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M.K. Čiurlionis

Dreaming of Lithuania

21.09 – 15.12.13

M.K. Ciurlionis. Courtesy, ‘Sparks, III

The visual arts and music have often influenced each other over the centuries, but it is extremely rare to find an artist who practices both disciplines equally well. Mikolajus Konstantinas Čiurlionis (1875-1911) is the exception to the proverbial rule. In his short career, he developed into one of the most intriguing defenders of Synesthesia, an art philosophy that came to prominence around 1900 with the ambitious aim of uniting the various artistic disciplines into a sort of meta-art, or ‘derangement of all the senses’ (to use a phrase borrowed from Rimbaud).

Painting and music
The exhibition was a first in Belgium and offered the public the opportunity to discover a fascinating and multifaceted artist from the Baltic. All of the loans, including over a hundred paintings in addition to drawings and photographs, were made available by the National M. K. Čiurlionis Art Museum of Kaunas. As the exhibition unfolded, visitors could stop and listen to music composed by Čiurlionis.

A selection of works by Belgian contemporaries and kindred spirits, including William Degouve de Nuncques, Fernand Khnopff and Léon Spilliaert, placed his art in a wider context and made it immediately obvious that Čiurlionis was one of greatest talents of the fin de siècle.

The exhibition was part of the cultural program of Lithuania's Presidency of the EU Council.