Unreality of Reality of Jurgis Baltrušaitis

Ieva Kotryna Skirmantaitė and Akvilė Kabašinskaitė

‘It was a mysterious person. Everything he wanted to say he wrote in his books’ wrote art historian Jean-Francois Chevrier in his biography about Jurgis Baltrušaitis (1903-1988), art historian and art critic, a founder of comparative art research. The video invites to a journey with art historian Odeta Žukauskienė through the books of Jurgis Baltrušaitis and main topics of his research – Medieval decoration, imaginary forms, anamorphoses, aberrations and irregular perspectives. It was important for Baltrušaitis to find common mechanisms of fantasy or imagination that float from one culture to another by acquiring different forms. Baltrušaitis brought innovation to art research, by publishing books on art from the Caucasus, the interaction between Eastern and Western art during the Middle Ages, the imagery of fantasy, distorted perspectives, and enigmatic vision. His work received wide recognition: his books, written in French, were awarded prizes, and translated into Italian, Spanish, English, Romanian, Japanese and other languages.

Jurgis Baltrušaitis spent most of his life in Paris and wrote in French, though he never lectured there. Born in Moscow, a son to a Lithuanian diplomat and writer, Juozas Baltrušaitis studied in Sorbonne, lectured in Kaunas and Warburg Institute London. After WWII he delivered lectures in New York University, Yale University, Harvard University and Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Ieva Kotryna Skirmantaitė (b. 1994) is a video artist interested in alternative documentary forms in theory and in practice. By capturing and connecting real events, other people’s practices, discussions, sounds and bits from everyday life, she has found a way to create an imaginary path and to reveal invisible excitements and anxieties. She explores how different technical qualities of the digital image act as separate memory systems and represent different contemporary political and economical values.

Akvilė Kabašinskaitė (b. 1990) is a professional film researcher working in film production in parallel. She lives and works in Paris. Previously she had studied Culture Mediation in Sorbonne Paris 3 and wrote her masters on the research for documentaries. Currently she is doing an MA thesis about the construction of a documentary film.

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