CAC Reading Room presents One Book Exhibition series that every few weeks will feature a different unique artist’s book. The series begins with Lithuanian names.

The first book in the series is Marčiurlionis by Donatas Jankauskas. Jankauskas used a monographic album of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis’ symbolist paintings to make this unique book in 1999. The book was first shown in Jankauskas’ solo exhibition ‘Retrospective’ at the Contemporary Art Centre the same year, as part of the complete oeuvre of the 30-year-old artist; among other pieces there was a photographic self-portrait of Jankauskas disguised as Čiurlionis and a soundtrack of drum & base remixes of Čiurlionis’ symphonic poems (by Donaldas Račys, Darius Plazminas and Rimas Šapauskas). A few years later Jankauskas‘ manner of interpretation was discussed in one of the CAC TV programmes as animinimalism: by means of collage and slight touches of drawing Jankauskas suggests meanings and motives in the monograph’s illustrations that transcend their classic interpretations; the album starts shimmering with images of apes, plants and anthropomorphic details. It is important to consider how these creative gestures are related to cultural cannibalism. When Jankauskas takes the virtuoso artwork and turns it into a germ of his own practice, he shares some of the primitive societies’ belief that by eating strong and reputable enemies one is granted their virtues. Endurance of this conviction in modern culture are widely discussed; for instance, the theme of the 24th international biennial of São Paulo was anthropophagy, a metaphor brought up 70 years earlier by Brazilian modernists who postulated strategies of cultural cannibalism, or ‘critical swallowing’. By adding to the name of Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis, who died in 1911, a particle of the name of Marčiulionis, a famous basketball player and Jankauskas’ contemporary, the artists symbolically invites the former to meet.

In the summer of 2009, when the National Art Gallery finally opens with the exhibition ‘Čiurlionis and His Contemporaries’, the CAC Reading Room introduces Marčiurlionis to the new readers, calling them to revisit the myths of history, genius and insanity.

The CAC Reading Room if open every Tuesday to Saturday 12noon-7pm. It is a resource and project space where one can get to know the publications (catalogues, periodicals, theory, artists’ publications) as well as their makers and readers.