After logging in, you'll be able to save your favorite works of art in this section. Read more about “My Collection” in the “Project” section.
Push slider to the right
Registration successful.
Username already exists!
Passwords do not match!
Slider error
You are almost done. To activate your account, please click the link in the activation email which has been sent to your email address ( )
A new password has been sent.
Gintaras Makarevičius
About the author
  • Born 1965 in Šakaldoriai (Trakai district).
  • Graduated from the Vilnius Academy of Art in 1994.
About the Artworks
Like many artists of the artists who debuted during the first decade of Lithuania’s independence, Gintaras Makarevičius traded in his paintbrush for a video camera and began to create contemporary new media art. Today Makarevičius is an internationally recognised and awarded author of essayistic films; he also works as a set designer for Lithuania’s leading directors – Oskaras Koršunovas and Gintaras Varnas – and is also continuously, and brilliantly, reviving the traditional medium of drawing.
Before beginning to create intimate studies of real or imagined social groups, Makarevičius experimented with various materials, and with the viewer’s imagination and senses. He created the series of wooden sculptural objects Plaukai (Hair, 1993–1994). His installations using quickly turning mirrors (Dėmėsio dekoncentracija/Deconcentration of Attention, 1995) and mirrors together with gas flame (Matyti ir jausti / To See and to Feel, 1996) were mechanisms for controlling attention and sensory perception, and were among the first Lithuanian interactive artworks. Although the viewer’s reflection is an essential component, we are prevented from seeing ourselves – by movement and the flame’s reflection, its heat and the strong smell of gas.
Participating in the 1995 site-specific art project “Language of the Everyday,” in Vilnius, Makarevičius hung a black velvet cloth from an almost inaccessible place on the stage of the Russian Drama Theatre, which was being reconstructed at the time. The work’s symbolic meaning — the death of the stage — was overshadowed by the powerful visual impression and the feelings of beauty, anxiety and fear that the work conveyed, all of this despite the fact that the installation could only be seen from the street (as opposed to the position from which it was photographed for the catalogue). For the Contemporary Art Centre’s 1998 screen arts exhibition “Sutemos” (Twilights), Makarevičius presented the interactive installation Individualios ir visuomenės autoidentifikacijos situacija (Individual and Social Self-Identification Situation), which referenced both classical artistic means of representation, in which an ideal form is created from a series of the most perfect fragments found in nature, and the technique of facial composites used in criminology. Drawing on a vast selection of hairstyles, facial shapes, eyes, lips, and moustaches, viewers can assemble an ideal face or that of a monster. While observing each operation made by their hands projected on a screen — which in turn was like a precursor to the computer screen — the participant can discover either themselves or the other.
Makarevičius’s crucial turn toward film media occurred in 1997, when, at the Boswill Art Centre in Switzerland, he for the first time had the opportunity to use a video camera. Short on technical skills but possessing plenty of wit and insight, Makarevičius created the video installation Žaibas (Lightning), in which a church tower — a symbol of European culture — occasionally emerges from the dark night sky when illuminated by a flash of lightning. The lightning was the only light source during both the filming of the video and its presentation: in its absence there was no image and the installation space was completely darkened. The appearance and disappearance of the image were determined by unpredictable and uncontrollable natural processes; for the viewer, the light from the flash on the video projection screen had the same effect as in reality.
As he began to work with a camera in Vilnius, Makarevičius focused on collaborating with the people he was filming. In his film Oralinis interviu — tas pats oras (Oral Interviews — The Same Weather, 1999), the artist asked people from a wide range of social groups to blow at the camera lens until the latter became so foggy that the subject’s image was destroyed. Although the artist was most concerned with showing the closeness of people in social, public life, he could also be considered to have founded a community of people who blow at viewers.
In terms of the creation of community and event, Makarevičius’s film Hot / Karšta (1999) is even more important. Having found archival fragments of the Chronicle of Soviet Lithuania relating to the opening of the Vilnius Electrical Meter Factory, Makarevičius invited its former workers to return there for a get-together and discuss the past. He arranged for cooks to prepare dishes that would have been served in the cafeteria thirty years earlier, and were intended to reawaken “bodily” memories. But it was the ideological stereotypes that turned out to be most lively — the factory’s veterans raised their glasses to colleagues with “golden hands” and swore to keep working as long as their strength permitted, even though they were barely receiving anymore salaries, thus re-enacting long-held drinking rituals. The black and white archival footage and the (in more ways than one) colourful party footage were shown on two separate screens in the installation, and then later edited into one film.
              If Makarevičius’s first films took shape as performance documentation, his later works sought to erase the boundary between the conceived event and the natural flow of life. The subjects of the films Giminės (Relatives, 2000), Naiciai (2002) and Vaskiči (2004) – the artist’s relatives, residents of apartment buildings in the town of Elektrėnai, or children warring between shanties in the Vilnius neighborhood of Žverynas – behave as though the camera were not there, even though viewers eventually learn that that these people were perfectly aware of its presence.
The artist became an invisible director while making his first longer (45 min.) work, Duobė (The Pit, 2001–2002). During a relative’s funeral he became acquainted with a family of gravediggers who had worked at Semeliškiai cemetery for decades; for over a year, whenever the gravediggers announced they had work, the artist would rush out there with a cameraman. The complicated filming process was an intrinsic part of the work, which always had as a starting point an individual’s death. The gravediggers ignore the camera because digging a grave pit, then decorating it with pine branches and flowers, is regular work for them, and, in relation to death, being filmed has little significance. The final film is held together by the four seasons, which symbolize cyclical time and eternal repetition, while the long scenes create a sense of real time.
In 2007 Makarevičius creates an almost hour-long film titled Žiemos paralelės, which consists of four parallel narratives about people with unusual professions and workplaces: a foreigners’ registration center, a special needs education and care home, an animal shelter, and an emergency road services center. The artist was interested in why these individuals make sacrifices to work in such unpleasant, psychologically difficult and poorly paid jobs in which they are constantly exposed to the dramatic fates that can befall humans and animals. Two other films also deal with questions of work and professions: Kažkur kitur (Somewhere Else, 2012), about shoemakers who once worked on Vilnius Street, and Persikėlimas (The Crossing, 2013), about the ferry between Klaipėda and Neringa, on the Baltic coast.
Makarevičius can be compared to the famous German essayistic film master Harun Farocki, who also primarily filmed people working in different professions. In another aspect of his creative work – the theme of memory and strategies of re-archiving – Makarevičius is close to other Lithuanian artists of his generation such as Artūras Raila, Deimantas Narkevičius and Pauline Eglė Pukytė.
In the 2009 film Sibiro testamentas (Siberian Will), found film footage of a 1960s Soviet family’s New Year’s celebration is contrasted with a Lithuanian telling the story of his deportation to and life in Siberia. Makarevičius’s 2011 film Gedimino prospektas (Gediminas Prospect) juxtaposes 1989 footage (by journalist Romas Dabrukas) of the last Soviet military parade in Lithuania and the protests against it by the Lithuanian Freedom League with 2009 footage of riots in front of the Parliament Building. By mixing up the soundtracks of these scenes Makarevičius highlights the multi-voiced nature of history and past-present connections.
Erika Grigoravičienė
Giminės (Relatives). 2000, 24 min., VHS
In midsummer of 2000, in the village of Liutoniai in Kaišiadorys Region, Gintaras Makarevičius filmed his relatives; he then edited three hours of footage into a film that lacked any notable events, dramas or stories. According to the artist, this material, which was filmed without any existing preconceptions, appealed to him because nothing actually happens in it – his relatives’ conflicts, arguments and plans for a different kind of life are all left in the past, which they can now look back on calmly. The film shows elderly individuals working together to gather hay in a field, after which they gather at a traditional country party with cranberry vodka, food and conversation. The alcohol causes the old men’s speeches to become obscene and the old women’s faces to sadden, and discussions about the Australian economy are replaced by unsettled conflicts about inheritances. Most of the characters do not see the camera or simply do not understand what it is.
Having drifted away from his relatives in his late teens, when he moved to Vilnius to study architecture , the artist was surprised to learn that these people are happy. The film affected his self-awareness – it helped him to leave the past behind in peace, to be freed from his nightmares. “It is precisely because of the fact that our reality was changing so much that exploring it became very important to artists of my generation,” he says. In this case reality is almost unchanged, so the film is about “the absence of illusions and change.” With the passage of time it gains even greater documentary value, as it is a fairly authentic representation of Lithuanian rural life at the turn of the twenty-first century. At the same time, with each viewing this representation of reality seems to say something new. The meaning of the film and its minimalistic editing shift depending upon the context in which it is screened and how it is visually and discursively understood. In documentary essayistic film, the lack of definition – often irritating in feature films –becomes an advantage.
Erika Grigoravičienė
All works by this artist
No artworks found.
[[item.description]] [[item.details]]
You have subscribed successfully.
Patikrinkite savo pašto dėžutę ir paspauskite nat gautos nuorods norėdami patvirtinti užsakymą.