The 1st Public Art Triennial: Expert Experiences and Dedication to Klaipėda Tiles

On 20 September 2019, Klaipėda Culture Communication Centre (KCCC) holds the 1st Public Art Triennial featuring street art workshops, lectures on public art experiences in Lithuania and the world, and discussions. The triennial will be crowned by the presentation of the street art project Disruption 07: Tiles by Portuguese artist Diogo Machado aka Add Fuel, specially developed for Klaipėda.

Experts to share global experience

The origins of the 1st Public Art Triennial can be traced back to the exhibition From the Street to the Gallery by artist Tadas Vincaitis-Plūgas, held in the Exhibition Hall of the KCCC two years ago, and the neo-fresco Girls by the same artist on the building at Gulbių Str.2 in Klaipėda as a follow-up of the exhibition. In accordance with the data of a sociological survey Klaipėda Culture through Citizens' Eyes, commissioned by the Culture Department of the Klaipėda City Municipality, the street art work born on the KCCC initiative was the one best appreciated by Klaipedians.

Artist Tadas Vincaitis aka Plūgas (Plough) was also invited to participate in the first triennial. This time, he will act as a mentor to the younger generation, running a street art workshop for children and young people in Dienovidžio Square (Didžioji Vandens Str. / Tomo Str.). In July, the installation Wall / Siena by KCCC art resident Yuri Shtapakov (St. Petersburg, Russia) was erected there. The author suggested that the city community leave their marks on the artwork – put up ads and drawings or try their hand at spray painting or graffiti art. The participants of the street art workshop together with Vincaitis-Plūgas will take advantage of this proposal: the installation will become a creative platform for their graffiti.

Simultaneously, the theoretical part of the triennial will be held at the KCCC Exhibition Hall. Experts from Norway, Poland, Portugal, and Lithuania have been invited to give presentations on street art. The morning session will be opened by Laima Nomeikaitė from the Norwegian Cultural Heritage Research Institute NIKU (Oslo, Norway). In her presentation Street Art as Cultural Heritage: Challenges and Opportunities, she will focus on the relationship between street art and cultural heritage in Norway and the Stavanger Street Art Festival Nuart. Barbara Sroka from the Urban Culture Institute (Gdansk, Poland) will introduce the street art festival held in Gdansk, in Zaspa housing estate (a bedroom district). The topic of her presentation is Monumental Art Collection in Zaspa District of Gdansk.

In the afternoon, the session will be continued by Tomas Grigalavičius (Kaunas, Lithuania), initiator of the mobile street art exhibition Bye to Oldies, Hi to the Newies to be held in Kaunas. He will give a presentation Street Art as Part of the City's Identity: the Story of Kaunas Trolleybuses. Dr. Raimonda Nabažaitė, researcher of the Institute of Baltic Region History and Archeology, will speak about the tiles of Klaipėda. This topic is particularly close to her: in 2016, she defended her doctoral dissertation Stove Tile Making in Klaipėda in the Late Middle Ages and Modern Times: between Innovation and Cultural Tradition. The topic of her presentation will be European Culture and Citizen Ambitions on Klaipėda Tiles.

The topic of Klaipėda tiles is closely related to the focus of the triennial: a neo-fresco on the wall of the KCCC Exhibition Hall (in the courtyard of the History Museum of Lithuania Minor) by Portugeese artist Diogo Machado aka Add Fuel, KCC art resident. Diogo Machado will introduce his work and the latest item, made specially for the Klaipėda City on the subject of Klaipėda tiles which reflects motifs of the historical 14th through the 19th century tile artefact archives, thus relating a piece of contemporary art to the historical context of Klaipėda and public urban spaces.

Following the question-and-answer session and the discussion, moderated by art critic Goda Giedraitytė, the action of the triennial of street art will transfer to the street or, to be more exact, to the courtyard of the History Museum of Lithuania Minor, where the street art project Disruption 07: Tiles, implemented by Portugeese artist Diogo Machada aka Add Fuel on September 14 through 19, will be introduced to the triennial participants and the city community.

Tiles as Add Fuel's source of inspiration

The title of the project Disruption reflects the creative manner of Add Fuel – his neo-frescoes feature new interpretations of the traditional tile design language. The Disruption 07: Tiles was inspired by the main visual elements of Klaipėda tiles: a monochromatic bas-relief and a naturalistic theme. The image of the project is reminiscent of tile elements as if emerging from the wall, consisting of differently painted surfaces with two predominant tile colour combinations - brown terracotta and natural green. The work has a predominant "zoom" effect - the classic architectonic elements of nature and mythology on tiles are interpreted by Add Fuel into a three-dimensional image.

Add Fuel is Portuguese visual artist and illustrator Diogo Machado (born 1980). After completing his studies in graphic design at the Institute of Visual Arts, Design, and Management in Lisbon, he spent several years working in design studios in Portugal, followed by a traineeship in Munich, Germany. Since 2007, the artist has concentrated exclusively on creative work. Nicknamed Add Fuel to the Fire, he created a dark and visually rich universe filled with playful, slimy eccentric creatures. The artist was engaged in a broad field of activities, ranging from video games, comics, animation, low budget movies, and toys to street art.

Fascinated by the aesthetic opportunities of symmetrical modeling and mosaic making, in 2008, he shortened his nickname and began to focus on a new interpretation of the traditional tile design language, more specifically, on the Portuguese azulejo, painted tin-glazed ceramic tilework. By combining these two seemingly incompatible visual idioms with ease, the artist currently aims to blend traditional decorative elements with a contemporary visual context, thus creating new forms that reveal impressive complexity and masterful attention to detail. Large-format works featuring tiles may, at first glance, seem like a simple stylization of classical art, but a closer look reveals original motifs and a world of characters conveyed with irony and humor. The artist as if plays with the observer of the work and offers them multiple possibilities of interpretation. The multi-layered and visual illusion of the author's works, resulting from symmetrical repetitions, creates an impression of balance and harmony. Using a variety of creative techniques, including drawing, painting, pottery processing, and manual and digital printing, the artist creates a sophisticated dialogue between the old and the new, between the heritage and modernity.

Diogo Machado lives and works in Cascais, Portugal. He creates public art not both in his homeland and in foreign countries. The artist has presented his work in solo and group exhibitions in the most famous galleries in Portugal, UK, Norway, USA, Germany, Switzerland, etc. and participated in the most famous urban art events: Nuart Festival, Public, Sacramento Mural Fest, Forgotten Project, Djerbahood, Tour Paris, and more.

The creative work of Diogo Machado aka Add Fuel is curated by Mistaker Maker, a Lisbon artistic intervention platform. This platform promotes the development of contemporary art projects and artistic activities by integrating different audiences as well as initiates the creation of artistic products of social, cultural, tourism, and economic value nationally and internationally. Mistaker Maker provides consulting, mentoring, and creative services, seeks collaboration across various sectors, institutions, and actors, and creates networks between artists, cultural figures, and exhibition spaces and venues. The results of this collaboration include public art events, exhibitions, art residencies, workshops, branding campaigns, and other activities.

PROGRAMME OF THE 1ST PUBLIC ART TRIENNIAL

Friday, September 20

Dienovidžio Square, Yuri Shtapakov's installation Wall / Siena

9.00 – 12.00. Street art workshops for children and youth. Facilitator: artist Tadas Vincaitis aka Plūgas. 

KCCC Exhibition Hall (Didžioji Vandens Str. 2, Klaipėda)

10.00. Laima Nomeikaitė (Oslo, Norway). Street Art as Cultural Heritage: Challenges and Opportunities.

11.00. Barbara Sroka (Gdansk, Poland). Monumental Art Collection in Zaspa District of Gdansk.

14.00. Tomas Grigalevičius (Kaunas, Lithuania), Street Art as Part of the City's Identity: the Story of Kaunas Trolleybuses.

15.00. Raimonda Nabažaitė (Klaipėda, Lithuania). European Culture and Citizen Ambitions on Klaipėda Tiles.

16.00. Mistaker Maker (Lisbon, Portugal) will introduce portuguese artist Add Fuel who will present his work and neo-fresco produced in Klaipeda.

Till 17.30, a question-and-answer session and discussion. Moderator: art critic Goda Giedraitytė.

Courtyard of the History Museum of Lithuania Minor

18.00. Presentation of the street art project Disruption 07: Tiles by Portugeese artist Diogo Machado aka Add Fuel.

Admission is free.