GUEST OF THE MAGAZINE. Antanas Sutkus: ‘We Want to Find Our Reflection in Art...’

 

Antanas SUTKUS, the patriarch of Lithuanian photography, is the guest of both our magazine and il Rivellino Leonardo Da Vinci Art Gallery.
Historians and critics call him the Homer of Lithuanian photography, whose creative work is an epos, consisting of the fragments of our daily lives.

Mr Sutkus, your work mostly focuses on the daily life and the stories of a simple man, which interest and excite the modern society and admirers of modern art. What do you think the modern global man of the digital world can see in your photographs?

I focus on the audience and how much my work can help them in their daily lives. We want art to reflect ourselves, our experiences and lives... A human being is neither global nor digital by nature. A human is just a human. And the medium of your art is not important either – whether you draw something on a rock using a piece of charcoal or compile a complex piece using the latest technology, the audience will take what they need and can connect with.

What is your opinion on contemporary art?

Is there really some point, which marks the beginning or the end of contemporary art? I divide art into contemporary art and today’s art. Currently there is a huge number of one-time cosmopolitan art products that have no identity. I can’t refer to that as art. However, at the same time contemporary means are also used to create contemporary art, which will also be valuable in the future. It seems that the majority of artists avoid talking about national identity or traditional humanist values. These are the ingredients of contemporary but not one-time art. I can surely say that Šarūnas Sauka, one of my favourite painters, is a humanist by his irony and criticism. Just like Peter Greenaway, whom I’ve recently met. Both of them are pillars of post-modernism, although coming from different cultures, experiences and expression. The influence of cinematography on the development of global art is huge. Each generation has their own Bergman or their own Greenaway. I feel that I belong between these two pillars. I’m not merely a critic of contemporary art – I also feel like a participant of the process.

Your photos, featuring the visit of the French philosophers and writers Jean Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir to Nida – the most beautiful corner of Lithuania – in 1965 have become a museum exhibit, while the image of Sartre, striding across the dunes and fighting the wind inspired French and Lithuanian sculptors to create art, which reflect the dashing pose of the existentialist and freedom worshipper both in Paris and on Parnidis Dune. Does your rich collection feature more works that inspired other artists?

I know cases of my photographs painted as paintings in another country without my permission. I believe that such works are not created, but merely copied. People often ignore the author’s right to his works. You can’t steal a piece of somebody’s idea. That’s intellectual property. However, Lithuania sees an advancement of copyrights and this looks promising.

Quite recently the photo artist Ramūnas Danisevičius took photos of you together with the British director Peter Greenaway in Lithuania, at your home, sitting at a long table, which looks like a long road with many stories.It seems that this photo will also enter the history. So, what did you discuss with the world-known director Greenaway? Where will that story go?

Planning the future seems a little funny when you reach my age. Yes, there are really interesting projects and intentions for cooperation. We’ll yet have to see if they come true. Sir Peter is a very temperamental and provocative conversation companion. Of course, we were hindered by the language barrier, because translators are useful only for official conversations. The acquaintance with Greenaway sharpens my inner sight in assessing my unpublished works from the 1970s and 1980s.

During the days of the Lithuanian culture and art the il Rivellino Art Gallery in Locarno will feature ten of your photographs, acquired by a Swiss collector. The gallery will also exhibit the pictures taken by Ramūnas Danisevičius during your meeting with the director Peter Greenaway. Which role do you prefer: a talented photographer, whose works interest collectors and museums, or a celebrity of your time, whose pictures are taken and demonstrated by young photographers just like you took pictures of the famous philosopher and writer Sartre many years ago, thus becoming famous all over the world?

What makes me feel best is going through my archive, finding a new and yet unpublished piece and finding an audience, who needs my works. All of our achievements are rather relative. There is a long way to go and lots of work to do before I can say that I’ve done all that I could at the turn of the century. And only Time will tell if I can be called a celebrity of my generation.

What photo from your archive would you like to share with the readers of JŪRA MOPE SEA? What message does it send?

I’m sorry, but I don’t know how to send messages since I don’t use all that modern technology. I still do some photography and would like to share some of my works from 2017 and 2018.

Thank you for the conversation and the photos.

 

The magazine SEA has been published since 1935
International business magazine JŪRA MOPE SEA has been published since 1999
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Publisher:

Ltd. Juru informacijos centras


The magazine JŪRA has been published since 1935.
International business magazine JŪRA MOPE SEA has been
published since 1999.

ISSN 1392-7825

2017 © www.jura.lt