Mykolé (b. 1987) studied at the National School of Fine Arts in Paris (École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts), where obtained the bachelor and Master degrees. Lived in Paris for more than 8 years. 2015-2017 owned an artist studio in Copenhagen. Since 2017 lives and creates in Vilnius. One of the winners of an international contest “Young Painter Prize 2013”. Represented Lithuania at UNESCO art camp 2016 in Andorra and at Artistic collision across the mountains and seas 2019 in China. A series of her paintings were given as a prize to the very best horse riders in France at “Grande Semaine de Fontainebleau 2016”. In 2017 resided in Saari art residency in Finland. Her solo exhibitions were held in Paris, Denmark, Lithuania. Also numerous of group exhibitions, residences and plein-airs in different countries. Mykolé had the honour to be known with Jonas Mekas, visited the workshop of Pranas Gailius, collaborated with Dominique Gauther. Download introduction of Mykolé and the album of selected works (pdf)
SPACE I construct a landscape space like a closed room, with walls, ceilings, floor. Space is what stops the glance. It’s some kind of optical illusion. POSITIVE ENERGETIC There are too many miseries in the world, so I want art to spread good energy, so the spectator could feel and get something positive. MEDITATION My landscapes are an opposition to the bustle, to an overcrowded and polluted background of an information. The landscape leaves us alone with ourselves, turns us meditative. CREATIVE PROCESS This is the love of the view you want to take with you, to repeat it and experience again and again. NATURE Nature doesn’t have politics, bad history or any intentions at all – just pure sustainability and the blind and purposeless desire of life. At the same time, there is nothing by accident, everything has its story, but does it really matters to anyone except human? ATMOSPHERE Every item, even the smallest, in collaboration with the time of the landscape (morning-evening, winter-summer) and the color of a certain time, is creating an atmosphere which, just like a river, will never be the same, every second makes it different. RHYTHM I see the landscape as the mass of vertical elements that forms horizontal shapes: grass mast – meadow, tree – forest. All vegetation stems vertically upwards but also crosses the horizon and dives deep into the ground. Water further strengthens this feeling by the reflection and extension of lines. REMINISCENCES Most of my creative work is related to the images of the homeland. It’s like an ode to the landscape of Lithuania, which is full of childhood memories, nostalgia and precious feelings to my motherland, which you begin to feel only when you are far away from your home and when the feeling comes that you might not recover it – all is left just a will of a short time returnings for a deep breath of the familiar smell. INFLUENCES Eight years in Paris and two in Copenhagen. Paris art schools which I graduated: Prep’art and Beaux art de Paris (ENSBA) formed my stylistics and led to the search of a Landscape subject which continues until now. Visiting the world’s best museums and exhibitions influenced the perception of the art world and inspired creativity. Here I met the creation of Peter Doig, Anselm Kiefer, David Hockney, Caspar David Friedrich and many other classics, who have become my benchmark for creative work.
Functionalism of the 20th century got rid of “impractical” décor and art. The environment has become impoverished, cold and soulless. Now there are two extremes: either the art is reserved for the chosen audience and the ordinary man remains incomprehensible; or turns into cheap entertainment adapted to the wide public, which leads to the modern world that is dominated by non-culture, rather foolish and tasteless entertainment.
Art must return to our daily and near environment. It has to escape from the galleries and museum halls and fill the city’s space, becoming a significant condition for a high-quality and meaningful life. It must raise the quality of life – to form a culturally valuable environment, to make it alive and thereby to raise the general erudition of people and their cultural awareness. Today, the role and significance of art for man and society must be understood again and newly.
Art institutions and cultural broadcasters must change and make efforts to attract the man who is thirsty of entertainment and material joy, but in no way down to the lowest level of the user, and vice versa, by raising the viewer to another level of perception and need. Meanwhile, the artist should change the predominant cult of entertainment and materialism by actively communicating with people. To keep an eye on the spectator from the smallest days, keep in mind adults: working with kindergartens and schools, holding creative workshops, arranging meetings, visiting art studios, sharing knowledge – from workshops and shining exhibition spaces to slip into the light of day.
Deep from within the landscapes of Mykolé, we perceive vast Nordic expanses where man is absent. Nature is abounding, with the sky vast and open, but a certain gravity seems to descend upon the scene and press upon it like a lead weight. Of Lithuanian origin, but based in Paris for the past five years, Mykolé first made landscape paintings taken from the early 3D videogames, which call to mind the simplification of surfaces obtained through geometrisation. In the decidedly more organic direction of her later works, the haunting rhythm of the strokes allows her, by little means, to express the space and atmosphere of the places that are familiar to her—places where she likes to return several times a year to see the succession of the seasons. The surfaces of her latest paintings are brought to life by a web of delicate vertical strokes primarily expressing the substrate life force of the renewal of nature. It is a visual translation of sorts, illustrating the “blind desire of life without purpose” which Schopenhauer had derived all forms of matter in The World as Will and Representation. An underground energy spreads similarly to that of magma, slow and relentless, sometimes overflowing, therefore coming to manifest itself in the form of drips on the surface of the paintings. It is essentially this cyclical period that she works to transcribe, that, in her words, nature is “always in the present” and has no past.
The dominant genre in Mykolé’s work is landscape. The choice of the genre distinguishes her among the young generation of Lithuanian painters who most often tend to figurative painting, quite often with a clear social and political motivation. The landscape is often related with nature studies or romantic and idealised views of the homeland fields. However, Mykolé’s work confirms that the contemporary landscape genre is quite in touch with the newest art tendencies and can be interesting and relevant today.
The painter chooses simple and easily recognisable motifs: details of a landscape with occasionally appearing buildings, engineering constructions, or solitary human figures. She represents different times of the year and the day, different weather conditions and the range of colours characteristic of the landscape at a given time. In her stylised and generalised landscapes, the painter enjoys a large variety of colours and structures and emphasises the rhythm of natural elements. By inserting architectural objects or other signs of human activity into her paintings, she discovers harmony in the contrasts of strict and free forms (for example, the rhythm of a ploughed field and tree branches). Mykolé uses one-layer painting, and her works seem light and transparent. Canvas showing through a thin layer of paint adds some atmospheric shimmer to the paintings.
Landscapes of Lithuania emerged in Mykolé’s work while she was studying in Paris as an expression of memories of the time spent in Lithuania or longing for her homeland. The artist depicts actual locations that she has visited and holds important. She is looking for a balance to the dynamics and noise of the city in nature. Her landscapes are empty and spacious, and predispose the viewer to meditation. Melancholic and lyrical moods that can often be felt in her paintings supplement the autobiographical history of the appearance of landscapes. Thus, although being real, they also become inner psychological landscapes – places that are consciously and subconsciously experienced inside oneself. Geometrised and flattened forms of the views of nature seem reminiscent of set design and look like a theatre set in which a scene from a nostalgic dream is played.
Mykolé’s meditative work is like a painted lyric. Her paintings have very specific strokes with a direction that creates a “rained” visual effect. The horizons of veiled trees obey strict geometry. It is easy to notice an architecture of the nature in those landscapes of minimalistic aesthetic. Thin transparent layers of paint, create transparent vibrations of the atmosphere and the impact of eternal space. It would be hard to imagine these paintings made by thick and heavy paint.