Valentinas Pečininas. THE BREAKTHROUGH
Photographs and compilation Valentinas Pečininas
Text Dalia Meškauskienė
English text Jurgita Urbonaitė
Jūratė Šarnelienė ir Sandra Veličkaitė
Designer Evaldas Ivanauskas
Issued for publishing Amalkeros leidyba
Released by Baltasis voras
Printed by Aušra
Watching the Breakthrough
What you are reading now is not a traditional review or one of those album presentations that eliminate the necessity to look at the book itself.
If you have just opened the art photography album The Beakthrough by Valentinas Pečininas, you can be sure that Valentinas’ book will draw you in and it will not let you go until you read everything in your own way about what is ‘written’ here. In fact, there is neither written text nor even the titles of the pictures. Valentinas lets the spectator to think of the titles, this way making him a part of the creative process. He lets to create ones own artistic truth. Due to this reason maybe the review should not be written at all, but as I was the first to be given the right to share my thoughts, so, why not to use it? Definitely, everything I declare here is my personal point of view to the creative thought coded in this album. Your personal insights might be completely different...
It could be said that The Breakthrough - art photography album by Valentinas Pečininas, - completes the stage of recognition of its author as a mature artist.
Valentinas Pečininas as a photo artist has been well known far beyond Lithuania’s borders for a long time. So, the question arises: What is the true essence and the meaning of his work? What is this album about? Why is it titled this way?
Multiple answers can be found in the album. Regarding from one of the points of view of choice, one comes to the imminent conclusion that Valentinas’ album is the creator’s invasion into the world of art - the world so well known, but rediscovered anew and every time interpreted differently by different artist. This explanation is very abstract and can be applied to works of all artists. It does not illustrate the idea that this album is distinctive and interesting. So, maybe the secret lies within the artistic means the author has used?
While reviewing the album, you will not find anything new in techniques Valentinas has used. Making photo collages, laying images one over another, paralleling, composing separate elements, searching for unusual textures - all these methods are used by most of the artists. These means of expression by themselves neither create an idea nor reflect the artist’s personality. Some of Valentinas works very strongly resemble to the graphic works of contemporary artists and even to the ancient prints.
These are creative methods used by other artists, too. Then what makes this single unique magnetic core of this album - the core with the drawing force so powerful, that you must see the album till the last page. And even then you want to come back to some of the works as if to check “if it really was like that?” So, what makes the chosen artistic photographs interweave into such oneness which makes you want to say: it is unseen, original, and resourceful?
First of all, the idea itself of this album is interesting. The very title arouses desire to find out who and where is making the breakthrough? What is this existence the author longs to break into - immediately and despite all the obstacles? Valentinas answers these questions untraditionally composing different parts of the book. He compiles the album in such a way that one can feel artist’s aspiration to ascend the higher and better world going from the very first part Temporality of the Essence, demonstrating the fragility of the material existence, to the last part Holly Road, declaring spiritual values and positive belief. Nevertheless, the trail of thought in this album resembles not the straight line, but rather a spiral, or even a curve that all of a sudden shoots upwards in the Ballet part, and then descends almost to the infernal dark abyss in Breathing Africa. People who do not know Valentinas may think that such strong “waving” and “scattering between art and natural mud” is random and unmotivated. But this is not the case as such fluctuation may be seen in Valentinas’ real life as well. He is not satisfied with the status quo. In real life he also attempts to get himself into something where he has not been before, or to be more precise - to get himself into the higher level of being. That is how Valentinas Pečininas turned from a dutiful servant of the law into the devoted teacher and gifted creator of visual arts.
But let us go back to the album! Themes are arranged in such a way that not separate works dominate, but the common line of dramatic composition develops in the whole album. The author sets different parts of the album in a way that liberates the viewer from boredom of reading all those titles under photographs and keeps him intrigued and provokes to thinking: “Well, so what is next?”
Starting with the epic, full of peaceful parallels and comparisons Temporality of the Essence, Valentinas rises without visible efforts to the second part Harmony of Life. The artistic language of the latter part is full of allegories idealising human life, love, and motherhood. Ballet increases emotional tension, because here all contradictions aggravate, as well as desire to break free from the routine. This part is a symbol of artistic maximalism, aspiration for the unattainable ‘Light of Happiness’ of Art. Here you will find a lot of beautiful nonverbal body language that uplifts your thoughts somewhere high to the World of Spirits.
Narrow Gauge Nostalgia is a return to the material and externally defined space. The author as if says: I am here to find the roots of spirituality while searching for the ways to it. Our own history becomes a foundation from which it is possible to run ahead and rise upwards.
Alas, Breathing Africa does not let us rise. It astonishes with its filth, inhumanity, humiliating pain and grief. But even such prose of life can not restrain the artist from breaking forward. His spirit remains free, because it is not easy to catch it and to throw into the sea of mud somewhere in Africa. Eyes see poverty, but the mind tells you that still there is a beautiful and unknown world above us. And though nothing could be done to change the way of life in Africa, this story could be told to the world. Valentinas speaks of it openly, without decorations, concealments, heartily believing that the truth can lead to the light.
After escaping from the weary Africa’s embrace we are flying straight up to the Holly Road. This part symbolizes spaces where human soul lives. The goal artist aspires is somewhere near. But is it attainable? Hardly ever, because the very last work in this album shows us Father Stanislovas leaning on the book he read many times, but still he looks into it like seeing it for the first time...
Now it must be said: “summarizing this all...” but I would rather behave like the photo artist Valentinas Pečininas does. He summarizes things he expressed in his album not in words because there is no part titled “Resume” in the album. Every individual takes and accepts the language of deep thoughts and open sensuality that author speaks to them individually.
Of course, one can think that suggestive manner of presenting photographs is predetermined by the national character of the artist. The book is abundant of sensitiveness and emotionality so characteristic to Russians. But it is also full of Lithuanian symbolic meanings, pure longing, and something else that is common to all people. Valentinas has put in this album most of quivering of his impetuous soul and everyone looking through this album can feel them. Valentinas’ book does not allow remaining a passive spectator. It stimulates to rush forward, to think, and to believe together with the author.
Maybe this was the real intention of the author?
So, you better take a look at the album yourself.