New discoveries are all a part of the thrill within the build-up to a brand new exhibition. However within the case of Dulwich Image Gallery’s new present, M.Okay. Čiurlionis: Between Worlds, the whole exhibition must be a revelation to audiences within the UK.
The composer and painter Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875-1911) is a nationwide hero in Lithuania, the place nearly his complete output of greater than 300 work, drawings and sketches is housed within the M.Okay. Čiurlionis Nationwide Museum of Artwork in Kaunas. Greater than 100 of those works have been loaned to Dulwich Image Gallery.
“These are works recognized to a only a few folks outdoors Lithuania,” says the curator, Kathleen Soriano, who additionally organised Harald Sohlberg: Portray Norway on the gallery in 2019. The Dulwich Image Gallery is beginning to acquire a popularity for championing northern European artists, a few of which can be unfamiliar to British audiences, with earlier exhibits devoted to the Norwegian painter Nikolai Astrup and the Finnish illustrator Tove Jansson.
Although steeped in Lithuanian folklore and mythology, Čiurlionis’s visionary work in pastels and tempera have interaction with the resurgence of spirituality and the search for a brand new inventive language that was prevalent in fin-de-siècle Europe.
Shock of the brand new
His affiliation with Symbolism and the affect of Japanese prints in his work have underpinned earlier exhibitions in Paris and Tokyo, however Soriano says that it’s time Čiurlionis was checked out on his personal phrases. “He’s an artist who actually does deserve consideration,” she says. “Čiurlionis was witness to a dramatically altering world, at a time when artists had been fighting the lack of faith, Darwinism, the arrival of electrical energy and radio, the shift from rural to city life.”
Čiurlionis was a musical prodigy and commenced his inventive profession as a composer. His work, which had been made in six intensely inventive years between 1903 and 1909, evoke music of their titles, their lyrical depth, and in elements of their composition. His seven sonata cycles, together with Sonata No. 5 (Sonata of the Sea), every observe the sample of the musical type, whereas in Rustle of the Forest (1904) the fingers of a breeze strum timber like a harp. Čiurlionis “tried to make use of music methods in work, he tried to create rhythm as it’s in music,” explains Daina Kamarauskienė, the director of the M.Okay. Čiurlionis Nationwide Museum.
His research in Warsaw and Leipzig, and a interval in St Petersburg, introduced Čiurlionis throughout the orbit of the most important mental and creative circles of the time. Like lots of his contemporaries, comparable to his fellow synaesthetic composer Alexander Scriabin, Čiurlionis was within the esoteric faith of theosophy, and the blurring of boundaries between portray and music.
Shyness and his dedication to Lithuania’s cultural revival set him aside, confining him to the fringes of those circles. Though he achieved solely restricted success in his brief life he was influential however, feted by Igor Stravinsky and Kazimir Malevich, and later by the French avant-garde composer Olivier Messiaen.
In Winter (1907), considered one of a number of portray cycles featured within the exhibition, Čiurlionis retains a way of narrative, even whereas figuration dissolves into abstraction. Wassily Kandinsky was definitely conscious of Čiurlionis’s work, although claims that Čiurlionis had “crushed” Kandinsky to abstraction had been later vigorously refuted by Kandinsky’s spouse Nina.
For an artist who imagined “the entire world as an awesome symphony”, the illustration of Čiurlionis’s music presents a key problem to curators. It’s one met on this exhibition by an audio information and a programme of recitals within the gallery’s mausoleum. “Čiurlionis is a family title in Lithuania,” says the gallery’s director Jennifer Scott, and “this exhibition will reveal why.”
• M.Okay. Čiurlionis: Between Worlds, Dulwich Image Gallery, London, 21 September-12 March 2023