At the beginning of the year, I had already come up with the title of the exhibition Toys and I was carving toys, but then the war broke out, and I couldn’t help but paint the war,” says artist Marius Jonutis about his latest exhibition Toys and War, which will be opened at gallery Meno Niša  on May 5.

Toys and War is the nineteenth exhibition of M. Jonutis, showing at the gallery Meno Niša, which celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. “Marius’ exhibitions are a long-standing tradition, bringing the warmth and colors of summer. The artist has been cooperating with the gallery since its establishment, which speaks of his productivity, but also his creativity, creative energy, and consistency. For M. Jonutis, creation equals life; he is an artist who does not separate life from the process of creation. The world he creates is not parallel to life, but an alter ego of the artist,” says Diana Stomienė, the gallery’s director.

As M. Jonutis said about the forthcoming exhibition, he thought he would retire, not care about anything, and make toys. It is boring not to play, so the artist started cutting, assembling, gluing, and painting toys, he had many plans and ideas and wanted to call the exhibition Toys.

“But then the war started, the dirty, destructive, satanic Russian war and the holy heroic Ukrainian war for the right to be. I no longer had the right to do nothing about it, tears are not enough, we need to help, we need to be together, to somehow contain in paintings the despair and the hope, the devilish evil and the human goodness. Now I will be grateful and indebted to the Ukrainian people for the rest of my life. They suffer for all of us, as Jesus once did, but more than him they are not giving up and continue to fight. I will call the exhibition Toys and War,” said M. Jonutis. 

M. Jonutis graduated from the Vilnius Academy of Arts with a degree in graphic arts. He has held more than 50 exhibitions together with the artist N. Marčėnaitė and more than 60 solo exhibitions in Lithuania and abroad. The artist mainly creates sculptures, painted wooden reliefs, paintings, graphic works, and illustrates books. During his 30-year career, M. Jonutis has created over 1,000 works of art, most of which have found their audience and new homes. Due to the topicality of his themes and the simplicity of his expression, his work is of interest to a very wide range of art lovers and collectors, and his works have been acquired by a large number of Lithuanian and foreign collectors. 

Marius Jonutis is also a modern storyteller through images with a unique sense of the folk tale. By visualizing the plot in his own creative manner, he subtly brings archaic fairy tale symbols to the surface, reproduces them, and builds a fantasy world from them. In his work, people, mythical fairy tale characters, and magical objects are transformed from textual characters into multidimensional figures embodying common human values. 

M. Jonutis’ works are characterized by bright colors, decorative form, recognizable character types, repetition of themes, and means of expression, which creates a distinctive artistic style. And looking at his work, you can read the story year after year, as common and topical themes create the narrative of Jonuitis’ work, regardless of material or technique.

Marius Jonutis’ exhibition Toys and War will be on show at Meno Niša Gallery until 28 May.

The gallery is sponsored by Vilnius City Municipality.


 

Marius Jonutis about his exhibition:

 

I thought I’d retire, not care about anything, make toys,
but I will never retire, and I will always care about something, so why not make toys now,
so that the paintings move, change, so that something happens in them, so that you can play.

While playing myself, I invite the viewers of the paintings – the players – to play as well,
because it’s boring not to play.

I got a head start cutting, assembling, gluing, and painting the toys, I had lots of plans and ideas.
I would call the exhibition Toys,
but then the war started,
the dirty, destructive, satanic Russian war
and the holy heroic Ukrainian war for the right to be.

I no longer had the right to do nothing about it, tears are not enough, we need to help, we need to be together,
to somehow contain in paintings the despair and the hope, the devilish evil and the human goodness.
Now I will be grateful and indebted to the Ukrainian people for the rest of my life.
They suffer for all of us, as Jesus once did, but more than him they are not giving up and continue to fight.
I will call the exhibition Toys and War.