When an art conversation turns to questions of sexuality more than often it discusses the pleasure of looking and the voyeuristic gaze of the artist or the viewer.
In Stream of Passion, the artists Aušra Kleizaitė and Gintarė Valevičiūtė Brazauskienė offer an invitation to explore the notion of sexuality in a more complex way (not just through a keyhole) encompassing divine and bodily matter, the concepts of life and death, the relationship between man and animal. The energy of dualities portraying the rhythm of life is very much present in the drawings and animations on show. The drawings depict supernatural beings – goat- men or Satyrs, half-man, half-goat in ancient Greek mythology – nature spirits, fertility deities, often portrayed as lustful creatures. Although Satyrs have a destructive and dangerous nature, in Stream of Passion these divine beings are presented as shy and timid. They remind us of in-love teenagers, who are preparing for the first physical encounter.
Stream of Passion is a moving exhibition that adapts to spaces and places. The idea germinated from a though of exploring questions around eroticism and its symbolisms.
The goat has a symbiotic relationship with fertility across all cultures through the various connotations and derivatives. The artist have collaborated through a series of drawings and film animation and created a common cultural thread leaving it open to viewers for absorption.
In Hinduism, Naigamesha is associated with Kartikeya, the god of war. Naigamesha is an epithet and a form of Kartikeya, where he is generally depicted goat-headed. Domesticated goats are descended from the pasang (Capra aegagrus), which is probably native to Asia, the earliest records being Persian.
The all-connecting component in Stream of Passion is breathing that can be viewed as a metaphor for the union of life and death, full and empty. In Egypt, Khnum. Khnum, also spelled Khnemu, the ancient Egyptian god of fertility, associated with water and with procreation. He was represented as a ram with horizontal twisting horns or as a man with a ram’s head. The quintessential term ‘sacrificial lamb’ is derived through the reference of these homely animals that have been used for multiple reasons from sustenance to religious symbols to fertility. ‘Goats’ are one of the most commonly found animals…their relevance to the human race starts from a ‘need’ that translates to multiple other symbolisms.
Each time you breathe in, your lungs are filled with oxygen. Each time you breathe out, your lungs are emptied. Nonetheless, the opposites of full and empty cannot be in opposition, but must rather create a regulating alternation. The flow from full to empty and back again symbolizes the flow of life. In Stream of Passion breathing is depicted by a line of bright lust colour that connects everything: drawings, animations and the exhibition space. With its uninterrupted thread it joins different energies of man and woman, human and divine. Finally, it tells a story: gasping, heaving, longing, lustful, yearning, passionate, rapid, pulsating, violent, panting and connected. It is a continuous process, an eternal and endless (love) story.”
Ausra and Gintare are very driven by the concept of Hinduism, they travel to Varanasi and Haridwar when they come to India to practice their yoga. The poignant scene at the ghats where life and death co-exist drives them to question cultural connections deeper than themselves.
Artists usually just need a trigger to start thinking and then the practice becomes about exploring that idea from multiple view points and connections. What they keep arriving back to is that what are those common threads that connect humans to one another…this search is not dissimilar to many seekers, thinkers. and philosophers.
About the Artists
Born in Kaunas, Lithuania, in 1972, Aušra Kleizaitė is a contemporary visual artist known for her expressive works on paper and conceptual textile. Kleizaitė’s body of work reflects her interest in human condition and various aspects of human life: soul, spirit, and social interactions. Trained as a printmaker and a textile artist, she creates multi-layered drawings that explore nature, culture, relationships, emotions, and everyday life. In her creative process, Kleizaitė stays open to exploration and uses simple materials – paper, charcoal, and soft pastel – to tell complex stories. Her works embrace a full range of human experience: it can be full of stars, or full of demons.
The cornerstone of her artistic practice, Kleizaitė is also interested in drawing’s capabilities to express and reflect ideas and emotions as well as its ability to be transformed into three-dimentional objects that can be connected in installations.
The intersection of Western and Eastern cultures is the favorite subject of her research.
GINTARE VALEVICIUTE BRAZAUSKIENE
Gintarė Brazauskienė (Valevičiūtė) participates in the process of creation of various art projects as a creator of interdisciplinary art (cinema, video art, animation, installation, illustration, …).
Graduated from postgraduate art studies in art in Vilnius Academy of Arts, Gintarė continues her academic, artistic activities – she teaches in the Photography and Media Arts Department, presents artistic creations at exhibitions and film festivals. Films and video works directed by Gintarė have won awards at international film and media art festivals. The short documentary “God Created Everything but a Carpet”. was nominated for the Lithuanian Cinema Academy’s “Silver Crane” Award for Best Short Documentary Film.
Image Credit: Aušra Kleizaitė and Gintarė Valevičiūtė Brazauskienė
The views expressed are the author’s own.