M. Saukaitė

Šarūnas Sauka: the genius from Dusetos

An artist who analyses the human body with anatomical accuracy; a surrealist who often uses his own image in his paintings; a man who spends hours on end working on his paintings, honing every detail with incredible precision. His works are ironic and self-deprecating, provocative, critical of society’s norms and flaws, repulsive or luxurious – and the stories they tell are frightful or filled with laughter.

The everyday life of this artist, a winner of the National Prize for Culture and Arts, is near the border of Lithuania, in Dusetos, where he creates his mythic world. Numerous admirers line up to see his work in Vilnius, and for some of his exhibitions the National Art Gallery has had to extend its opening hours so that everyone interested had a chance to visit. Šarūnas Sauka is one of the most prominent contemporary Lithuanian painters. Intertwined in his work are personal experiences, images of himself and members of his family, small details of everyday life and biblical subjects. His paintings have been acquired by all the country’s leading museums, as well as by private collectors in Lithuania and abroad.

“Sauka cannot be understood without the events of the Soviet era. In a system that ruined the person, the hair-raising rituals, distorted states of consciousness, and images seeping with absurdity appeared to be the response of a healthy psyche to an abnormal reality. The works of the artist had the effect of the collective subconscious surfacing from the shadows. Battered, but still alive. Full of certainty, however hard it could be to bear.” Art critic Monika Krikštopaitytė