Laura Petrauskaitė: Significance of Artists’ Migration for Modernization of Lithuanian Art
Significance of Artists’ Migration for Modernization of Lithuanian Art: Matas Menčinskas and His Contemporaries
This project, based on the discourse theory and the approaches of social art history, cultural transfers and connected histories, suggests a debate on mobility, migration and circulation concepts and their relation to the modernity discourse by raising a question about the historic dynamics of (artistic) migration and the existence of “modern migration” and its characteristics. The project analyzes the changes in Lithuanian art during the first half of 20th century from the transnational perspective by demonstrating not only well-known interrelations with French and German cultures, but also less known encounters with Latin America. The research extends the perception about the spread of a fluid Latin American culture by engaging Eastern Europe. The project reveals the impact of migration processes on the development of the national state (1918-1940) and the related changes in social and artistic life of Lithuania: social stratification, identity of artists, formation of national art canon etc. The influential examples of cultural connections include, among others, Mateo Manchians-Matas Menčinskas (1897-1942) considered the classic of Lithuanian sculpture who resided in Argentina and Uruguay for seven years; and painter Juan Rimça-Jonas Rimša (1903-1978) who spent nearly four decades travelling around Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia and Ecuador, as well as their careers, artistic production and its reception. The case studies of the above mentioned artists demonstrate that a seemingly “minor phenomenon” or “small connection” might have significant and long-lasting impact not only on the material culture but also on the identity of society.
Laura Petrauskaitė has a background in both the humanities and the social sciences. She graduated from Vilnius University in International and EU Law in 2006. Her LL.M. thesis was closely related to migration and refoulment of refugees. Furthermore, Petrauskaitė studied Art History at Vilnius Academy of Art and completed these studies with distinction in 2014. Currently she is a PhD candidate in Art History at the Lithuanian Culture Research Institute with a focus on the significance of artists’ migration for modernization of Lithuanian art. Her publications have been regularly published in the scholarly press. Her current research interests are: social art history; migration and culture; and cultural transfers between Eastern Europe and Latin America.