Jonas Meškauskas’s artistic medium is monochrome painting on cardboard. He started with the theme of Moonscapes, which eventually extended into parallel sub-series: abandoned interiors, forests, Antarctica, travelling bells, etc. Based on documentation of reality, but eventually departing from it, these motifs serve as attempts to establish a dialogue between alienated reality and domesticated unreality, to capture the uncertainty hovering between them. The friability of the chosen medium – cardboard – seems to contradict the durability and prestige of the painting medium, and encourages us to question the concepts of sustainability and beauty. The emphatically anti-painterly neutrality of colour gives Meškauskas’s works a sense of frozen reality, which determines the bipolarity of their form and content – being here and there, inside and outside at the same time.
Eventually, this search crystallized into a series of works that Meškauskas titled Ghosts. The artist presents creative work and himself in it as an inevitable result of the evolution of humanity itself, or a dystopian model of it, in which optimistic dreams somehow become ephemeral ghosts. Exploring the nature of images, the artist raises the question to what extent knowledge is conditioned by direct interpretation, and states that it is not the experience itself, but rather its trace that is the source of a ghostly image. In this wide array of ghostly motifs, apparent tensions appear, suggesting to the viewer a fragmentary visual crime story. Just, unlike the usual story based on the narrative logic, (pseudo- and anti-) narratives emerge, disrupting the fundamental understanding of reality and taking us to a virtual almost hyper-reality or reduced reality. Thus, in the end, this set of static images, along with invisible tensions, turns out to be just a decoy, offering a network of interpretive solutions – or, rather, narrative impasses.
Jonas Meškauskas (b. 1998) is a painter of the young generation. Currently he studies painting at Vilnius Academy of Arts. From 2018 he takes part in creative residencies, from 2020 – in group exhibitions. In 2021, he held a solo exhibition in Lukiškės Prison. In 2022, he was a finalist of the Young Painter’s Prize competition.