Author Archives: Johanna Urban

Dalia Kiaupaite. workshop by Lukas Karvelis. Kirtimai culture centre.

Dalia Kiaupaite: space explorer

Dalia Kiaupaite does not work with materials or disciplines. She works with spaces. The Lithuanian artist creates atmospheres, zones of influence, and methods of viewing. Her works create a sense of drama and depth that mirror the sensation of watching something unfold on stage. Until now, the bulk of her work has come in the field of set and costume design for opera and theatre. The pandemic has given her a chance to find a more intimate set, one that can be beamed out instead of people being beamed in.

Dalia: international and interdisciplinary

It is no surprise that Dalia considers the Fluxus movement to be one of her key inspirations. The mid-century art movement encompassed the work of artists, writers, poets and composers producing experimental, multifaceted performances and pieces of art.  The movement was international and interdisciplinary at its core. Fluxus was never limited to a single country or form of art. Dalia is only temporarily limited by what she has yet to learn.

Layers of life

Dalia’s childhood in Lithuania reads like a good book. Born in the 1980s, she witnessed her country go from Soviet rule to independence in 1990. Dalia describes how as she grew up, Lithuania grew too. They blossomed into adolescence and adulthood together. When the country opened its doors to the world, an influx of new experiences flooded in from beyond its borders. Both found themselves exposed to new ideas, experiences and opportunities. A 14 year-old Dalia travelled to the Pompidou Centre in France. For her it was like a child’s more traditional pilgrimage to Disneyland. When growing up, Dalia would discuss Kafka and Disney in equal measure. Dalia suggests there are contradictions in life, caused by the layers and layers of experience that we gather. Life is constantly changing. We are the sum of these many layers, rather than one continuous, coherent experience. 

Images supplied by artist. credits as listed.

Appropriately, Dalia’s approach to art is suitably layered and mutable, never limiting herself to one continuous approach. She has explored digital art and performance art. The artist has worked with traditional styles of painting and drawing, as well as ceramics and woodwork. Dalia feels that this plurality of approach is key to expressing herself. She suggests the exploration and creation of space are the goals of her art and that there is no one definitive method to achieve this.

Space and myth

 Another key aspect of Dalia’s work is myth. The Lithuanian story of Eglė the Queen of Serpents pervades much of her work, most notably Žalčių karalienės dukra (Daughter of the Serpent’s Queen). This interdisciplinary piece explores a personal connection to this folk tale. It is also a good example of Dalia’s ability to work with different mediums, as it incorporates drawings, paintings and performance. In this piece, Dalia creates a space, and populates it with both the myth and the present, her own personal experience.

Myth seems like a suitable topic for Dalia. It lends itself to any form of artistic expression, be it literature, visual art or songs. Myths have existed for hundreds, sometimes thousands of years. Yet, they often plug into our modern societies and values seamlessly. Dalia believes these myths can act as other spaces, or realities for us, contrasting the physical reality. If the artist seeks to create new spaces and realms in her art, then myth provides an ample amount of source material for this. 

Time and space

Dalia’s focus on the construction of spaces has been an interesting aspect of her time at PILOTENKUECHE. She feels the virtual, worldwide nature of this online residency in particular has deepened and expanded her views on space. With the artists spread around various different countries, across two continents, they come together, at different hours on the clock to fixate on one moment, a discussion and showcase of art. Dalia feels that boundaries have been erased, rather than constructed by the online nature of this residency. She has truly embraced its challenges and opportunities.

written by Ben Gosling

See more of her work on her website.