The Principle of Art Terminal


16.05 - 31.05.2014

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Included in: [REMAKE]


Stereotype (from Ancient Greek στερεός, stereós – „firm, solid, rigid, spatial“) is a social cliché or a norm, a construct of collective consciousness, a generalization of typical characteristics, a particular model used for shaping other clichés of perception.

The stereotype of melancholy is based on the principle of rectangular coordinate system (or Cartesian coordinate system) that is composed in accordance with Albrecht Dürer`s magic square (visualized in his copper engraving entitled Melencolia I, 1514). Therefore, one can say that melancholy stereotypes are shaped in Dürer‘s plane.

Both the horizontal (absciss) and the vertical (ordinate) axes are graded by four factors: psychological (personal), cultural, political, and sexual. Factors (from Latin factor – „doer or maker“) are the agents that determine the melancholic features of a particular artwork or their whole. The „crossings“ of those factors regulate the formation of one or another melancholic situation (a stereotype). The factor gradation does not have an aspect of quantity or quality: for instance, the psychological factor is not more intense than the political or sexual one, etc.
„Art Terminal“ is a device designed to learn and spread art. It is a cyborg/robot, a real „aesthetic terminator“ that stimulates one`s interactive perception of art history through computer game. The essence of its work is to devise a simple formula based on coordinative intersection of art aspects (so-called stereotypes). The terminal presents Lithuanian contemporary art scene and its sixteen stereotypes – the phenomena and artists who, in one or another way, represent nothing but „merry melancholy“:

Eyes / Žygimantas Augustinas
Spiral / Jurga Barilaitė
Embryo / Violeta Bubelytė
Line / Henrikas Čerapas
Dress/ Laura Garbštienė
Face / Arūnas Gudaitis
Mother / Kristina Inčiūraitė
Train / Giedrius Jonaitis
Castration / Patricija Jurkšaitytė
Scythe / Linas Jusionis
Wimple / Bronė Neverdauskienė
Pensive Christ / Eglė Rakauskaitė
Bead / Eglė Ridikaitė
Book / Julijonas Urbonas
Hermes / Mikalojus Povilas Vilutis
Blossom / Marius Zavadskis


First of all, melancholy in art requires to speak in the light of the psychological (personal) aspect. The psychological aspect of melancholy in art is the disclosure of a person‘s inner world, its structure, the dismal and peevish mood by using the means of art and narrative.

The psychological aspect of melancholy is closely related to the cultural factor (cultural aspect) that shapes it. The cultural setting predetermines the melancholic characteristics of the art by one or another author, a community of authors and their works, but also stimulates their artistic strategies and tactics. In the works by those artists, the melancholic dimension emerges when they reflect upon the collective cultural experience.

The cultural aspect is dependent on geopolitics and history, but also on social relations or just politics (political aspect). Similarly to the case of the cultural aspect, political and social factors may be not only the consequences, but also the reasons for melancholic artworks. By reacting to the politically or socially oppressive atmosphere of their living period, the artists express the essential experiences of that period in their art.

Nowadays, the changing cultural and political circumstances have raised an especially relevant sexual aspect. One may certainly interpret the sexual aspect in the margins of the cultural or social aspects, however, it often has a manifestation that is independent from the cultural experience and social conventions, so it would be logical to evaluate all those aspects autonomously from each other.


The definition of Lithuanian melancholy can be completed with a question: „Is there a direct relation, determined by proportions, between a scythe and its handle?“. This relation can be expressed by a formula:

M=s/h*T* π

where M is melancholy, s is the length of the blade of the scythe (in centimeters), h is the length of the scythe handle (in centimeters), T is the ideal time, the eternal present (in seconds), and π is π (in Maths, the value of π is calculated by dividing the length of a circle by its diameter. The value of π is not influenced by the shape of the universe: it is not a physical, but a mathematical constant, defined independently from any physical measurements. In the case of our melancholy, the universe is an imaginary stereotypical territory, where all the aspects of melancholy remain in effect).

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