Ongoing Exhibitions

From Mammoth Tusk to Sapphires in Gold Mounts: Aleksandras Šepkus 2017 06 07

The exhibition contains 45 pieces of jewellery: bracelets, rings, crosses, pendants, and earrings. It offers a rare opportunity to admire the works created by the most famous Lithuanian jeweller Aleksandras Šepkus in different stages of his career, to trace the features characteristic of a concrete period, and to acclaim the originality of his art. The earliest work in the exhibition – a brooch “Bird in the Night” (silver, enamel, walrus tusk) – was created in 1980 and appears in this exhibition courtesy of the Lithuanian Art Museum. All in all, 7 examples of Šepkus’s early work are presented. Their closed miniature world expresses the thirst for freedom that was in the air in the 1980s, and the secretly cherished hopes for a different life. Mythological artistic thinking is revealed in the bracelet inscribed with poetry by Henrikas Radauskas (courtesy of Lida Kuzmienė). Pendants made from mammoth tusk reflect the world of perplexing fantasies and anthropomorphic images. The researcher of the artist’s work, Rūta Pileckaitė, emphasizes that Šepkus is known from his “Lithuanian” period as an innovator who has strongly influenced the modernization processes of Lithuanian art jewellery with his ideas, and “has established the understanding of a piece of jewellery as a miniature work meant for wearing and equal to a work of fine art, and has formed the so-called ‘exhibition’ trend in Lithuanian jewellery”.
 
Works by Šepkus created in New York after 1988 are made from gold and inlaid with diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, and other precious stones. The talented creator works with very expensive, sometimes exotic materials, and the forms of his jewellery are associated with Mayan and American Indian, as well as ancient Oriental and Christian Byzantine cultures, the Art Nouveau style, and the work by the prominent Austrian artist Gustav Klimt. Šepkus does not conceal that the relation to the history of art is very important to him, and shows “that without losing his inner self and individuality, the artist realizes his work as part of the history of world culture” (Rūta Pileckaitė). While assessing Šepkus’s work, art critics and colleagues draw attention to the fact that he creates extraordinary works of pure art, which are not only beautiful artworks, but also pieces of jewellery that are comfortable to wear.
 
Aleksandras Šepkus was born in 1954. He attended the Kaunas 5th secondary school, in 1972 entered the Industrial Art Department of the Vilnius Art Institute, and finished his studies there in 1977. In 1988, he moved to the United States. In 1992, he founded the Alex Šepkus company in Manhattan. Works by Šepkus are on sale in almost 150 art galleries in America and other countries. In Europe, the Church Heritage Museum in Vilnius has the exclusive right to exhibit his works. “From Mammoth Tusk to Sapphires in Golden Mountings: Aleksandras Šepkus” is a retrospective exhibition. Works for this exhibition have been lent by the Lithuanian Art Museum and private persons, collectors. The newest pieces of jewellery created by the artist are also exhibited.
 
Exhibition organizers: Aleksandras Šepkus and the Church Heritage Museum
The exhibition organizers are grateful for the courtesy of the Lithuanian Art Museum and all owners of the exhibited works





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