An exhibition of works by Algimantas Švėgžda (1941-1996) entitled “Growing Heaven in a Grape Branch” dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the artist's birth is on display in Molėtai Regional Museum from November 23. The works exhibited in the exhibition belong to the collection of the Lithuanian Artists' Union Foundation.
Art critic Ramutė Rachlevičiūtė: “This year we are celebrating the 80th anniversary of Algimantas Švėgžda's birth, and it has been 25 years since he is no longer with us. There was not, and I think, will not be a more generous artist who loved his homeland Lithuania more than Algimantas Švėgžda did. He donated his best works to Lithuanian museums, not the ones that he had nowhere to store or that were not sold, as is usually the case nowadays. Today, the artist's works are carefully stored in the Lithuanian National Academy of Arts, Vilnius Academy of Arts, National M.K. Čiurlionis Art, Aušra and Alka Museums
In 1961-1967 Algimantas Švėgžda studied painting at the LSSR State Art Institute taught by Vladas Karatajus and Antanas Gudaitis. In 1969-1976, Algimantas Švėgžda was the chairman of the Association of Young Artists and Art Researchers under the Lithuanian Artists' Union, one of the initiators of the establishment of this association. He joined the Artists' Union in 1974, was a member of its board, as well as of the commission to work with young artists and a member of the Painting Section Bureau.
Forced to live in East Germany due to his illness (since May 1982), Algimantas Švėgžda has always been very interested in life in Lithuania. His late creative "German like“period was not a sweet one. It must be born in mind that this was life in East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall, although it was quite difficult and problematic after that as well. After a kidney transplant operation on June 22, 1983, saving his vital force the artist abandoned the large-format oil paintings and passionate civic positions of his youth and created meditative works in a chamber, miniature format. These are externally static drawings, watercolors, pastels, graphics but pulsating inner power.
The exhibition features the works "Cut Root", "Shattered Twig", "Cut Twig", "Burnt Twig", " Stick Cut Twice", „Hammered Stick", "Oak Pencil", as well as unexposed. "Rotten Piece of Wood",”Hooked Sticks,“ Twig Knot” belong to the cycle of 10 watercolors „ Sticks ”, which is all stored in the collection of the Artists' Union Foundation.
Taught by his friend Petras Repšys, Algimantas Švėgžda started creating graphics in 1982. He started with exlibris, still lifes with grapes, cherry twigs, dried boletus, landscapes. While lying, half-lying or sitting, it was possible to draw small works, carve a small metal plate that fits in the palm of your hand. The disease-stricken artist "fought" in a field of art the size he could cope with or master. We also have the example of Stanislovas Kuzma, when severe physical ilnesses not only hindered the artist from creating, but also made life difficult. It might sound pathetic, but creating was equal to living. Life without creation seemed to have no meaning: it was the creative process, the daily artistic activity that made it possible for the artist to feel alive,though hard. A. Švėgžda is an artist worth of the greatest respect for his titanic efforts to create. Although pinned down by his illness, he remained creative until his last breath."
The exhibition of Algimantas Švėgžda's works "Growing Heaven in a Grape Branch" at the Molėtai Region Museum will run until January 4, 2022.
Sponsors of the exhibition: Lithuanian Artists' Union and Lithuanian Culture Council.