Valdas Jencius – multidisciplinary artist, with a high interest in photography, painting, video art, poetry and other forms of writing, also urban planning, and architecture. The main focus of his creative activities is concentrated on the contemporary global and local social, anthropological and cultural pictures, as well as a timeless humanistic and psychological motives. Since 2014 his works of art have been exhibited in galleries and other venues in Denmark, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Lithuania, and New York. Articles and photographies are being published in Lithuanian media. Born and raised (1985-2012) in Lithuanian port town Klaipėda. 2012-2017 lived in Copenhagen (Denmark), 2017-2018 – Vilnius, and currently resides in Bergen (Norway). Download the complete introduction of Valdas Jencius (pdf).
I use different disciplines to reflect my artistic ideas which make things tricky when I am asked to introduce myself and to tell who I am. Firstly I became educated in Town and Country Planning and Landscape architecture [Master’s]. That was in 2010 and since then I remain in a still pretty close relations with urban planning. I believe that those professional experiences took a massive part of influence to my multidisciplinary approach in art. I am self-taught in all of them and I consider it as an advantage because of the unlimited freedom out of any academical impact – the freedom to experiment and to search for a personal and for the most sincere way of art in general. My first poems have shown up in 2007 and in a bit later I found that nothing can express the meanings and emotions of my texts better than my own voice. Those thoughts led my poetry to the sounded creations, some of which were even enriched by the video art language. Later in 2012, when I moved to Copenhagen, I found there a very interesting so-called species – species of the urban jungle which cultural backgrounds were the subject of my very first articles in Lithuanian media, first paintings and of course photography of the human beings living there. My art’s work is mainly about to understand better the humanity of our times and myself in eternity, so the focus of all arts’ medias’ I use is mostly concentrated on people and their living surroundings (without forgetting nature and stars). I am equally questioning myself and the inner of separate individuals which I believe can be easily reached by the observation of their outer. And by doing this I try to get the more complete picture of a whole society and our contemporary cultural backgrounds. The way of my tiny activities is most greatly inspired by the one man’s name – Leonardo da Vinci with his universal approach in all arts, science and the synergy of those two.
City life and people
About us and contemporary world
I am not as good as silence
in Lithuanian media
Exhibitions, art-camps, etc.
Books, catalogues, albums
One of the essential features of my photography is that it doesn’t have any colours, just two – black and white. I rejected all others because I believe that in most cases colours distract attention from the essence of photographed human being. Up till now, the main series came from the streets of Paris, Amsterdam, Munich, Milan, Rome, Venice, Bergen, Malta, Vilnius and other European cities including Copenhagen where everything started in 2012. I am exclusively interested in international environments because it gives a wider understanding of contexts which reveals a more clear vision of my own local surroundings and myself among bunch of similarities and differences around this world. While my photo camera is targeting a man it is targeting the social and anthropological understanding. I am trying to get through to the opposite side of social masks and to take a closer look at what is inside. I believe that there lie many answers. Not only about separate individuals but about everything. Sometimes, if I am lucky, it reveals me what I really miss in the contemporary world: humanism, poetry and all the real and natural things in the times of commerce, rush, media, brandings, PR tricks and synthetics without a smell which makes the massive part of how the contemporary world works, so I definitely take those features into the focus of my photo lens. I try to maintain a constant awareness of qualitative dualism, which means that the photo must be marked not only with meaningful content but also to be artistic and “catchy” in order to ever qualify for documental or historical value. As a parallel to the main photographic stream, I am also working with a long exposure experimental artistic photography of cityscapes. Those pictures don’t have any highlighted people, so I don’t intend to steal colours from them. If I am asked about my favourite photographers I would exclude two Frenchmen: Robert Doisneau, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and four Lithuanians: Antanas Sutkus, Vitas Luckus, Romualdas Rakauskas, Algimantas Kunčius. I understand that those men are not contemporary, but at the same time, I believe that like impressionists who depicted the streets of Paris and the social image of their time they will always remain relevant because of their subject which is – us, in our times. I am not talking about the style (even though it was a lovely). I love them because of their subject.
We are all living beings just like animals are. We have eyes, ears, nose, head, brain, heart, blood, skin, muscle, bones, dreams, love, aggression, jealousy and betrayal, sensible feeling and insensible fight for our lives, well-being and position among others. Animals have it all and do the same. The essence of our biology and even psychology is very much the same and moreover, sometimes I even hesitate whether the contemporary society still remains in a closer and a tighter relationship with poetry, empathy and so what we call the real humanism than animals are?
I work on my paintings to reveal the essence of people’s life by depicting those instant and usually unnoticeable tiny moments reflecting our inner norms as well the distortions of human nature and the society artificially loaded with contemporary cultural traditions and ways of behavior and life in general.
The painting for me is a way to enrich my photographic and poetic ideas and insights by a totally different way of visual expression, which I believe gives the more complete picture of the things I am talking about. The other important motive for the painting is the possibility to exaggerate, distort, mark, stress, highlight or simply reasonably change those parts which in my eyes are fundamental and constitute some kind of essence which is not always notable enough in photography, or especially in life. The main subject of my painting remains the same as in photography – society and separate individuals with their contemporary cultural backgrounds. A part of the paintings can be considered as the last stage of my personal creational researches which begins by capturing a photo, then reading it, understanding, interpreting by making sketches, drawings, and finally reorganizing on canvas as a regular painting, abstraction or collage, consisting of all real characters usually taken from my own photographies or other sources (mass media, movies, etc.). I suppose it is a must to mention some painters and artists that I admire: Peter Doig, David Hockney, Anselm Kiefer, Gerhard Richter, Vincent van Gogh and surely the two great Lithuanians: musician and painter M. K. Čiurlionis and father of Fluxus Jurgis Mačiūnas.
I can not be sure if I would have ever tried to work with video art without having poetic insights at the same time. The fact is that most commonly the video track of my works goes together with my poems sounded by my own voice which runs on the top of background sounds. The video content is like the reinforcer of a poetic message and at the same time as a poetry itself. If I make a decision to match the text with some video material and to make one artwork from those two different medias’ of art, this comes because of the parallels which I see between the two. Surely it can also be self-standing and some of them really do stand alone, without any of my texts, just their visual content and the sounds of the environment and others. But even such video artworks keep a tough poetical sense. The mood, rhythm, speed, sounds, polysemantic meanings – everything gives a perception as if it is something other than a regular documental movie or visual art creation. That is why I consider my video artworks as if they are the works of poetry, even those without any textual poetry. The videos which I use were taken from my daily life environments and during the trips elsewhere. Some of them are a metaphorical, meditational contemplations to a small details of our life (flower, bee, dog, feet washed by the sea waves) and others depict a more social picture (nationalistic parade, collaged with a conversation of an old couple talking about their village life in their old days; or a nightlife of the red light district in Amsterdam). My videos are like a puzzle of life, which consist of a countless abundance of small insignificant details, which all are actually a way more significant than we can imagine. One of my favorite video artists is Jonas Mekas, the man who films everything around because everything is important (easily, playful and free).
My poetry is about you, us and myself.
It is about life and death.
About love and madness.
About happiness and pain.
My poetry is about sadness and will.
It can even be about Amsterdam.
Or a small Lithuanian town at the seaside.
Or show up as an ironic critic of nationalistic and homophobic habits of society.
So as you see it can be about everything.
But mainly it is not about what it is.
It’s just a state of my own heart.
And nothing about any of the great truths’.
There are too many of them…
And each of us has at least a billion.
So, just an ordinary feeling
Of an ordinary man
With his ordinary truth,
And the ordinary madness,
Of his ordinary heart.
What is among us.
It is in Lithuanian
Which means that
It doesn’t matter.
But I am doing my best…
I even learned to work with google translator
And became a video artist
To make my metaphors more comprehensible to aliens.
Nowadays aliens don’t use metaphors.
Nowadays they don’t have time for them.
(They don’t have time at all).
Nowadays, you must be rapid, short, and concrete.
Sadly, my heart is silly.
It doesn’t follow modern needs.
And even more disappointing is that
It is stronger than my smart practical head.
For a better understanding of ongoing events and cultural features of our world, it is necessary to have a deeper eye on those things. The desire to reach answers is the highest motivator of my writing. When I am working with an article or writing something just for myself, I usually get the reason for a small research. Certainly, it is a damn hard job to collect, analyze and systematize broad relevant data, but the reward you get when you see a complete image, makes you keep going. Social, cultural, anthropological, urban planning, a bit of historical and sometimes even political themes are the ones that give the highest excitement (right after women, because they are a part of all possible themes and because of other reasonable reasons). Quite often those accurate findings become an inspirational material for my further moves in visual arts and poetry, but sometimes it works opposite. Nothing special, but my diary is for the same reason – to get a better understanding of myself and others. Most of my texts are in Lithuanian, but I am doing some works also in English.
- 6 years of studies in the Klaipeda University of Town and Country Planning and Landscape architecture which I graduated in 2010 with a Master’s degree.
- 2007-2012 worked in the urban and regional planning fields, also with some landscape architecture projects.
- Since 2012 during the stay in Copenhagen collaborated on a bicycle infrastructure projects connected with experimental assemblable bicycle paths. Wrote articles about the features of a livable city by an example of Copenhagen.
- Since 2017 working on the architectural project and construction works of my own “farm of arts” near Klaipėda. Remained the interest in contemporary developments of architecture and urban planning.