Aleksas Andriuškevičius

Aleksas Andriuškevičius


  • Painter, video and concept artist.

  • Born in 1959 in Panevėžys, Lithuania.

  • In 1983, Andriuškevičius graduated from Šiauliai Pedagogical Institute.

  • Since 1988 he has been teaching at Kaunas Faculty of Vilnius Academy of Arts. He lives in Kaunas.

  • Between 1989 and 2009 Andriuškevičius was an active member of the “Post Ars” group.

  • In 1993, he was awarded a scholarship at the 4th French and Baltic video art festival.

About the work

Aleksas Andriuškevičius belongs to the generation of avant-garde artists of the 1980s and the Sąjūdis period that fundamentally changed the landscape of Lithuania's fine art. He made his debut with a distinctive kind of photorealistic painting (City dwellers I and Modiste, both 1985, and Bodies, 1987). The genesis of his creative work has been influenced by his acquaintance with Česlovas Lukenskas, Robertas Antinis and Gintaras Zinkevičius, which encouraged him to turn to more experimental art, as well as to group actionist art (1989 to 1990 was the period when the “Post Ars” group was created and made their scandalous debut).

In his individual work, Andriuškevičius turned to performance and object-oriented art. The 1990 exhibition by the “Post Ars” group at Kaunas Artists' Association caused a scandal – it exhibited decaying heads of pigs by Lukenskas and Andriuškevičius' “sculptural object” made from loaves of bread nailed to the wall. There followed a wave of resentment arguing that Andriuškevičius was mocking the things that were sacred for the Lithuanians. One can argue that rather than mocking, Andriuškevičius was perhaps searching for alternatives to the conventions of the plastic language and obsolete content provided by the official and semi-official art of the time (e.g. “silent modernists”).

Indeed, Andriuškevičius' work has never been drastic or deliberately shocking; the artist was interested in rather different things. Central among them were actionist and performance elements, to some extent, minimalism of actionist and/or object-oriented art (his minimalism was meditative and reflective upon categories of culturally subjective psychological time), as well as questions concerning the relationship between nature and civilization as objects.

Also among them were interaction between and transformation of different fields of art and its mediums – not a superficial transformation, but a substantial one, done by operating internal structures of one or another type of art or medium (this also distinguished Andriuškevičius from the rest of the “Post Ars” group). He has always been interested in how the art of sound, text, motion and the like can be made to act according to the laws of visual art, or, more specifically, those of conceptualism.

Andriuškevičius has created a famous series of so-called musical scores in which staves (as space for graphically expressed music) are gradually transformed into drawings. These are not drawings in the traditional sense of the term, however, as Andriuškevičius manipulates and transforms the internal (and graphical) structure of the scores, thus changing its logic. These “deep” transformations are precisely the reason why the staves get deformed and their graphic shape gets changed.

The musical scores, having now mutated into an abstract geometric drawing or ornament, turn into a sound traveling through the rhythms of the drawing, its repetitions, pauses, differences and so on. In other words, Andriuškevičius turns the musical scores into a drawing that works along the principles characteristic to music. These are tactics of conceptualism.

Another component of Andriuškevičius' work is performativity mixed with the ideas of minimalism and meditation. For this purpose, the artist has also used coloured pencils and crayons, in other words, a form of drawing whose intent and function are made paradoxical. For instance, a piece of work lasting four minutes does not depict much, but what remains on a sheet of paper is a “document” of intention, situation and process. What is important here is that the artist was just scrubbing the pencil on the sheet of paper for four minutes and tried out every single pencil in the kit. Formally, it is a drawing, but its meaning is created by the underlying implication of the situation as well as its context (which may be unknown to the viewer).

Andriuškevičius has also applied this special sensitivity and ability to manipulate different mediums in an original way in video performances (as if embedding the principles of one medium in the other). Video cameras became popular in the early 1990s and although expensive in those days, they became a new identity for many artists looking for an alternative language of expression. In this respect, Andriuškevičius is exceptional because he has once again been able to use the inherent characteristics of video art to problematize the medium itself and to even to spiritualize it and make it paradoxical by applying principles that are specific to other fields of art and mediums (e.g. drawing).

Video performance Dividing the landscape, for instance, has Andriuškevičius imitate the principles of drawing. Against a static backdrop of Kaunas landscape (which also serves as a frame), the artist is seen moving slowly backwards from one side of the frame to the other as he is (un)wrapping a black fabric stripe that divides the frame in half. On the one hand, the artist is performing a piece of action art, a certain act in real time and space, but he is also implying a certain subtext or subversion of (medium-related) meanings, since the viewer will later see the record of this act on the plane of the screen and treat it as a painting, while the stripe that is being unwrapped will be perceived as a black line that crosses out, deletes and divides in half the landscape in the backdrop. Thus, the artist deliberately plays with the ambiguity that arises from combining the formal and semantic logic of two mediums, two means of expression.

In other cases, different mediums are rendered paradoxical more by the absurdity or meaning(lessness) of the action that is performed or filmed by the artist himself. The subject matter of video performance Poetry experiments is precisely the nonsense that is so frequently being told in different types of art and / or the problematics of their modus operandi. The artist attaches to the rope a volume of poetry by Eduardas Mieželaitis, repeatedly throws it into the river like a bait, then begins smashing what remains of it into the water until there is nothing left. Of course, he could have used just any object, but in this case the fact that it is a book is of great significance, while the title of the performance signals that the artist is deliberately and openly applying the logic of a certain type of art or medium (i.e. action art and performance) to another type of art or medium, and treats that medium (and its associated meanings) as an ordinary object, without even trying to comprehend the logic of that medium (say, literature or poetry).

Some of Andriuškevičius' video performances are of meditative nature in the sense that the artist interferes with the everyday life and the essence of an object only too minimally, as if asking to what extent (and if at all) that interference actually works and changes the object or phenomenon in question, and, of course, where the boundary of such minimalist action that distinguishes art and non-art lies. Let us say, the artist brushes his hand across the wall; or else, blows into a plastic cube full of water, creating ripples that soon come to a halt; or else, he sits down on a bench in the park, spends some time sat, lies down, even rubs against it, and goes away. How does this change the reality, the situation and the bench (if at all)? What remains after such action – a certain situation, a meaning or nothing at all? Or is it possible that perhaps the capturing of such meaningless action itself (as if framing it) creates the meaning and provokes philosophical questions?

In his later work, Andriuškevičius finds his individual way to navigate the motives of his object-oriented or action-related activities, often interchanging the structures of various means of expression and mediums, exploring the formal functioning of these mediums and mechanisms of production of meaning. Often, the artist challenges the relationship between social and cultural contexts; one of such cases is his project where pieces of shredded banknotes that had been withdrawn from circulation are used to produce semi-abstract landscapes.

It should be stressed here that such transformations of mediums and their metaphorical conversions from one to the other have never been only formal for Andriuškevičius – every such paradoxical act has always been a way to raise deeper, more fundamental questions.

Kęstutis Šapoka

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Aleksas Andriuškevičius - Menasnemenas;Artnotart;

Aleksas Andriuškevičius



Aleksas Andriuškevičius - Bandymai su poezija;Experiments with Poetry;

Aleksas Andriuškevičius

Experiments with Poetry


Aleksas Andriuškevičius - Bandymai įsiterpti;Attempts to Intervene;

Aleksas Andriuškevičius

Attempts to Intervene


Aleksas Andriuškevičius - Keturios minutės brūžinimo;Four Minutes of Drawing;

Aleksas Andriuškevičius

Four Minutes of Drawing


Aleksas Andriuškevičius - Mano kelionė;My Journey;

Aleksas Andriuškevičius

My Journey