmosphere where time disappears.

Curators of the exhibition: Daina Kamarauskienė, Rasa Ruibienė
Architects: Saulius Valius, Rasa Butiškytė
Video and sound installations: Domantas Plechavičius, Aistė Valiūtė
Graphic design: Juozapas Švelnys
Restoration of the house: „Ekodora“

Please, register your visit by phone +370 684 84335