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  • Austė Parulytė

"Archiforma" magazine | Interview about my artistic relationship with architecture

(author: Elena Paleckytė)


How do you see architecture in your work? Is it interesting as a space where a person works and lives, or in itself - as an aesthetic image, pattern, rhythm, or ornament?

I have always been influenced by composition and space - I am simply interested in observing the environment and reflecting on how different elements and their interrelationship forms the overall picture, what we feel in it. Therefore, it is not surprising that the architecture, which has both these points - composition / structure and control of space - attracted attention as a very impressive aesthetic construct that one wants to interpret, develop, not to let it go so easily. Architecture is a motive for creation to occur.

Often, you intuitively want to find out more about something that excites you, so I recently noticed that I listen, watch, read and talk about architecture more and more with people. From conversations about the (non-architects') personal relationship with architecture and the living environment - a project recently emerged - a series of 25 illustrations of Vilnius districts.

Your creative lines are clean, minimalistic, spacious, you write on your website that this minimality is enough. Do you see any similarity in your work with the ideas of modernist architecture, if so, was it a conscious choice or just an aesthetic feeling?

Since I didn't have any education related to architecture, I couldn't consciously lean towards one idea or another when I started to create. Maybe it's just the moment’s aesthetic sense? I often find creation as a counterbalance to the fast pace of life, the chaos of life, noise of information - so when I create, I want to purify lines, forms, and their mutual relationship as much as possible. Don't want unnecessary details. A task that I often set for myself - to say as much as possible with as little as possible - is interesting, engaging, and meditative.

Lately, you have been sharing graphic explorations of Vilnius districts. What did you discover and what do you want to tell with your works?

My original goal, from which I started the Vilnius districts project, was a simple and selfish desire to get to know my hometown better. Districts have always interested me as completely unknown phenomena with their history, communities, atmosphere and dynamics, rules. True autonomous micro-worlds. I chose conversations with Vilnius residents about their living environment as the key to getting to know Vilnius better, and then, as a reflection of all my contacts, I created illustrations of 25 districts. In the illustration of each district are depicted those objects that are primarily associated with it for people who grew up or live in that district, are in one way or another precious.

Since the sample of people interviewed was not large, I do not want to generalize too much, but I noticed that the residents of the right side of Neris attached more importance to places or objects where or around which they gather with friends, neighbours, etc. For example, children's playgrounds, courtyards of apartment buildings with benches, fountains, parks. Residents of the 12 districts on the left side of the Neris often named objects related to culture (museums, sculptures, etc.), churches or temples. I couldn't devote as much time to it as I wanted to while I was working on this creative task. In the near future, I intend to implement a similar project in Kaunas. This time I intend to document the interviews, devote more energy and time to it.

You create ideogram on the theme of architecture. What do you call an ideogram and how did you start creating them?

I call ideograms my works in which I extend the volumetric architecture recorded in photographs with flat graphic elements. It's my way of rethinking and interpreting architecture for myself, and it's also interesting to play with different realities - of the photo and beyond - combining them to create my own one. And architecture as the main motif of ideograms came - as in other creations - as a catchy aesthetic image, what interests me in cities, what I observe, what I capture in photographs while traveling.

I created the first series of ideograms after returning from a creative workshop in India, in the seventh grade. True, then, 13 years ago, there were temples and religious ceremonies in the photos, and I extended the reality outside the photo not with graphic design tools, but with watercolors, but the principle of playing with realities was the same. I remembered all this after already creating ideograms for a while. It served as a reminder for me that everything is connected much more than we think or remember.


You create not only for yourself - as a graphic designer, you have collaborated with the European Commission's representative office in Lithuania, Abstract Stylist magazine, and you have also started collaboration with a project curated by Volkswagen Autostadt in Germany... How important is collaboration with others to you?

Collaboration in a broad sense is important to me for the same reason as communication - you can get out of your, in a sense, "tunnel" thinking and see yourself, the environment and the world in a different way. “Catches fire” from the same source, you can create something unexpected and beautiful.

I also love what collaborating with others gives me as a creator. Each client and project come with different tasks and a different field of topics. Sometimes, it is interesting not only to get acquainted with various industries, but also to try to be creative within the framework the customer brings. It's like an occasional necessary vacation from unrestrained creativity, where you leave a lot of energy whether you like it or not.

What are your future plans? Are you ever going to fully immerse yourself in creativity only <...>?


In terms of creative plans, I would like to devote more energy to the themes of architecture and the relationship of man with his living environment in the context of specific cities. That's how Kaunas and Lisbon appeared in my post-pandemic plans. Recently, I also feel the desire to employ my hands, so in Vilnius, with the help of designers, craftsmen, specialists, I am learning about different materials and their processing. I am currently working very slowly on a series of interior details on the theme of my favourite buildings from different periods.

(excerpt of Elena Paleckytė's interview with me; published in "Archiforma" magazine, issue: 2020-1,2)

: translated by Kotryna Caraitė


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