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The XV International Ceramic Symposium Panevežys 2004
Article by Patrick Mateescu

Before talking about the XV Ceramic Symposium Panevežys 2004, I would like to present a short overview of the actual situation of the ceramics in Lithuania. Every year a group of selected artists from foreign countries and a few of the best ceramists from Lithuania's bigger cities such as Vilnius and Kaunas come to Panevežys. I don’t know of any other city in the world that might have such a long and fruitful experience in organizing symposiums as the Panevežys Civic Art Gallery and its energetic and dedicated curator, Jolanta Lebednykiene. In the last fifteen years the gallery has accumulated a huge and rich collection of ceramic works in a great variety of styles and techniques.

Lithuania is a small and poor country with a population of 3.5 million but very ambitious concerning the development of ceramics. Although there are no prominent achievements in their ceramic history, the Lithuanians are trying now to promote a new generation of excellent ceramic artists, working within this kind of cultural greenhouse, the symposiums. What is new and significant in ceramics all over the world it is brought home through these temporary contacts.

Besides the Panevežys Symposium, which is one of the most important, there are other international symposiums organized in factories and universities all around Lithuania. This kind of cultural greenhouse is not only very helpful to the Lithuanians but also to the foreign artists who become aware of new techniques from the low temperatures of earthenware to the high temperature of porcelain and stoneware.

Jousts Lebednykas Nerute Ciuksiene

Jousts Lebednykas

Nerute Ciuksiene
Chasing Sun Reflections III

Looking at the collection of the past fifteen years of ceramics produced under this kind of “greenhouse”, I found many ”deja-vue” objects, and almost an inflation of small-size, insignificant works and only handful of powerful outdoor monumental sculptures for the benefit of the vast public spaces. Each new symposium where prominent international artists work together with some of the best Lithuanian ceramic artists brings about a significant even spectacular improvement in the works presented to the final exhibition.

Eugenijus Cibinskas Egidijus Radvenskas

Eugenijus Cibinskas
Guess My Name II

Egidijus Radvenskas
Fossil II

Remarkable sculptures with strong Nordic baroque influence are the works of Jousts Lebednykas and Nerute Ciuksiene, whereas Eugenijus Cibinskas’s works are very sensitive and delicate. Organic or structuraly diverse and spectacular are the pieces made by Kostas Urbanavicius and by Egidijus Radvenskas, but the most impressive work of the Lithuanian team are, in my opinion, the compositions of Remedius Sederevicius, for his excellent technique, originality and power of expression.

Remedius Sederevicius Patrick Mateescu

Remedius Sederevicius
Composition Grand Prix No. 5

Patrick Mateescu
Hai Ku #6

Among the guest artists I would like to mention the sympathetic Norio Shibata for his exuberance in trying so many different experiments, unique combinations of ceramic and glass, and a most curious and fun mixing of wheat flour, yeast and powder of refractory clay. Toghrul Dadashov, the Azerbaijan-Austrian ceramist, the youngest of the participants, made very abstract small installations that I cannot say I was able to understand; Sanita Mickus from Latvia has an evident erotic expression in her work, Rimas VisGirda made many small expressive figurative sculptures that repeat his own successful work. Describing my own sculpture, Haiku #6, I consider it a different page of my three-dimensional ‘poetry’ installation.

Eugenijus Cibinskas Egidijus Radvenskas

Rimas VisGirda

Toghrul Dadashov

Having organized so many successful events, the Panevežys Symposium enjoys a good reputation. However, I would like to recommend to its organizers to avoid easy success and applauses from the professional specialists and sponsors, and to emphasize the creation of monumental outdoor sculptures and the promotion of new and original young artists.

Article courtesy of Patrick Mateescu. The Panevežys Symposium 2004 was organized by Jolanta Lebednykiene, director of the Panevežys Civic Art Gallery, Panevežys, Lithunaia, and held in June/July 2004.

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