Sauka was born in 1958 in Vilnius. From 1978 to 1985 he studied at the Lithuanian State Art Institute (now Vilnius Academy of Arts). In 1989 he received the Lithuanian has been a member of Group 24. Sauka’s works are held in the collections of the Lithuanian Art Museum, the Museum of the Vilnius Academy of Arts, as well as in private collections in Lithuania and abroad.

‘The artist tries to register ghosts abiding in human imagination rather than reflect images of the real world. However, it would be hardly worthwhile taking interest in Sauka’s works, if he merely demonstrated the possibilities of his imagination. (…). Often the painter himself is a participant of the situations created in his paintings.

There have been many attempts to describe those situations, and most often they were called rituals carrying a religious meaning. As we know, such a ritual means an event in the course of which a sacrificer makes a sacrifice in order to expiate his sins.

The rituals in Sauka’s works should not be attributed to any concrete church or belief, though we can find details reminiscent of, let’s say, pagan rites or Christian symbols. Here the relation of positive and negative actions is always important: sacrifice means performing a negative action (real or symbolic annihilation of a victim) in order to achieve a positive value – expiation of guilt, return to the state of innocence. Just as sacrificing is cruel, Sauka’s paintings are cruel.

In the majority of Sauka’s paintings the artist himself in his symbolic embodiment in a self-portrait performs all acts of sacrificing.

He is both a shaman performing the sacrifice, and a victim. It reveals that Sauka’s painting represents a spiritual action performed by the artist. Painting as purification. But in Sauka’s work this word does not have the meaning of bodiless sanctimony common to our art, when hints of a mystical experience conceal creative impotence or ideological aims (for example, the majority of works created on state commission are marked by this kind of impotence.’

Jonas Valatkevicius