“It’s not necessary to portray masks in painting to reveal relationships. I am interested in the situation itself – how physical (through a mask or self-isolation) closure from the public affects relationships with people and the environment around us. Looking at the present, I try to see the future. I’m not only interested in the mask, but what’s hiding beyond it. The word “beyond” itself, refers to a certain place (beyond a stone, beyond a mask), but also to a time (beyond quarantine, beyond the financial crisis). Now, more than ever, the relationship between space and time is important.”
For almost a decade, Jolanta Kyzikaitė has been developing the theme of games in her work, from the depiction of various children’s games to play in the form of painting itself.
By choosing and analyzing the game Hunt, in which participants are people in disguises and animals, players try tricks and imitate various animals, Jolanta touches on the theme of carnival, “fur” change, disguises, and masks in her early works. Dressing up, the embodiment of animals or other characters is one of the most popular childhood games, where the rules are only instinctive or invented over the course of the game, depending on whether you are an animal or a hunter.
In her paintings, Jolanta Kyzikaitė not only depicts the world of her fantasies or, more precisely, reality conveyed through the artist’s vision, but also skillfully engages the viewer, the visitor, who becomes an equal player, guided by intuition and creating the rules of the game.
Jolanta Kyzikaitė has repeatedly invited to play: in 2014, at the exhibition My Games – Art Games, offering viewers two ways to read paintings, in 2016 at the exhibition The Dice Paintings, she created works by throwing bone dice, which influenced the plot of the paintings, in 2018 at the exhibition at Trakai Vokė Manor, she invited viewers to a never-ending fabulous feast, where she was the princess, the main culprit and hunter of the festival, who extended the work Royal Hunting by shooting paint with a bow at the parrots depicted there. Now Jolanta Kyzikaitė invites you to the Masquerade at Vilnius City Hall, where you can also see the ongoing play of the painter-hunter with her works.
The ground floor hall displays drawings – a banquet snack before the start of the celebration, and on the second floor, the main masquerade dish is served – large-format paintings.
And as a SURPRISE all the visitors of the exhibition will be the participants of the feast because they will come prepared: registered and with masks, as befits a masquerade banquet. Although the quarantine mood is not the most positive one, Jolanta Kyzikaitė once again uses irony, gives meaning to place and time, and invites to play, participate in the party, get into the role. In the works, we will see forest, domestic, and exotic animals, as well as people and their various masks: joy, sadness, anger, fear. It seems that the artist easily allows each of us to try on animal emotions (masks). The paradox is that the visitors of the exhibition will come with masks to protect themselves from the virus, but it is obvious that in this exhibition the artist’s goal is to divert attention from reality and plug into the atmosphere of the party, where everything is also real and comes from reality. According to Jolanta Kyzikaitė, she is not liked by supporters of the sad image of the painter, because her suffering is left in the studio. Therefore, the exhibition and meeting with the visitor automatically put on another mask and invite to celebrate.
The masquerade begins!
Painter Jolanta Kyzikaitė has been actively involved in the art scene since 2003, and her work has been presented in ten solo exhibitions and more than 60 joint exhibitions in Lithuania and abroad. In 2010, Jolanta Kyzikaitė became the first-place winner of the Young Painter’s Prize competition, in 2018 she was awarded the degree of Doctor of Art. The artist actively participates in Artist in Residence programs. For ten years now, Meno Niša Gallery, which represents Jolanta Kyzikaitė’s work, has presented it at art fairs in Vienna, Budapest, Cologne, Moscow, Paris, Brussels, and Vilnius. Jolanta Kyzikaitė’s works have been acquired by the MO Museum, the Lewben Art Foundation, the Walter Bischoff Museum in Germany, and private collectors.
Jolanta Kyzikaitė’s graphic paintings are close to pop art stylistically, characters include animated characters, mystical, exotic animals, today’s heroes, or herself. Recently, however, the painter, by switching up and constructing situations, has been playing with the painting form itself. The painted flat image looks like a decorative carpet, and the ultra-modern, large-format works, like luxurious baroque tapestries, are especially suitable for the palace or town hall environment.
Jolanta Kyzikatė’s work cannot be confused with anyone else’s, her individual style formed early in her studies. Large format, graphic drawing, stylized human figures, masks. The artist works in cycles: analyzing each series of her paintings, it seems that she touches on the social, political issues of the time. But going back a decade, you see that these are simply human and eternal issues, important to the creator herself at the time, as well as to any person who is sensitive to the environment. Her works analyze topics such as emigration, violence, rituals, fear of rites, the nature of laughter, the status of an artist, or other not-so-pleasant topics. But bright colors, the decorative black line, theatrical details, mystified fabulous plots turn the paintings into a prop. i.e., a fake world; paintings, their stories seem to be masked, and understanding them depends on the viewer’s experience, for example, a child will see the works completely differently than an adult.
Art critic Sonata Baliuckaitė