MO Museum / This is a Yearbook of the Cool Kids

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There is a slight chance you haven’t heard about MO Museum – standing all bright, open and ready to change the pulse of Vilnius. And I am pretty jealous if you actually haven’t – it’s like finding out about that TV show everybody has seen (and waiting for the next season is a torture) but you. This season offers a high school drama with two hundred art pieces now hanging-standing-sounding loudly and proudly in the very first exhibition of this precious newborn in town. Two hundred is quite a gang – a bunch of ready to face the brave new world freshmen of Lithuanian modern and contemporary art. 

by RINGAILE PAPARTYTE

Yearbook – a book published every year by a school, that gives information about the events and achievements of the previous year, and has pictures of the students. From the Cambridge English Dictionary.

In a time of history, any Yearbook has been so mind-blowing and the achievements of the generation been so extra.

So let’s sit with some of the cool kids from MO Yearbook, talk art.

Egle Gineityte 

When there is a school fight going on between the classes A and C this peacemaker comes in. While sitting in some silent corner of the school stadium and daydreaming about hitchhiking in Greenland, she also knows when to show up for a damage control. Abstract landscapes and faceless heroes from the paintings by Egle Gineityte covers you up in the colourful serenity – so light and intimate it seems that you can almost feel the temperature and the smell of these blurry worlds.

Eglė Gineitytė, Some Kind of Fairytale, 2011


Rimvidas Jankauskas-Kampas (1957–1993)

Remember this classmate being barely controlled by the family, school or any system in general. Truly open-minded and free. The tall mysterious guy who all the girls in the class have a crush on. Well, at least I have had for a few years now. Living and creating all by himself in this huge synagogue in Soviet-time Kaunas, Rimvidas Jankauskas-Kampas brought paintings so rare to Lithuanian modern art scene to life. The brightest colours and vigorous brushstrokes filled canvases with sadness, striking energy and the fatal sense of the upcoming tragedy of this expressionist. 

Rimvidas Jankauskas-Kampas, Synagogue, 1992

Jonas Jurcikas

You could easily mix him up with the guys spending most of their school time in the canteen or that promising candy shop at the end of the street. Actually, more than sugar he loves movies. And ads are also helping to put our consumer-minded enthusiasm into one box. Sugarcoated images in the paintings of Jonas Jurcikas flirt and seduce us by playing strange charades. If your guess is correct, fluorescent colours, cinematographic images and pop art glamour fade away – only the uncertainty of the present, damaged Soviet memory and the fear of future are left.

Jonas Jurcikas, Déjà vu, 2016

Jonas Jurcikas, Déjà vu, 2016

Patricija Jurksaityte

The girl who probably has just deleted her FB account or maybe never even had one. For ideological reasons. The loner of the class who always finds herself somewhere far away from the school noise working hard on this new history project. Inspired by the old Renaissance and eighteen-century masters, Patricija Jurksaityte creates the new appropriated stories. Leaving interiors of the famous paintings clean and free of all the characters, the artist allows us to hear the authenticity when leaving the room.

Patricija Jurkšaitytė, From the series Dutch Stories, 2013


Elvyra Kairiukstyte (1950–2006)

Definitely the best athlete in the class. This lady can endure longer than the whole soccer team together, run two marathons in a row and also give you a little lecture on feminism afterwards. 15 years of creative obsession had inspired Elvyra Kairiukstyte to make 15k (!!) art pieces – all full of fierce outlines, capturing some disturbing women-men-animal kind of creatures living on paper and somewhere in the heart of one of the most notorious graphic artists in Lithuania. And a real weirdo as well.

Elvyra Kairiūkštytė, Untilted

Leonas Linas Katinas

When a Christmas musical or any other school gig is being organized, we have a real warrior here. The guy who is always on fire and ready to surprise the crowd with a new creative hit, a joke or a lively performance. But he loves all the spring-summer breaks as well. Then you can find Leonas Linas Katinas, the abstractionist of Lithuanian modern art scene, somewhere in the magical island of Rusne, creating this seven-part series, celebrating nature and giving the spectator a new taste of life not only in colours but in real blossoms too.

Leonas Linas Katinas, Seven Days in Rusnė or the Blooming of the Dandelions, 1971

Leonas Linas Katinas, Seven Days in Rusnė or the Blooming of the Dandelions, 1971

Andrius Kviliunas

If there was a competition for the best lunch box or the shirt that is whiter than it was before buying it, this guy would get the gold. Because he is a mom’s boy and the bleacher his mother uses really makes miracles. Andrius Kviliunas really knows how to capture and reimagine Oedipus Complex in his videos made in a small Soviet-kind apartment in Panevezys. This humour loving adult child has dedicated all of these movies to his mom – one of the two characters you can meet on the screen.

Remigijus Pacesa (1955–2015)

A kid from the block. The one who could tell you about his hood more than any virtual or real guide does. The one capturing each detail on his way back home from school in small shots, creating his own symbol language he probably knows better than the one they teach you at school. Remigijus Pacesa was a real fan of light, randomness and silent sarcasm that filled his camera with irrelevant details creating some intriguing stories about the situations behind them.

Remigijus Pačėsa, I'm Home, 1982

Egle Ridikaite

You would probably find fewer notes about gravitation in her Physics notebook than different tags and sketches in the margins of it. It is possible she visited the office of the principle more than twice this semester because of all the graffiti they found on the front doors of the school. Egle Ridikaite is a punk master of aerosol spray and recreating home surroundings her own way. Huge canvases capture some routine we all walk and live on and the artist loves to bring it from the ground to your eyesight.

Eglė Ridikaitė, Žiedų 50. From a four-part series, 2000

Svajone and Paulius Stanikas

Time for school sweethearts, the ones who are always together and always in love. The queen and the king of the prom. So often showing the best results in everything – Maths, baseball and cheerleading. But both full of intriguing twists too. Svajone and Paulius Stanikas – the artist couple living and creating together. By using different media and mixing „high“ and „low“ culture, they feed their audience with the wholesome artistic meals, rich in sexuality, violence and death narratives sunken in the findings of history and myths.

Svajonė and Paulius Stanikas, The Secret of Secrets, 1996

Big applause, fireworks and love to the whole museum team for making MO happen! 

And special thanks to my dears - Migle Survilaite, MO Program Coordinator, for revealing the best insights about these Yearbook Heroes, and Ieva Staseviciute, MO Collection Manager, for helping me to share this beauty with you. 

The Yearbook is inspired by the exhibition “All Art Is About Us”. Curator: Raminta Jurenaite.

All the visuals are from MO Museum Archive.