Language of Signs in Metal and Enamel
Exhibition of Naglis Rytis Baltusnikas
by Ermina Taujenyt
Theme and content
Black and white road signs – that was the first impression when
seeing the exhibition of Naglis Rytis Baltusnikas’ works called
Spaudai / Prints.
prototype of metal plates is license numbers and road signs. Baltusnikas
applies this preconception and with laconic comments he adds ironic inscriptions
or notes to upset our conceptions. The original technical artistic expression
puzzles the spectator. The works are created by using metal and enamel.
Monochrome colouring – black and white – creates a sharp contrast,
intensity and topicality to the pieces. It seems that the works seek to
be relocated from the closed space of a gallery to the living environment
of the public space.
contour on a white background is consistent to almost every work, except
The Sky /Dangus, where white lines have black background. This particular
work refers to an ironic art- project called ‘Collect Beer Glasses
and Become a Collector’. What is more important – the text
or the shape of the signs?
Both elements compose a unified contradiction. People are portrayed in
movement or exercising, e.g. _aukia /Calling, Ekvilibristas / Equilibrist.
Distinct lines, which rarely fill the entire space in rich black colour
express the desirable perfect visual angle to the accompanying. Remember,
Christmas is not a Game! / Atsimink, Kal_dos – ne _aidimas is a
sarcastic text next to a man fighting a bear.
The plot captures our attention. The artist plays with the form expressing
the idea. The works’ rigidity is created by the frame encircling
all of his works. A thin line which doesn’t destroy the composition;
on the contrary, it creates a separate field of action. One of the exhibits,
a self-portrait called A_ / Me, has no touch of the straight and uniform
line characteristic to the other pieces. The said work is notable for
its oval frame like on old photographs. The self-portrait itself is made
with the same technique; facial features are drawn in rich black enamel
Next, there is a cycle of five works. Oblong pieces marked with: a, b,
c, d and e. Similar to the sequence of the alphabet, the shape is in gradual
ascent. The whole space is filled with synchronic vertical strokes depicting
a ladder, creating the illusion that the image portrays a physical exercise.
The artist refuses to use the physical form as a symbolic sign. Baltu_nikas
is primarily a printmaker. His strange symbolic works exist on the border
between art and public signage. Their effect is quite stunning. They would
look good on the main-street. He expands the concept of classical graphic
arts. Objects depicted by the artist balance on a thin line between funny
and absurd and social and cultural stereotypes.