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Concrete-sculpture symposium

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Date: Autumn 1984–Spring 1985

Participants: Ksenija Jaroševaitė (1953), Kęstutis Musteikis (1956), Naglis Nasvytis (1957), Mindaugas Navakas (1952), Vladas Urbanavičius (1951), Mindaugas Šnipas (1960) (sculptors), and Vytautas Jakubauskas (1954) (exposition designer).

Initiator: Mindaugas Navakas

Organizers: LSSR (Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic) Artists’ Union’s young sculptors section and the Construction Parts Factory

Location: Grounds of the Construction Parts Factory, between the Vilnius-Trakai highway and the railway.

Organized on the outskirts of Vilnius, the concrete-sculpture symposium was initiated by the young sculptor Mindaugas Navakas, who was concerned with sculpture’s relationship with the environment and sought to overcome the closed nature of its form. The young members of the sculptors section of the LSSR Artists’ Union and the architect Vytautas Jakubauskas supported his initiative. Cheap industrial material—concrete—was used to create the sculptures. The artists built the sculptures in situ, taking into account the specifics of the place—the brutal industrial environment—which they saw as an advantage and a challenge for their work. Navakas’s innovative approach later influenced the formation of the notion of the “expanded field of sculpture” in Lithuania.

 


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Only a Broom – performance by Maria Pinińska-Bereś

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Date: December 1984

Participant: Maria Pinińska-Bereś

Organizer: Labirynt Gallery

Location: Labirynt Gallery, Lublin

The performance took place during the exhibition “Intellectual Tendency in Polish Art after the Second World War” and it was one of Pinińska’s first gallery appearances after the martial law was lifted in Poland, during which she refused for political reasons to participate in any art shows organized by official institutions. The first time in her artistic career dressed only in black, without any of the pink attributes so characteristic of her art, she entered the gallery space and, in the midst of the crowd, started to sweep the floor with a broom with a long handle—that was also a flag mast with the little grey linen flag at its end. As the broom cleaned the space under the feet of the audience, the flag made the air above everyone’s heads vibrate. After a long while, when the action was over, the artist hung the broom on the wall, making the inscription on the flag fully visible (“Only a Broom”) and left the gallery. Using the popular feminist-art motif of bustling around, and the figure of a witch, in an ironic and characteristic way, Pinińska-Bereś made a comment on the political situation in the Polish art world of those times and in a symbolic way removed a spell that hung over art practice and the art space—she was a supporter of the thesis of the supremacy of the aesthetic over the political in art.


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