Rolandas Andrijauskas’ exhibition “Let’s Meet at Anthology” will be opened in September 11, 1 p.m.

The exhibition in Photography Museum will be on display September 11 – October 10, 2021.

‘Emotional and intellectual friendship’ is the best way to describe the relationship born in the 90s between the famous Lithuanian-American poet and avant-garde movie maker Jonas Mekas and the arrivals to New York from the recently independent Lithuania – photographer Arūnas Kulikauskas, painter Eugenijus Varkulevičius-Varkalis, musician Dalius Naujokaitis, cinema director Vytautas V. Landsbergis, painter Audrius Naujokaitis, movie maker Julius Ziz (Žižliauskas), photographer Rolandas Andrijauskas, and a few other young Lithuanian artists starved for American and global culture.

The exhibition Let’s Meet at Anthology includes Rolandas Andrijauskas’s – who continues to live in New York – photographs capturing the relationship of this group. Anthology Film Archives, storing and showing non-commercial avant-garde movies from around the world up to this day, is a non-governmental organization established by Jonas Mekas and a few like-minded friends in the early 70s in Manhattan, New York. R. Andrijauskas’s photography shows that J. Mekas and his surrounding group of friends paid little attention to mundane matters or money and were mostly occupied with creative work, art, and freedom. R. Andrijauskas and others who mingled at Anthology Film Archives back then could surely remember the unrestrained musical improvising and other creative ventures that demonstrate the group’s unique noble spirit and unity.

R. Andrijauskas stood out at the ‘Mekasesque’ Anthology Film Archives because he studied philosophy at the Lomonosov Moscow State University before coming to New York. Primum vivere, deinde philosophari! – First live, then philosophize! This moral maxim from the Roman times fairly aptly describes the young photographer R. Andrijauskas’s beliefs as he entered America. J. Mekas and his close people of culture and artists managed to shape their surroundings to exclude any cold theory – everything was tested in real life on the spot. Philosophical thinking tends to create concepts to explain the meanings of the world. R. Andrijauskas and his buddies contradicted this stance with a live, spontaneous, uninhibited, natural existence.

Anyone who has spent any time in New York could tell you that running into J. Mekas and his world would instantly change everything – entitlement would be replaced by a feast of insignificance, repetitiveness would be changed into uniqueness, seriousness – into laughter. Open to the world and discoveries, the personalities who lived and created at the Anthology Film Archives back then would draw anyone in. It is where most of the mentioned young people developed as artists and discovered their individual style. Although it seems that J. Mekas was a leader in a sense, he would expressly reject such title. Friends at the Anthology Film Archives nurtured a non-hierarchical atmosphere.

It is of symbolic significance that R. Andrijauskas’s photographs are exhibited in Šiauliai, where the artist was born and spent his childhood. The exhibition of photography sheets is the artist’s homecoming, reminding us that photography, while having documentary value, is born primarily out of play; as if you were a child, you take the camera and start testing the capabilities of photographic art. R. Andrijauskas’s exhibition Let’s Meet at Anthology is also an invitation to the viewer, encouraging to free your creative curiousness, stop fearing life, and bravely plunge into friendship with people around you. This way, the Anthology Film Archives could live today in Lithuania and many more countries around the globe.

Dr. Ramūnas Čičelis

Lithuanian Council for Culture
Šiauliai City Municipality