The Manor Route. Drawings of Lithuanian manors 2007–2017
The exhibition “The Manor Route. Drawings of Lithuanian manors 2007–2017” is open from 28 September to 19 November 2017 at The National Museum of Lithuania, New Arsenal.
After a ten-year break, the National Museum of Lithuania presents an exhibition of drawings of Lithuanian manors by the prominent architect Arūnas Eduardas Paslaitis. Visitors could get acquainted with his artistic flair at a retrospective exhibition held in 2006, which included Paslaitis’s entire oeuvre starting with his earliest works. During the recent decade, his trips to Lithuanian manors seem to have become even more intense.
Arūnas Eduardas Paslaitis was born into a family of teachers in Tryškiai (Telšiai district) in 1942. Having finished school in Joniškis, he opted to study architecture on a spontaneous decision. In 1966, after his studies at the Kaunas Polytechnic (today, Kaunas University of Technology), he was appointed an architect of the Akmenė district. In 1968, Paslaitis moved to Vilnius and found a job at the Urban Construction Design Institute. Since 1992, he has been working at the architectural company “Jungtinės architektų dirbtuvės”, and has established his own architectural design bureau. The most remarkable objects designed by the architect are the hotel of the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania on Gedimino Avenue in Vilnius, the building of the Vilnius City Municipality on Konstitucijos Avenue (together with Tadas Balčiūnas, Gediminas and Arūnas Paslaitis, and others), the administrative building of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania in Vilnius, and many others. For his important contribution to architecture and extraordinary merits, in 2017 Paslaitis became a recipient of the Culture and Art Award from the Lithuanian Government.
Beside his main occupation, while travelling around Lithuania and the former lands of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania for almost five decades, Paslaitis has been capturing the relics of the past in his drawings. He is mainly interested in architectural heritage. At the beginning of his artistic career, motifs of sacral architecture – churches, shrines and wayside shrines – were predominant in his drawings. Starting from the 1980s, the focus of his attention shifted to manors. In his drawings, manors bear witness to the glorious past. Paslaitis invests them with grandeur and a special aura, even if all that has currently remained of them is ruins. As an architect, the artist places emphasis on the manor structure, exterior decoration and other architectural details. He surrounds a manor with a vivid, perhaps somewhat overstated, landscape, and often uses large areas of the sky as the background. In his drawings, he creates an image of a romantic manor. While compiling travel routes and looking for new unvisited manors, the artist often refers to the German maps of Lithuania Karte des westlichen Russlands published in the early 20th century. In the period between 2007 and 2017, Paslaitis captured approximately 100 manor estates in his photographs and drawings, and kept returning to his favourite and most conveniently accessible Merkinė (Šalčininkai district) and Raudondvaris (Vilnius district) manors. In the recent years, the architect devotes more attention to the Sudūva (Užnemunė) region. The last decade can be considered the mature stage of his work.