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Rima Leipuvienė “ONE YEAR”

April 22 @ 17:00 - June 5 @ 12:00



In her second personal exhibition, Rima Leipuvienė presents a narrative cycle covering her inner experiences during more than a year spent in Latvia. In a foreign country, while immersed in everyday worries, severed from familiar social relationships and environment, and, in addition, in the context of rising pandemics, the artist felt a huge wish to give a sense to her amended subsistence by expressing it in the ceramic works. She wanted to tell about a slower pace of life, attention to the new environment and her own senses, as well as about reflections on life, love, and dedication. While living in Latvia, she practised to be in the present moment, observe the setting, contemplate, create, and hereby express her accumulated thoughts and emotions.

In the cycle “One Year“ (2020–2021), consisting of two parts (“Time“ and “Sensual experiences“), the author remains dedicated to her creative aspiration – to rely on expressive potential of clay and associative capability of  form, arising from the specifics of material, way of fulfilment and technology. The artist has a characteristic sense of form and ability to reveal vital energy of material. She even named her strategy “a dialog with a clay“, having in mind that she processes a piece of clay freely, transforming it into abstract, almost natural formation, characterised by naturalness, depth of thought, spontaneous expression and improvisation. Moderate shapes have poetical names and so they are deep in content, requiring individual comprehension and empathy. The author continues to strive to eloquent minimalism, as even a slight cue – stamps in a smooth surface, notches and splits in it, drained glazes or thrifts at the end of vertical shapes – offers its own interpretations. Surprising textured accents, shining in ash grey and redness of clay free from glaze, or cold lustre of melted metal can trigger even more cues. A fragile mood and silent cue emanate from a slight, vertically shaped tilt, asymmetry, effects of accident heightened by pigments and wood ash glaze, created by the author. It spreads like an erupting lava on the surface, melts in the high temperature, disseminates unevenly, and penetrates into bumps and cavities, making an impression of ash varnish or parched magma.

A sensation of the fragility of being, impermanence, and hopeful new beginning, declared by the author, is appreciable in her works of art. More dynamic, open and emotionally waving compositions supplement static works, making an impression that they were created in one breath. Sometimes the shapes tear in half, step on each other, the plastic takes precipitation and vitality, while the splits that furrow the surfaces and flutes, reminding of wrinkles of an aging man, become more disturbed.

A diagonal skew, ignorance of static, composing forms as if avoiding a stable foundation make impression of fluttering in the space. Some motives are recognisable (a heart formed from a bark of a tree) and fascinating by their simplicity and imperfection, because they stem from nature and a real feeling. There are no strict silhouettes or correct lines in any spatial composition. As such, the works of art resemble to objects of nature, inspired by Latvian seashore and relief of woods. We can see the crest of the wave, a weather-beaten rock, stone, and a bark of tree, and able to feel how the time goes by. 

Unobtrusively, almost invisibly – this is how the author interferes in this quasi spontaneous, however, demanding process of an artwork birth. This process requires intuition and lots of technological knowledge. Every piece of work seems as if created with no particular effort, as if it sprung from the nature itself, with a minimal touch of a human hand, unpredictable in advance, looking differently every time you watch it from a different angle or in a different light. The cycle “One Year“ also represents new tendencies in the creative path of the artist. Her sculptural ceramics cycle “From the non-existence“, created a few years ago, demonstrated that Rima Leipuvienė was still attached to the imposing Japanese ceramics. Whereas more freedom, improvisation and individual sight of environment is noticeable in the latter creative works.

The works of art by Rima Leipuvienė are unsophisticated, ascetic, sometimes spontaneous, emerging from internal flow of feelings and thoughts. The artist explains that her personal creative aspirations strive from Zen Buddhism and intuitive philosophy, which are close to her. Fundamentals of Zen aesthetics such as asymmetry of form, simplicity, ascetic magnificence, naturalness, intangible profoundness, indefiniteness, and peace are noticeable in her works. This kind of art is unfamiliar with flourish, shallow effects used to shock the audience, demonstration of perfect and orbicular form, which is inconsistent with permanent impact of time flow. A lie is unacceptable here, as such, creative process gives a sense to authentic inner states and spiritual flight. It is based on intuition and passion of feelings rather than on rational thinking. A viewer, who is not well acquainted with the theoretical background of the author‘s creative work, is able to feel lively pulsation of a thought, vibration of a soul, a real and experienced feelings.  

It is unsurprising that the artist in interested in the Eastern aesthetics. The modern Lithuanian ceramics of the 20th century was influenced by the East Asia ceramics. Lithuanian classics admired the simplicity of eastern ceramics, in which they saw similarities to unsophisticated Lithuanian folk art. Whereas for Rima Leipuvienė, the East ceramics is acceptable for its particular values and principals of aesthetics (void, harmony, balance, naturalness, sketchiness), also for its internal attitude to look for an inspiration in the depths of one‘s soul, to seek unity with nature, and to reveal its natural beauty.

 In one of her latest decorative plastics works „Ensō“ (from Japanese – a circle), the artist figured a sculptural version of a calligraphic Zen circle. How does Rima Leipuvienė‘s ensō, according to which the Japanese decide on an artist‘s spiritual and artistic maturity, look like? Her ceramic ensō is intense in its plastics and duly unfinished, indistinctly connecting beginning and end, soaring in the air, faintly attached to the base. However, at the same time it is firm and well formed, as it reflects the artist’s strive for perfection.

Lijana Šatavičiūtė-Natalevičienė, art critic