I don't know if this is politically correct to say, but this interview is taken from my favourite artist of all times. I am talking favouritefavourite like FAVOURITE, I am talking more favourite than if Jeff Koons had a baby with Virgil Abloh and that baby would be tutored by Kanye West throughout the process of creating art. And if you know me at least a bit, you know that this type of favourite is pretty much A BIG DEAL. So here we go, enjoy her answers. Ieva Lygnugaryte.
(Ieva Lygnugaryte, White, 2020)
1. Do you treat your materials/tools as if they were somebody with emotion and reasoning?
When I work with drawing, writing or digital tools - my answer would be a no.
However, if I am creating something more tactile, like an installation, the materials I am working with are usually already charged with specific emotion or energy. In fact that emotion may determine the artwork itself.
I believe that these “energies” combined with artist’s concept turn these “tools” into artworks which are often categorized as “ready-mades”.
2. What was it like when you had a very first encounter with the materials/tools you use on a daily basis now?
There was no first encounter that I could remember. In fact, I am starting to get back to the very domestic materials such as doors and windows more and more.
And I did really grow up mostly surrounded by nature. But that’s not exactly what I am, or was interested in as a child, teenager. Because I was surrounded by nature, I associated it with a lot of gardening, dog walking, etc, which I found really boring as a child, and a duty (unlike now). The only times I would be excited about being outside is when I would invite my friends over, dig a hole outside my courtyard and build a house out of it. To experiment somewhere without a consent because if it was outside, the parents would have a harder time finding out what have you been doing there. There was a lot of freedom. But it was not about the appreciation of nature. I was always more curious about the man-made objects, their colors and textures.
There is a specific feeling about materials and the emotion they radiate. How you feel being in a shovel room, bathroom, garage. Smell is very powerful. I want to perceive those emotions.
(Ieva Lygnugaryte, By the sea, 2019)
3. What is your favourite part about people when they perform the act of critically looking at your artworks: do you prefer criticism, or you are more pleased when you get praise?
Everyone loves a little bit of praising - or a lot. I am definitely no exception.
I do love being strongly criticized though, but a lot of people are afraid to express criticism.
I have encountered many situations in my life where people, especially my friends would be hesitant to critique my work in order not to offend me. It is a complicated situation, but it’s important to push aside the sensitivity and try to learn. Good critique should be about the expression of the idea which can always be improved.
I think many times the artists’ sensitivity often comes from idealizing the profession. I think it’s time to drop that idealization.
Constructive and detailed criticism is great, but it’s rare.
4. Do you have your own favourite artwork? If so, which one?
The one that come up to my mind was a video work by Rachel Rose called “A Minute Ago”. I saw it in Vilnius, Contemporary Art Centre during the Baltic Triennial 13 in 2018.
5. Who is your biggest inspiration?
My life, me laughing at it.
I try not to touch things I do not understand.
(Ieva Lygnugaryte, Dog in Madeira, 2018)
(Ieva Lygnugaryte, A Mother and A Daughter Skating and it Shows Well; still from a digital video, 2020 )
6. What led you to working with the colours that you are working you with now? Do you see yourself changing that?
I always worked a lot with color blue. I think I’m obsessed - even when I “decide” to work with different colors, I still get back to it somewhere.
However, there is not a lot of color in my work (unless it is a painting). I do use a lot of “ready-mades” and usually keep the original color of the object.
7. How is your art beneficial for the world?
I do not create something in order it to be beneficial for the world. I don’t think that is selfish. My art is very confessional. It might become beneficial for someone, however, that’s out of my control. Which is a good thing.
8. Do you think that Frank Stella was right when he said that ‘Painting is a flat surface with paint on it – nothing more. It is physical object rather than a metaphor for something else. What you see is what you see.’ Why?
If we talk about a painting as a “thing” - yes. That’s a very pragmatic view and on it and I agree with it. If we talk about what “artwork” is, that a whole different topic.
Artwork that is published in any way - published for a public view, so to say, stands on its own and is whatever the viewer decides it to be.
9. If you had 3 lives, what would you do with them? Would you still be an artist/creative in at least one of them? Why?
10. If you had 3 wishes and a magical power to make them to become true, what those wishes would be?
I wish the number of people on Earth would become much smaller without any “damage”. All my other wishes are already in the making and I have a lot of them.
(Ieva Lygnugaryte, Project Modesty; still from HD video, 2019, collaboration with Kathryn Frey)
11. Do think that being a female artist/creative makes it harder to be noticed in the artworld? Why?
In countries where the human rights are progressed, the situation is improving, but we are currently in the time of transformation. Unfortunately, the situation in countries, where human rights are generally less progressed, becoming a successful artist for a woman isn’t often even an option.
(Ieva Lygnugaryte, page From art book "Encyclopedia Universalis", 2018, collaboration with Elena Marshall)
12. Do you think that degree in arts will help one immensely with their practice, or that it only is a tiny piece to the whole picture of what is needed to be an artist? Why?
I think it helps pragmatically. A lot of things are not learnt, but trained there. Some schools teach (or definitely should teach), how to find a studio, a gallery that’s interested in your work, present yourself, sell, make connections, and become financially independent as an artist.
A lot of very talented artists are never recognized because they do not put, or simply don’t know how to put enough effort into the practical part of this profession.
13. What can be done to be a sustainable/environmentally friendly artist in these days?
Do not use artworks that have to be produced from non-sustainable materials. Find a different option. Even better if you speak up about it.
14. Do you believe that anything is possible?
15. ONLY IF YOU ANSWERED 14th QUESTION WITH A YES – Why don’t you go and make 10th question’s answers a reality? What is in your way?
I am afraid one life’s not enough to figure out how would I do that… Maybe that could be an answer to the question number 9?
(Ieva Lygnugaryte, Dear 2, 2019)