by Raminta Jurėnaitė - Kultūros barai, 2012 No.9

Landed on the grass, clouds come into view in the forest swath: these are ruins of a fortress built of white marble shards. Such a stunning view opens to visitors of Europos Parkas.

The Culture, the new work created by Gintaras Karosas, is a composition made up of several parts that evokes associations with the mysterious area of archaeological finds. Such impression is inspired first of all by the elements of various sizes and shapes themselves, which are arranged on the plane as an uncompleted, open system. The work is presented as “a suspended process”; therefore, the impression it is to make depends on the fantasies of each viewer: whether it will be understood as the new beginning, reconstruction, or as the end, the process of decomposition and decay…

Two huge, massive “towers” deep in the meadow are “preserved” much better than the fragments with low walls nestling up to the ground that are perched in front of them, at the beginning of the lawn. It is here where the borderline between sculpture and architecture fades away: the big “towers” can be not only walked around by viewers, but also entered.

The organic shapes of this sculpture evoke peculiar, indirect associations with a baroque park structure resembling a natural cave, with mountain ranges, rocks, and vegetation. Here, shapes of nature are abstracted, and abstracts recover their naturalness.

Bricked up of several tons of marble, the white sculptural composition of monumental sizes appears very light in the midst of dark trees and bush leaves. The sense of lightness is created not only by the colour, but also by a dynamic play of light and shadow, by uneven, rough surfaces of soft, fluent, convex and concave shapes.

Here, where several pathways come together, the landscape and sculpture merge into a harmonious unity. When viewing it from the perspective of different distances and different points, one would discover the changing variety of images. Some impressions will be experienced by visitors who enter the lawn by the main pathway through the forest, over the top of the hill, while those viewing the huge “towers” deep from the depression will gain entirely different experiences.

Although Gintaras Karosas “dramatizes” the landscape by his works, telling stories is not the most important matter for him: the artist creates places that inspire contemplation. The composition For Your Convenience (1999) is presented as stone benches designed for a single person. There are many of them; however, they are arranged on a slope in such a manner that people would establish contacts not with each other but with the landscape: take a close of its colours and shapes, listen attentively to its sounds, feel the odours of nature… In the sculpture The Place (2001–2003), the sense of landscape is enhanced by highlighting the tension between the work of art and the nature rather than by merging with the landscape. By both their shape and colour, the geometrical, reduced iron “pillars” form a sharp contrast with natural stones, tree trunks, and soft contour of the pond. The newest composition The Culture encompasses both these types of interaction with the landscape. After entering the inside of the sculpture, the viewer finds himself in a shell isolated from the outer world and, having felt strange emptiness, intuitively focuses on himself.

Thus far, the main materials used by Karosas had been traditional: stone and metal. The artist liked varying objects he found. For his new work, he chose an unusual material and a new technique. The whole sculptural composition is bricked of marble shards. It allowed creating mobile, organically flowing shapes. Another important idea of the sculptor is about environmental protection: production waste can be transformed into an aesthetically refined piece of art surrounded by the nature.

The central theme of this sculpture, like that of the whole art of Gintaras Karosas, is the relationship between the culture and nature. The founder of Europos Parkas sourced his inspiration not only from archaeology, history of art, industry, forestry, and ecology, but also from the land, water, mountains, clouds, and vegetation… By every his work, the artist tries to establish a subtle dialogue with the landscape, while changing it only slightly and carefully and preserving its naturalness.

The compositions The Culture, For Your Convenience, and The Place demonstrate that Gintaras Karosas combines traditional proportions, shapes, and materials of abstract sculpture with the landscape park tradition in a very specific manner.

The artist, who has been living and working in this place for many years, has accumulated unique expertise: he has explored every corner, terrain, forest floor, and glade; he clarified the relationships between masses, horizontal and vertical lines. Gintaras Karosas knows every tree here… He sees how the forest park changes with the seasons… It is therefore difficult to guess whether a place is selected for a sculpture, or its idea inspired by nature itself. Most likely, both intertwine here.

Most of sculpture parks in different countries and continents are simply collections of modern sculpture in the open air. The sculpture parks created by Erwin Wortelkamp in Hasselbach (The Valley) and Gintaras Karosas (Europos Parkas) are entirely different: they invite artists to create works for specific places, away from other pieces. In The Valley, sculptures are erected in the open-air landscape of cultivated fields and meadows. Europos Parkas is created as a place for everyone to pull away from the city noise and daily routine. Closed and open spaces, wavy terrain, and diversity of vegetation provide a greater opportunity for works to mingle with the landscape and melt in it. Unexpected and highly impressive harmony of sculptures with the landscape appears here.

The newest piece created by Gintaras Karosas merged the sculpture and landscape into a single symbolic form, which gives power for imagination. This is just a must-see sculpture.

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