Modern Lithuanian

Contemporary interpretation of classical painting.

Collage out of magazine paper pieces I brought to life – a contemporary interpretation of classical painting “The Reaper Girl” (1844), where the classical portrait of a modern Lithuanian girl is presented in the context of the present-day world.

Agne Kisonaite with her art installation 'Modern Lithuanian'

The original painting of K. Rusiecki “The Reaper Girl” accurately portrays a typical Lithuanian girl of the XIX century: her surroundings, work and clothing style of those times. “Because the main theme of my work is a modern day woman, I decided to demonstrate transformation of a Lithuanian girl from those times to the present day”.

The Reaper - Kanuty Rusiecki
How ‘Modern Lithuanian’ was made

First, I have announced a contest on Facebook, where I was looking for a girl resembling the character from classical K. Rusiecki painting “The Reaper Girl”. The winner of the contest became Milvyde Arlauskaite. Later, Milvyde was painted in my studio with acryl on a 70 cm x 100 cm canvas.
Even though when working on the painting, I was trying to emphasise the similarities with the painting “The Reaper Girl” (both in composition and in colours), the presented interpretation is unusual and modern. The contemporary Modern Lithuanian girl looks like she is posing for a selfie: tilted head, puffed up lips, romantic look in the eyes, while the reaping hook of those times is replaced with the modern day tool – a portable computer.

The portrait of the “Modern Lithuanian Girl” was enlarged to a 2 x 3 metre stand and became an interactive object of art at the World Lithuanian Youth Meeting (PLJS). The participants of the meeting were sticking tiny squared coloured pieces of paper cut out of the magazines on the stand, and this was how the new creation was born – an interactive collage. The entirety of different cuttings created a new unexpected picture: the hand of the Lithuanian girl is depicted from the facial fragments found in the magazines, part of the eye is filled with a clock dial, a piece from the magazine with a knee joint became the tip of the nose.

Artist Agne Kisonaite making of collage "Modern Lithuanian'
Artist Agne Kisonaite making of collage "Modern Lithuanian'
Artist Agne Kisonaite making of collage "Modern Lithuanian'
Artist Agne Kisonaite making of collage "Modern Lithuanian'
Artist Agne Kisonaite making of collage "Modern Lithuanian'

The entirety of different cuttings created a new unexpected picture: the hand of the Lithuanian girl is depicted from the facial fragments found in the magazines, part of the eye is filled with a clock dial, a piece from the magazine with a knee joint became the tip of the nose.

The last strokes of the collage were set in my art studio. It took a total of 13 days of gluing work, while the collage comprises 5348 paper pieces of the equal size. The most difficult part of the project was to select the pieces of the right shades. They had to sort through more than 15000 tiny squares of paper to make sure that the colour gamma of the cuttings corresponds to the colours of the painted portrait and forms the figure of the character of the painting. The author of the idea is convinced that even though this work required a great deal of patience and thoroughness, at the same time it was relaxing and a kind of meditation.

Collage 'Modern Lithuanian'