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- Vilnius
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Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square continues the initiative to display art collections by local Lithuanian artists, this time welcoming the exhibition SOFT by six prominent Lithuanian artists.

One of Kempinski’s goals is to draw the attention of as many guests and locals as possible to the cultural heritage of a city and the amazing and constantly changing local art. Kempinski Hotel Cathedral Square knows that when one is choosing a holiday destination, an important factor is the art a city has to discover. The luxurious hotel supports the idea that the arts are reflective of European culture, and that idea remains as one of the company’s most important values.

Six textile artists: Indra Marcinkevičienė, Lina Jonikė, Vita Gelūnienė, Loreta Švaikauskienė, Jūratė Kazakevičiūtė and Barbora Gediminaitė. Nylon, velvet, thread, plastic, padding and “soft” mirror reflections. This term describes objects that are soft, light and delicate, although there are many more meanings to be discovered in the artists’ works. The works cover a range of themes, but are not limited by the concept of textiles; they paraphrase and expand its synonyms through an evident frequent act of play.

Indra Marcinkevičienė created the interior composition entitled “Stradivarius Waterfall” (2014), consisting of colourful panels, carpet and soft bench. The designer is well known for her brave colour combinations and eloquent stories. The violins in the “Stradivarius Waterfall” composition, upholstered in brightly coloured fabrics, are masked instruments that have jokingly escaped the music world and entered into art. Or maybe vice versa; the fabric couldn’t contain itself and started playing tunes in various colours?

Unique three-dimensional textile panels created by the artist Loreta Švaikauskienė remind us of sculptures rather than textile works. The artist uses her own technique, which allows her to create these eye-deceiving optical illusions. They are incomprehensible at first. From far away, they look like porcelain, but upon closer inspection they are soft to the touch. In appropriating the Secession style, Loreta is able to express a variety of moods and sensations of a different materiality.

Lina Jonikė’s works are representative of the multi-layered meaning of textiles. They tell stories of gender and emotional identity. They are sensitive like an Impressionist’s brushstroke. The thread colours the fragments of captured moments on film. In the photographs, Lina chooses to embroider the fabric, naked body or other fragments, creating multi-layered stories.

“The Hunt of the Unicorn” (2010-2011) by Vita Gelūnienė was completed using the traditional hand-woven tapestry technique. For the background, the artist chose a traditional floral motif, although in the foreground, she depicts a modern daily life scene of a man and a pregnant woman, which is made even more evident by the baby sitting on a chamber pot. The title of the piece is a reference to the image of a unicorn, normally encountered in medieval iconography and the symbol of innocence and purity.

Jūratė Kazakevičiūtė uses nylon to form life-size human figures, enriching the field of textiles with theatricality. Jūratė’s dolls are full of self-irony and sometimes look zoomorphic. Real life-size female forms covered in thin translucent nylon are representative of real people – sometimes even more real than the eye is used to seeing in magazines. The dolls emit a dreary vibe until you finally befriend the vigilant, observant characters.

Barbora Gediminaitė creates textile patterns using the many reflections bouncing off the mirror surfaces. These appear after a long and meditative process of working with light algorithms and taming the intangible light. The materiality in this composition is conditional and only noticeable to observers who take their time. The viewers, searching for a coded message, normally look for it in the mirror. Just after lowering their eyes, they are left astonished, realizing that they are standing on a textile work of art.

The intrusion from the ceramicist Solveiga Gutautė might seem odd at first, but the artist imitates fabric in the porcelain collection of bibs. The shiny, gold, haute couture brand logos and bibs, which are never used according to their function, become fetish items, destroying the original (ideal) function of the bib. The porcelain objects in this exhibition further expand the notion of textiles with the synonymous softness of cloth.

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