How the lions were fed by the artists / Prophylactic self-isolation series. Day 177th.

Interview with Violeta Jasevičiūtė, Rolandas Rimkūnas and Evaldas Pauza by Kęstutis Šapoka (1)

R. R.: Tell us about “Subscription for sculpture”

V. J.: It was an environmental art symposium implemented in Kaunas [Lithuania] in 2000 and unexpectedly caused a scandal provoked by the idea of ​​me and Vytautas [Vytautas Umbrasas]. He came up with an idea to lock in cages the lions standing at the Vytautas the Great Museum of War and History (sculptures of the lions).

Sculptures of two lions in front of the building. One of the front paws of both lions is placed on a ball
Astravo lions in front of the Vytautas the Great War Museum in Kaunas, Lithuania. Image author Vdkaromuziejus, source (2)

And where to get money for cages? Then I suggested just feeding those lions. Vytas liked the idea. We came up with the name, “And they shall be satiated …” from the Gospel of Matthew. All this took place before the Kaunas Council city elections.

E. P.: But when we started “feeding”, a guy with a gun ran out of the museum screaming that he would rip us all apart … Because there were also busts by Česlovas Lukenskas, who had already annoyed the museum management. But when they saw those bloody bones in front of the lions, the cup of patience was overflowing. Several persons ran out from the museum, rushing to handle those bones and carry them away.

V. J.: Because of those bones, I called the Zoo before. I asked what the food ration for lions. Said that 7.5 kg. The bones must be fleshy, fresh.

K. Š.: And the municipality gave permission for this campaign?

A. J.: We took care of the permit, because anything you do in a public place needs such a permit. And specifically for the lions, I went to the director of the War Museum, and I politely explained, asking to be allowed to do such a campaign. But it was probably not fully understood what that action would actually look like. Because the reaction was drastic. A letter was created to the media about what kind of vandals we are. Everyone encouraged me to write an answer. But I didn’t write.

Raimis [Raimundas Eimontas] then proposed to organize another, as if in response, action. We rented muzzles for dogs and put them on.

Men in black jackets are standing in line with the muzzles put on
Response to the response on the art action “Subscription for sculpture” by Lithuanian artists (1)

It was funny because Evka [Evaldas Pauza] came to me to complain that he didn’t have a black jacket – we needed black jackets. We all thought feverishly where to get the jacket for Evka.

E. P.: It seems to me that we didn’t have any black jackets, and we all went to borrow them from one lady living near the Kaunas Museum. We got a pair of jackets from her.

V. J.: Yes, that was funny. But when we all lined up in front of the War Museum, wearing muzzles, silence … The bells rang … And at that moment, the tension had a very strong emotional charge, pecking through the brain. I saw Evka was already lurching as the sun was still heating our backs. I thought, he will faint.

Interview is translated from Lithuanian to English by Dr. A. Palatronis

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References:

  1. (In)dependent Contemporary Art History, Edited by Vytautas Michelkevičius and Kęstutis Šapoka, Artist-run initiatives in Lithuania 1987-2014 2nd volume, LTMKS, 2014
  2. Description of the Vytautas the Great War Museum in Kaunas, Lithuania on https://travel.sygic.com/en/poi/vytautas-the-great-war-museum-poi:5428914

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