Artistic Alchemy: Exploring Color, Metacubism, and Creativity with Tomas Lagunavicius
Join us as we embark on a captivating conversation with Tomas Lagunavicius, a visionary artist who continually redefines the boundaries of artistic expression and thought.
In today's interview, we talk with multi-talented artist and thinker, Tomas Lagunavicius. Lagunavicius is not your typical contemporary artist; he is a self-described post-matric individual who seamlessly navigates the realms of culture and art with a unique perspective.
His path to visual art began through directing plays and designing sets, eventually leading him to an avenue of research and creation that now occupies a significant portion of his life. With an impressive portfolio that boasts over 37 solo exhibitions, participation in 56 biennials and exhibitions, the creation of 39 performances, and the authorship of 12 books in the field of arts, Tomas Lagunavicius is a force to be reckoned within the art world.
During the interview, we focused on two distinctive facets of Tomas's work. First, we will explore the interplay of colors on a white canvas – an expedition that delves deep into the nuances of color perception and its dynamic relationship with other hues, shapes, and forms. Lagunavicius is particularly intrigued by the synergy between stains and the other elements that constitute a painting.
In addition, we explore the realm of metacubist art - a bold endeavor to combine features from various artistic approaches, deeply rooted in the fundamental principles of cubism. Tomas consistently stretches the limits of creative expression by engaging with digital and traditional media such as acrylics on canvas and paper.
Let's begin by having you delve a bit into your background. What experiences and education have contributed to you becoming the artist you are today?
When I was studying directing at Klaipėda University, you had to create your own sets, costumes, props, and things on stage. This led to more interest in visual art. Since 2006 I have been practicing it steadily and creating visual art objects such as installations, paintings, photographs, digital art and so on.
Your artistic journey spans various disciplines, from stage plays to exhibitions, performances, and installations. How do you approach these diverse forms of expression? Do you have a different process for creating depending on the final result?
I use over 200 creative techniques. Different techniques are used in different types of art. I distinguish between visual arts, performing arts and textual arts. I use different techniques in them. When I first start, I think about what I would like to say or hide in my artwork, then I use different creative techniques to find the best solution and then I put it into practice.
In your bio, you mentioned that you consider yourself to be a post-matric person who works in various cultural and artistic fields. Can you deconstruct this line of thought for us?
A post-matrix person is a person who has many selves. He does not try to suppress any of his selves. For example, he may be a painter and he may be a psychologist and he may be a marketer. All of them need to be given time, space and energy to excel in their fields. There is no contradiction between them and there may be no connection. They can exist side by side at the same time. The rational self of the marketer may have nothing to do with the sentimental self of the writer. That is why I object to Freud's idea that we must combine our different parts. I believe that there are no separate parts, but rather many I's, which may have different attitudes, values and behavioral stereotypes.
Could you delve into the concept of "meta cubism"? What draws you to this particular approach in your creative process?
Cubism was a radical change in modern art. But in the 21st century, it is not enough. There are many new artistic styles, social phenomena and political situations that we cannot ignore, such as the war in Ukraine, and that is why the creation of Metacubism aims to bring together various artistic, social and political activities on the basis of Cubism. These interactive processes change cubism and become metacubism. Metacubism evolves, takes new forms and creates new opportunities for artists.
One of the main areas of interest in your practice is the interplay of colors on a white background. How do you approach creating this visual contrast, and what effects or emotions do you aim to evoke in viewers?
The creative process itself depends on the creative technique I choose. For example, one can be 3x3x3. I choose three dominant colours three geometric shapes and three real objects that I want to represent in my painting. I do a few variations and see which is successful. I put it into practice. Here is one of the many techniques I use.
The relationship of stains to other elements in your paintings is a key focus of your work. Can you share an example of how you've used this relationship to convey a specific concept or message?
In these compositions, the spot becomes the main element and its original composition influences the properties of the other elements. One of the variations of the creation is five plus. One takes the original spot and thinks about what other five elements could add to it. The solution is not changed but tried in different ways.
Your motivation to express new philosophical, cultural, and political concepts through art is compelling. Could you discuss a recent artwork where you successfully translated such a concept into a visual or performative piece?
The following is an example of such concept:
The Contemporary Art and Science Centre next to Kaunas Youth and Adult Education opened a second Post Art document exhibition „Globalization Remains“(Globalizacijos likučiai). The author of the exhibition is Tomas Lagūnavičius, a doctor of social sciences and a representative of interdisciplinary arts, who says: “ When you go away you see a lot of details of globalization. In this case, I am talking about Malta. I was struck by the contrasts: the old buildings of the old Order of Malta together with the new architecture, the skyscrapers; the new architecture and the fishing villages and the fishermen who still go out fishing in the old boats.
In the exhibition, Globalization Remains you can see the testimonies of everything I saw on my trip. Various remains of the experience that I had were: receipts, advertisements, documents, commercials, etc. In this exhibition, there are documents that reflect my time there while observing the contrasts of the country.
ŠMMC YouTube kanalas: https://youtu.be/sbRlXB58YIY
How does your academic background intersect with your artistic practice? How do you see your unique perspective influencing the themes and messages in your art?
My academic background allows me to reflect conceptually on my artistic practice and to develop it in different directions. Conceptual thinking helps me to look at artistic creation and to seek new forms of expression in a purposeful way. During my studies at the MA in Philosophy, I was greatly influenced by a course in Art Criticism, where I practically used various methods to analyse works of art. This allowed me to look at artworks through the eyes of an art critic.
In your perspective, what is the role of art in the current global atmosphere? Do you sense a shift occurring in the art world?
I think the strongest of the 10 main functions of art is the communicative one, which is the transmission of real or fake news to the global public in artistic forms. Art presents this in a powerful and aesthetic way and this creates new (neo-old) possibilities for political indoctrination, e.g. Art forms in North Korea.
How do you intentionally make your practice and creative process more complex? Do you have any amusing or captivating anecdotes about changing your methods of creation?
I can identify four rules. The first is creation under compulsion: whether you want to or not, you go and create. Second, see the vision but not the result. Anticipate what you want to do, but the result will depend on the creative technique. At least 30 minutes to learn new creative techniques and 30 minutes to create, but it is better if it takes 8 hours a day. Fourthly, always create something new, but don't forget the styles you've created before. I am always looking for new styles of work, but I don't forget the previous ones and I try to add to them with new work.
Lastly, are there any platforms, books, or podcasts you recommend to our readers?
I would recommend
Read more about the artist here.
SKIRTINGUMO TOLERANCIJA 1 by Tomas Lagunavicius. Image courtesy of Tomas Lagunavicius.
Tomas Lagunavicius considers himself to be post-matric person who works in various cultural and artistic fields. He understand a post-matric person as someone who can think in different ways depending on the situation and the type of activity chosen. He came to visual art through directing plays and designing sets. Now it is a separate field of research and activity to which he devote a lot of time. He has had over 37 solo exhibitions in the visual arts, participated in 56 biennials, exhibitions and so on, created 39 performances, written 12 books in the field of the arts, etc.
The works presented here show two areas of his interest. The first is the contrasting relationship between colours on a white background, how the perception of colour changes in relation to other colours, its area, shape etc. He am particularly interested in the relationship of the stain to the other elements of the painting. The second group of works are metacubist works, an attempt to combine elements of different styles on the basis of cubism. Experimenting in the search for new forms of expression, in digital art and in acrylic works made on canvas and paper.
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