Jonas Mekas, one of the world’s most renowned artists from Lithuania – passed on the morning of January 23, 2019. Famous artists from around the world, the highest leaders of our country all bowed their heads in respect.
Known beyond the boundaries of his homeland of Lithuania as the father of avant-garde film, Jonas is best known in his place of birth as a poet and an intellectual thinker. He continued to work and create until his very last day and he left a deep impression on the history of film. Mekas was not only a close friend and colleague of many famous artists of the 20th and 21st Centuries, but also their inspiration. Jonas Mekas’ name stands alongside Andy Warhol, George Maciunas, John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
Jonas was a completely global citizen, but he always remained true in his heart to his roots, his home country. The issue of identity is always an important one to artists. Who is he, where is he, what is he like as a person, as a soul, as a Lithuanian? What are the boundaries for those who leave Lithuania? Do they cease to exist as Lithuanians once they leave their homeland? Jonas’ ties to Lithuania were important to him and this is witnessed by the fact that Jonas Mekas entrusted the rights to his creative film heritage to the Visual Arts Center.
The Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center presents The World According to Mekas with a screening of his films. We invite you to remember those films that epitomized the filmmaker’s creativity, even though there are so many more.
The Brig (1964), Lost, Lost, Lost (1976), Zefiro Torna or Scenes from the Life of George Maciunas (1992), Outtakes from the Life of a Happy Man (2013).
Addressing why people would rather watch Hollywood banality than the ecstasy of avant-garde films, Mekas said, “Hollywood films reflect a simpler reality, banal emotions and ideas. Avant-garde films capture subtle experiences, ideas and the nuances of insight are brightly highlighted.” That is also our goal: to infect as many people as possible with a “Mekas-ish” love for non-Hollywood film, so that people could take a deeper look at themselves and return to values that are real.
Jonas was a teacher and inspiration for an entire galaxy of young Lithuanian film artists: Audrius Stonys, Vytautas V. Landsbergis, Algimantas Maceina, Arturas Jevdokimovas. They were lucky enough to intern at Jonas Mekas’ Anthology Film Archives in New York.
During the The World According to Mekas film festival, some of his students, i.e. Arūnas Matelis, Audrius Stonys and Arturas Jevdokimovas will share their reminiscences about the artist. Film critic Rasa Paukštytė will introduce the avant-garde films.
An exhibition by photo artist Saulius Paukštys about Jonas Mekas will also welcome guests to the JMVMC.
September 17 Tuesday 6PM
The Brig (1964). Introduced by Rasa Paukštytė.
September 18 Wednesday 6PM
Lost, Lost, Lost (1976). With Director Arturas Jevdokimovas.
September 19 Thursday 6PM
Outtakes from the Life of a Happy Man (2012). With Director Arūnas Matelis
September 20 Friday 6PM
Zefiro Torna or Scenes from the Life of George Maciunas (1992). With Director Audrius Stonys