April 06, 2021

Alexander Lovyagin, Внутреннее расположение скульптур / Indoor arrangement of sculptures

this picture and the next seven: screenprints
from the video referred to in the documentation

A characteristic of many non-professional creators of art environments is that once they have started transforming their home or garden into an art work, they find it difficult to stop. Some go on for decades, indeed.

When it comes to a creation outdoors, finding space is usually not a problem, but indoors it can be different. This might also apply to the art environment reviewed in this post.

part of a cabinet in the living room
filled with small-scale sculptures
Life and works

Alexander Nikolaevich Lovyagin, a resident of the city of Belgorod in Russia, lives in a small apartment with his wife.

The internet has only limited biographical information about him. He was probably born in the early 1950s. There is a newspaper article from 2015, mentioned in the documentation below, that states he was a crane operator, but had to quit that job in the early 2000s due to a heart attack. 

Lovyagin then focused on making woodcarvings, an activity in which he had no experience, but in which he gradually became proficient.


Over the past twenty years or so he has made a large number of sculptures, perhaps more than a thousand. 

The pictures in his post show how he the small apartment gradually has become quite filled with creations.

They also show that his artwork mainly includes small-scale items, but then, manufacturing such a lot of small creations remains quite an undertaking.

the lamps on the ceiling are set in carved wooden ornaments

The sculptures created by Lovyagin are set up in cabinets along the wall in the living room, are mounted on wall boards, or are set up on a small table or other pieces of furniture. 

The image above shows that the carvings also decorate the ceilings, where the lighting is incorporated in wooden ornaments.

Lovyagin's artwork includes many stylized flowers, little birds, butterflies and small-scale decorative elements.

The aforementioned newspaper article also reports that Lovyagin would have preferred to become a pilot, but that things turned out differently. 

In the collection there are also sculptures of planes. In the video below, Lovyagin shows a globe made by him, surrounded by spherical celestial bodies, while the holder in which the globe is contained ends in a stylized rocket.

The sculptures of birds, planes and even rockets can be associated with the desire Lovyagin must have had from childhood to fly freely through the air as a pilot.



The picture above left shows two swans in a pond -designed in high-relief-  looking at each other, a decorative element much used in Russia. These swans decorate the headboard of the matrimonial bed in the bedroom.

The picture above right shows a few small birds, arranged on a stool

Lovyagin watching part of his wooden sculpted items

Lovyagin's site in the context of art environments in Europe

As far as is currently known, there are only a limited number of art environments in Europe in the quality of an indoor arrangement of sculptures in a private house. 

Most comparable to the arrangement reviewed here, is the site of José Leitao (1938-2020) from France, who displayed an extensive collection of wooden sculptures in the small garage at his house, which functioned as his studio. Bogdan Ziętek (1932-2018) from Ukraine had a large collection of life-size sculptures of mainly female characters in his living room. Kate Bradbury (b. 1961), England, has an extensive collection of life-size sculptures in her London apartment. The House of Dreams Museum by Stephen Wright (b. 1954) in East-Dulwich, London, has both an interior and an exterior completely filled with mosaic sculptures, dolls and other items.

And the modest house of Margarita Travkina (born early 1940s) of Kolomna in Russia houses a collection of about 13,000 dolls, all neatly dressed by her (of course, dolls can also be seen as belonging to another category of creations).

Documentation
* Article (October 2015) in regional newspaper Mir Belogorya

Video
Video on the YouTube channel of above newspaper


first published April 2021

Alexander Lovyagin
Indoor arrangement of sculptures
Belgorod, Belgorod region, Russia
no public visits

March 30, 2021

Galina Moiseeva, Рай / Paradise

photo by A. Arkhipov

Located in the small hamlet of Kvashino in the Voronezh region in the westernmost part of Russia,  bordering Ukraine, this unassuming art environment is liked by Kvashino's some 400 inhabitants and referred to as Paradise.

The house and its garden have been decorated by Galina Moiseeva.

Life and work

Galina, who was born probably in the 1950s, has fond memories of her childhood. which she spent in the village of Yurla in the Perm region of the Urals.

Her mother worked as a math teacher and was a very good singer. She loved to sew and made the children's clothes herself. Her father had a small shoe factory, and so his children always wore brand new boots. And he loved to draw, a hobby he may have passed on to Galina.

this picture (2017) and the next three
by Elena Bardakova

Galina was educated in preschool education and worked first as an employee, later as head of a day care center for children.

She got married and had four children. But the marriage did not go well and when she learned that milkmaids were needed in the Voronezh region for a good salary and also a house, she left her husband -probably in the late 1980s- and took the train east with her children.

Galina got the job and a house. After some time she met Gennady, they married around 1990 and settled in the house in Kvashino. In 2017, when she was interviewed by a regional newspaper, she said that she at that time had shared life with Gennady for some 27 years.


Galina, who is now retired, uses all kinds of surplus and cheap material to decorate the garden, such as old car tires, pieces of foam rubber, old garden hoses and pieces of cloth. She also uses polystyrene, a cheap material.

Her husband enthusiastically helps, for example with sawing pieces of wood. But all ideas for the decorations come from Galina.

The image above shows a self-made fountain with a stork on high legs and a dolphin, an arrangement with many light blue hues. Behind the mesh fence is a styrofoam rooster in red boots.

The second image seen from the top shows a horse with a body made from an old car tire, a wooden muzzle and curled mane. The horse is driven by a gypsy woman dressed in a red long skirt and a black sweater made by Galina. The face of the woman is made of foam rubber.


In the image above, the tree stump is being examined by a grasshopper and an ant, both made from wood. 


The house where Galina and Gennady live (Galina's children have since left the house, partly gone back to Perm) has decorations, sometimes colorful, of carvings and wooden ornaments, as well as a frescoe with two swans. 


There is a homemade weather vane on the house. The wooden bench in front of the house has decorative carvings, again including two white swans facing each other.



As the documentation below shows, there is only one source available on the internet with information about the art environment, a newspaper article from 2017. In the absence of more up-to-date information, it is unclear what the current situation (2021) is of this site.

Documentation
* Article by Elena Bardakova in regional magazine VOROB (May 2017), -p. 5

Galina Moiseeva
Paradise (decorated house and garden)
ulitsa Chkalo
Kvashino, Voronezh region,  Russia
can be seen from he street

March 22, 2021

Alexey and Valentina Krivov, Дом украшен мозаикой/House decorated with mosaics

a look at the site from the street
this picture and the next six:
screenshots via Google Streetview

Located in an ordinary street with ordinary houses, the house pictured above -in the municipality of Artyom (Артём) in Russia- with its exterior wall fully decorated with mosaics has a very special appearance amidst all other buildings.

Behind the wall along the street there is a courtyard and a variety of buildings, all provided with mosaics.

a view of the right side of the site

Life and works

Alexey Krivov and his wife Valentina, who created this art environment, both were born in the early 1930s. 

Living in the Primorsky area, the most south-eastern region of the Russian Federation, bordering the Sea of Japan¹, Alexey became a plasterer and painter, while Valentina gained considerable experience as a decorator.

When they both retired in the 1990s, they bought an old house in the community of Artyom, a community of some 100.000 inhabitants, 40 km north-west of Vladivostok.

church-like structures at the right side of the site
this image and the next five: 
screenshots from the video in the documentation

Their new accommodation needed a lot of repair and since Alexey and Valentina both had a lot of experience with doing such jobs, they decided to undertake the renovation of the house themselves. 

And because Valentina was also a lover of making decorations, it did not stop at refurbishing the house, but it became a project aimed at beautifying the house and its immediate surroundings with mosaics. 

During the project, new built structures were also added (and decorated with mosaics of course...)

towery structures at the left side of the site

The couple did the practical work together, but Valentina was the one who developed the design of the decorations.

Old discarded plates and tiles were used to compose the decorations and once their project locally became better known, neighbors and other residents helped to collect this basic material from all over the city. 

Applying the pieces of mosaic required a lot of cement. The couple bought this material from their retirement benefits, which sometimes included that considerable savings had to be made on other expenses.


the photo above together with the one below 
give an impression of a creation on a wall along the courtyard, 
below a protruding space protected by columns, surmounted by a semi-dome.


Seen from the street, the art environment is bordered by an exterior wall, predominantly decorated with white mosaic. The wall features black-tinted mosaic images of cranes and swans.

A door in this wall, incorporated into a mosaic corridor, gives access to the courtyard. Along this centrally located courtyard, which is paved with colorful tiles, the living house and the other built structures are arranged.

Located in the middle of the courtyard, the living house has an exterior wall covered with white and light blue mosaic, embellished with some black two-headed eagles. In its interior, which cannot be entered by visitors of the site, most wooden furniture has been handcrafted by Valentina, which also applies to the scenes executed in embroidery, which are attached to the wall like paintings (some pictures here).

On the left side of the courtyard (as seen from he street) is a partially walled semicircular space bordered by some three tower-shaped structures crowned with all together some nine round or four-sided spiers.

On the part to the right of the courtyard there are also a number of towering buildings with openwork arches. With their spherical spiers they have the specific architecture that characterizes Russian churches. Some parts of the structures are provided with (mosaic) images of saints.



In Russia this site is often referred to as a fairytale house. 

Seen from the field of art environments, because of the abundance of mosaics added to a living house, adjacent structures and the exterior area, there is a strong association with the Maison Picassiette by Raymond Isidore and the Maison de la vaisselle cassée by Robert Vasseur, both located in France.

This is all the more appealing, because there is just one other mosaic decorated art environment in Russia, the mosaic house by Egor Zolotarev, which by the way implies more of a form of singular architecture. 


After more than fifteen years of work on the project, around 2011, the art environment had acquired such a size and allure that it got attention in the Russian press, social media and other news outlets. In 2011 and 2012 a number of reviews were published, mostly in the same terms. Subsequent publications, including the article in this weblog, are based on the data published in 2011/12.

Alexey and Valentina Krivov, who created this art environment, must now (2020/21) be in their late eighties or early nineties, but on the internet there is no information available about them and the current state of their art environment.

Documentation
* Article (September 2011) on Life Journal, with some pictures
* Article (October 2011) on weblog Kulturologia, with a number of pictures
* Article (July 2012) on weblog Mosaic Hobby, with some pictures
* Article (October 2012) in newspaper Primamedia, with a large series of photos of he site
* Article (October 2012) on the website of the Alliance of first builders
* Article (January 2016) on sam.mirtesen weblog

Video
* Video (2'20", November 2012) by Russian TV, Channel 5


note
¹  Characteristic art environments located in the Asian part of Russia, are included in this weblog to provide a balanced and coherent picture of the whole field of Russian art environments.

Alexey and Valentina Krivov
Mosaic decorated house
Ulitsa Papanina 49
Artyom, Primorsky region, Russia
can be seen from the street

March 16, 2021

Vesa Väänänen, Puistossa on rautaveistoksia/Park with iron sculptures

picture by the city of Heinola

Above image shows an iron sculpture of a colorful character against a background formed by a park landscape with many more such sculptures. Welcome to the Dork Park in the Finnish city of Heinola, some 140 km north-east of Helsinki, where the sculptures of Vesa Väänänen are displayed.

Life and work

Väänänen worked as a sheet metal worker and as a gardener until he became unemployed in the 1990s due to economic developments.

this picture and the next four courtesy
of Antii Kastén, from his website

He lived in a former railway house on the edge of the Dork Park in the eastern part of Heinola, also called the Railway Park, because it is adjacent to the railway, which was used for passenger traffic until 1968.

As a sheet metal worker he occasionally made creations from sheet iron that got a place in his house, but when he was unemployed for a while, he decided in 2001 to work more systematically on this.

It became a project that would keep him busy for years to come. So far (March 2021) Väänänen  has created more than a hundred sculptures, which he situated in an open area of Dork park near the house where he lived and had installed his workshop. 


In the course of the following years this park area got filled with predominantly small-scale creations that Väänänen made from all kinds of iron residual material, such as the metal casings of kitchen geysers as in the picture above.

The owner of the park (maybe the railway company) may have had other plans regarding the further development of the area, but these ideas apparently were not very concrete and so the sculpture park was tolerated for the time being, a situation that has existed for about twenty years now (2021). 

However, this situation of tolerance has recently changed, as will be seen at the end of this article.


As to the nature of his work, in 2016 Väänänen himself has remarked: Yleensä käytän töissäni myös huumoria, ironiaa ja farssia (Usually I also use humor, irony and farce in my work).

Indeed, this is recognized in reviews of the site included in the documentation below, where it is often noted that Vaänänen's sculptures are cheerful and funny in nature. 

They make the visitor smile, which may also be partly due to the humorous character of the captions placed on plates next to the sculptures, such as the one in the photo at the very top, which reads: The miracle of growing teenage mustache.

This artwork is also characterized by the way in which the processed metal base material in the design by Väänänen suddenly takes on a completely different appearance once incorporated into the creation, such as the casings of kitchen geysers that magically become human characters who -sitting at a table- enjoy some food.

The same goes for the items used in the creation pictured below and in a lot of other creations..


New developments because of a fire in the park

In mid-December 2020, it was reported in the local press that a fire that had hit Vaänänen's house, had rendered the property uninhabitable. Väänänen was injured, but was soon able to leave the hospital.

The question now arose as to how to proceed with the exhibition of sculptures in an area owned by an association that tolerated their use for years, but now retained the right to use the area for other purposes.

Consultations about a solution  -such as eventually another location for the sculptures- have started, talks in which the municipality may also be involved. Results of these talks were not yet known when this article was published in March 2021.

the little elephant above is now alone; 
a pink-colored piglet standing opposite him has been stolen

Documentation
* Article (August 2020) on website Ajatusmatkalla, with a series of pictures
* Entry (July 2020) on weblog Marjoin Matkassa, also with a series of pictures
* Entry (August 2013) on weblog Tellunkonstanelamaa, once more with a series of photos
* Review of the site (November 2011) by Erkki Pirtola on website Voima
* Article (July 2009) on website Suomi Tour, with a series of photos

Vesa Väänänen 
Park with iron sculptures
Dorkin park (Heinola Railway Park) 
Ratakatu 20 
18100 Heinola, Päijänne Tavastia region, Southern Finland, Finland 
sculptures can be seen in the park

March 07, 2021

Fernand Bielle-Bidalot, La maison de Blanche-Neige/The house of Snow White

this picture and the next five (December 2014)
courtesy of French magazine "Jardin et Maison"

The art environment named La Maison de Blanche Neige (The House of Snow White), located in the commune of Sucé-sur-Erdre, near Nantes in France, is characterized in all its parts - interior decoration,  exterior with structures, characters, paths and vegetation - by the dominance of the rustic approach.

Life and works

For Fernand Bielle-Bidalot, the one who shaped house and garden, this rustic approach is related to his memories of the French Pyrenees where he was born in the early 1930s. Growing up in Lourdes, young Fernand was taught a taste for wood and sculpture by his father, who was a carpenter and a roofer. 

Already at the age of seven young Fernand helped his father with the roofing of the dungeon of the Château de Lourdes. 

entrance of the site

After primary school and a training as a carpenter, he left Lourdes at the age of twenty in the early 1950s.

He was able to join the Compagnons du Tour de France, a professional organization for qualified craftsmen who offer a tour of France to professionals such as carpenters, who can thereby supplement their professional knowledge, become familiar with regional techniques, get to know potential contractors and gain access to additional group education.
                                    

After his tour of France, Bielle probably chose the area around Nantes as his field of activity as a qualified carpenter. He got married and at some point the couple will have moved into the house along Tassin Alley in Sucé-sur-Erdre, that would later become part of Snow White's domain.

Located along the river Erdre, Sucé-sur-Erdre is a community of about 6100 inhabitants, some 20 km north of the center of the city of Nantes, 

The living house

An architect was hired for the construction of the house, but it was Bielle-Bidalot who designed the interior in detail, with many wooden elements and specific constructions to achieve the rustic atmosphere that he had in mind.

There is a wooden staircase that winds upwards, the wooden trusses that frame the top of the house can be seen, there is a monumental fireplace with two special niches, the windows with stained glass are reminiscent of nature, and there are decorative elements such as slate sitting dogs.

facade of the living house

As the image above shows, the exterior of the house has a rural impression, with a roof with various dormer windows, an eaves with a few semicircular expanses and the side wall with an overhang supported by a heavy horizontal beam at the height of the eaves at the front side.

The area around the house

In the early 1990s, Bielle retired. His wife Josiane continued to work as manager of the café le Santeuil in Nantes, which the couple had previously acquired.

Of course, after the purchase, under the direction of Bielle the premises were redecorated in his rustic, authentic style,  which certainly contributed to the café becoming a popular meeting place for students and journalists.


In 1994, when he as in his early 60s, Bielle began changing layout and decoration of the area around the house, which is 3000 m² in size. 

The start may have been small-scale, but it soon involved a comprehensive approach aimed at planting trees and shrubs, constructing or renewing footpaths where necessary, installing new structures such as a bridge made of wood, stone elements such as bell towers, masonry walls, and of course decorating specific spots with miniature structures and installations, and with human, animal or fairytale characters.

Indeed, an approach that would keep Bielle busy to this day (2021).

The various images above show that a miniature village has arisen at the front of the residential house. The village, that radiates a Pyrenean atmosphere, has houses, towers, a mill and other elements that characterize village life, and looking closely, one will also see people and animals walking around and miniature trees that grow within the correct scale.

The houses have been made very realistic with ridge caps and pediments, and even cat flaps. The courtyards are paved with stones to scale.


Although Bielle was particularly inspired by the atmosphere of the Pyrenees, he also managed to create a fairytale atmosphere in his art environment. 

That also influenced the naming of the site. One of the structures in the garden is dedicated to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and since this cottage appears to have the same chubby look as the one in Walt Disney's famous 1937 film, the association was quickly made and this designation has now become  standard. 

The picture above and the one below give an impression of  the way the naming characters are depicted in one of the places in the site. However, near the spot in the garden with a view of the river, there are also creations dedicated to Snow White and the dwarfs.

another view of the seven dwarfs
this picture and the next four (August 2019)
courtesy of the author of the weblog "Our Little Family"

One of the striking characteristics of this art environment is the great diversity of plants and trees that decorate the site. 

This planting has been carefully selected by Bielle, especially with regard to the types of trees that should be planted.

These trees, now mature, evoke an atmosphere of unspoiled nature and now offer about fifty different species of birds the opportunity to nest.


The four images around give an impression of some elements that characterize this art environment.

The top left image shows the view of the river Erdre, a tributary of the river Loire, seen from a viewpoint surrounded by a masonry semicircular wall. Near this viewpoint is a replica of the cottage of the seven dwarfs and there is also a mural of Snow White and the dwarfs.

The image above right shows a slender round tower with a covered vantage point on top. This place can be reached via a staircase from the ground as well as via a small wooden suspension bridge that starts at the rear of the living house.

The two images below show some rustic elements in the middle of the greenery

















The paths in the garden are also an important image-defining element. With their meandering course and mutual connections, they form a maze that, in a smaller scale version, resembles the Follies Siffait, an art environment located in the same region around Nantes along the Loire, created in the first half of the 19th century and currently still existing 

map of the site
from the website 24.webself.net

The survival of the site has been arranged

Currently (2021) Fernand Bielle-Bidalot is in his late 80s. His wife Josiane passed away in May 2019. Earlier the couple had already considered the future of art environment and after long deliberation they decided to leave the house and garden to the municipality, a decision that was made public after Josiane's death . 

The municipality sees this as a token of confidence and will prepare for an orderly transfer, for example through an inventory by the municipal landscaping service of the trees and plants in the site.

Documentation
* Series of photos on weblog Princesse Pepette (July 2020)
* Entry on weblog Our Little Family ((August 2019), with a series of pictures
* Article in local magazine Au fil de l'Erdre nr 164 (November/December 2018), -p,21
* Article in magazine Jardin et Maison (December 2014), with a series of pictures
* A series of pictures on the website génération-évasion (April 2017)

Videos
* Video by TéléNantes (December 2016, 6"00", YouTube)

 

* A video entitled La maison la plus insolite de France (2018,  0'57") by Génération-évasion, can not be embedded here; however,the video can be seen on Facebook

Fernand Bielle-Bidalot 
La maison Blanche-Neige 
55 Ruelle Tassin,
44240 Sucé-sur-Erdre, dept Loire-Atlantique, region Pays de la Loire, France
can partly be seen from the street, visits only on appointment

February 26, 2021

Darius Dulinskas, Muziejus Metalo Fantazija/Museum of Metal Fantasy


sculptures at the camping site
picture by Darius Dulinskas from website 15min.lt

Located along the edge of Lake Viŝtytis in the south-west of Lithuania, the camping site Pušelė, near the village of Žirgėnai (municipality of Vilkaviškisis characterized by an extensive collection of metal sculptures made by the non-professional artist Darius Renaldas Dulinskas The collection is known as Muziejus Metalo Fantazija (Museum of Metal Fantasy)

Life and works

Born in the early 1970s, Dulinskas after primary and secondary school, did a study of agronomy, a field in which he would not be active however.

In his early years there were no indications that he was interested in artistic activities. He was more of a motorcycle enthusiast. 

Being engaged as a non-professional artist did not come until Dulinskas was in his late thirties, and that, incidentally, to his own surprise.

a number of small sculptures at the camping site
picture from website Vilkaviskisinfo

Around 2008 Dulinskas was unemployed and when a friend of his, a member of the same motorcycle club, celebrated his birthday, he decided to make a present himself, just to save some money. The self made present became a small model motorcycle he welded together from iron scrap that he had lying around.

At first, Dulinskas was a bit worried that his homemade gift might not be appreciated, but the opposite was the case, as both his friend and the guests at the birthday party turned out to be enthusiastic about his self-created present. 

Soon after, he was asked to make another small model of motorcycle, which he did. And so Dulinskas started a new career as a non-professional artist, engaged in making iron creations.

a life-size sculpture of horse 
picture from website Vilkaviskisinfo

Metal scrap became the basic material Dulinskas used to make his creations. As he said "To me a pile of scrap is a pile of gold". 

Initially Dulinskas mainly made small creations of motorcycles, but gradually he also focused on other topics, such as birds and other animals, plants, vehicles, musical instruments ..... 

The small-scale motorcycles made by Dulinskas became a favorite birthday present in circles of motorcyclists and others, so he began to consider giving his creative hobby a more businesslike character by selling his small-scale creations or by working occasionally to order. In general, however, he retained the status of a non-professional artist.

Dulinskas also gained fame as a creator of iron sculptures in other ways. 

For example in the course of 2011 he was involved in a project to equip his hometown Vilkaviškis with a statue. He made a sculpture of a wolf, an animal that played a role in the city's history. Residents, but especially groups of young people, helped to gather iron material to assemble the sculpture, which in October 2011 got a place in the town.

Also due to the donation of materials by inhabitants, the garage of Dulinskas, which he used as a studio, became richly filled with materials to make more sculptures.

a sculpture of a large bird 
 picture from website Vilkaviskisinfo

The Museum of Metal Fantasy

In the few years he meanwhile was engaged in making iron sculptures, Dulinskas had gained a certain fame as an artist and thus he became involved in the initiative of establishing a museum of metal fantasy on the grounds of the camping site Pušelė located in the municipality of Vilkaviškis. 

This, incidentally, together with the forest ranger and fellow self-taught artist living near Vilkaviškis Povilas Penkaitis, who made some eighty sculptures of oak wood for the museum, mostly produced with the circular saw.

On the camping site a considerable amount of space was available, and is plausible that Dulinskas now felt challenged to create also life-size sculptures.

two cranes at the edge of the lake near the camping site
picture from website Vilkaviskisinfo

The pictures in this post mainly depict some of these life-size  sculptures, and they clearly show how Dulinskas time and again succeeded in handling iron materials in such a way that the individual, specific character of the depicted animal was expressed.

The collection of sculptures Dulinskas contributed to the Museum also includes a large number of smaller creations, both a variety of items loosely scattered around the site and items arranged in groups on wooden scaffolds.

All together. the Museum's collection now (2021) has reached a size of more than 800 iron sculptures. 

an animal with a hairdo of (bicycle) chains
picture from website Glotels

Monumental stand-alone creations

Besides the sculptures collected on the camping site, Dulinskas also has created a number of stand alone sculptures, sometimes with a monumental character in terms of theme or size.

A recent example of this is the monument in memory of the motorcyclists of the Baltic States who died in traffic, which was unveiled on Saturday, May 13 2017 near the community of Vievis next to the highway from Kaunas to Vilvius. A video in the documentation below shows the unveiling of the creation.

Another example is a motorcycle sculpture, placed in the village of Girėnai, in the Šakiai district, in May 2015 which is considered the largest motorcycle sculpture in Lithuania. The sculpture weighs 1,621 kg, is 4.3 m long and 2.4 m high. 

Considering that Dulinskas only started making metal sculptures around 2010, initially many small-scale creations, but later also numerous life-size and sometimes monumental works, it can be concluded that he has proved to be an extremely prolific artist. In addition, his creations are often made at the request or with the cooperation of intereste people, which undoubtedly entails great accessibility and appreciation of his artwork.

Documentation
Website of the campsite with a short description of the Museum of Metal Fantasy, a small series of photos
* Touristic website Panatyk Lietuvoje Lt  (See in Lithuania Lt)  with a short referral to the museum and a series of over 20 photos
* Article on website 15min.lt with a series of pictures, including pictures of Dulinskas in his studio
* Article (2014) on website Iritas
Videos
* Video (December 2014, 1.31") with New Year's greetings for 2015 shows Dulinskas at work in his studio



* Video (2017, 1'35", YouTube) by Vidmantas Misevičius entitled Paminklo atidengimas (Unveiling of the monument {in memory of the deceased bikers of the Baltic States})

  

Darius Dulinskas
Museum of Metal Fantasy
Camping site Pušelė
70345 Žirgėnai (municipality of Vilkaviškis), Lithuania
free visits for people staying at the camping, small fee for visitors

February 12, 2021

Pranas Sederevičius, Skulptūrų sodas / Sculpture garden

picture by Laima Gūtmane
licensed under Wikimedia Commons 

Kudirkos Naumiestis, a small community in western Lithuania, located close to the border with the Russian region of Kaliningrad, is home to a striking art environment, as shown above.

Life and works

This ensemble of 21 sculptures was created by Pranas Sederevičius (1905-1971).

It has been said to be the only example of primitive folk art of this nature in Lithuania, and indeed in this country until now no other art environments in the capacity of a garden with large and realistic concrete sculptures have been known.

this picture and the next six are screenprints
from the video by Lithuanian TV, see documentation

Sederevičius started creating his art environment in 1951, when he was in his mid-forties and had a job as a factory worker.

With regard to the years before, the internet has no biographical data available.

If he was born in Kudirkos Naumiestis or surroundings, in his early years he must have known about the First World War, but as a young adult he must have experienced the Second World War close by, because in those years his native region bordered on Germany and when the war between Germany and Russia broke out there was a lot of war violence in the area.

Sederevičius has been described as a sympathetic person, often good-humored, easy-going and tactful.

one of the sculpted horses on the right side of the house

And he loved horses...... 

This preference is very clearly reflected in his ensemble of sculptures. The scene around the house is dominated by a number of more than life-sized sculptures of horses. 

At the right side of the house, seen from the street, there are some five horses, including three that rise more than life-size ....

another sculpted horse, on the left side of the house

..... and as shown in the picture above, on the left side of the house there is also a sculpture of a horse, this ne rising high above the house's roof ridge. 

To make these large sculptures Sederevičius used a method, in which he first made an iron infrastructure from all kinds of iron remnants, such as parts of old bicycles and bed spirals, bound in the desired shape by a lot of iron wire. Then he covered the resulting form with cement, which would be painted after hardening.

Obviously, large amounts of cement were needed for the large sculptures. There are no clear reports about this, but it could be that Sederevičius obtained the loads of cement that he needed, through the company where he worked.

sculptures on the right side of the house

The photo above once again shows the size Sederevičius' horse sculptures got.

However, his art environment also includes a variety of smaller creations, like the one at the bottom right of above photo, a sculpture in high relief on a wall, which is a self-portrait of Sederevičius, flanked left and right by the head of a horse of course. 

Among the smaller sculptures, there is also a series of busts, predominantly featuring celebrities from the history of Lithuania.

two busts and a horse head

To give an idea what kind of  persons have been depicted, here is a small review.

There is a bust of a historic person named Vytautas the Great (1350-1430), who was a ruler in what was then the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.  

And then there are busts of famous people from the Lithuanian cultural sphere, such as Vincas Kudirka (1858-1899) who was a poet and wrote the lyrics and composed the music of the Lithuanian National Anthem, but also Pranas Vaičaitis, (1876-1901), also a poet who violated a press ban and was imprisoned for a month in 1899.

There is also a depiction of Vincas Grybas (1890-1941) a professional sculptor, who was arrested and killed by the Germans in the first year of the war.

the two famous pilots Gyrénas and Darius 

The two busts of uniformed persons, as in the picture above, depict two pilots. Stepona Darius and Stasys Gyrénas, who got fame in Lithuania in the early 1930s.

Darius (1896-1933) migrated with his family to the USA, returned to Lithuania in 1920 where he completed a pilot training and actively promoted various (American) sports'. Early 1923 he participated in the Klaipeda revolt. Later he returned to the USA where he worked in civil aviation.

The Klaipeda revolt had as a result that the German Memelland area along the western border of Lithuania -an area which after World War I was under specific international rule- in 1924 came under rule of Lithuania, a situation which ended in March 1939 after a German ultimatum.

The other pilot, Gyrénas (1893-1933) also migrated to the United States, where in 1927 he acquired an airplane and worked in civil aviation.

Together flying in an airplane named Lituanica, Darius and Gyrénas were among the first to fly across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to the planned landing site in Kaunas, Lithuania's second-largest city,
 
Their plane crashed under unclear circumstances above Germany, some 650 km away from the airport in Kaunas, according to an official report due to bad weather conditions and engine problems, according to un-official opinion the aircraft was shot down by the Nazis.
two more busts and a couple of deer

The descriptions of the background of the people depicted in the busts, show that most of them have a specific link with Lithuania as a nation and consider the independence of the country of great importance.

It should be borne in mind that Sederevičius made his sculptures in the 1950s and 1960s, when Lithuania was part of the USSR and allusions to the independence of the country were not accepted by Moscow. Lithuania did not gain independence until 1990.

That Sederevičius nevertheless presented these persons in his creation, says something about his character, as it also says something about the inhabitants of the community of Kudirkos Naumiestis, of whom no one reported to authorities, but who approached the site with appreciation and admiration.

The site became a cultural landmark

Sederevičius died in 1971 of a stroke. 

It is unclear who subsequently became the owner of the house and the garden with sculptures. It has been reported that the house has been occupied by persons who were teachers from a school.

In any case, it can be concluded that the sculpture garden is well maintained, because today (2021), fifty years after the death of their creator, the sculptures still stand as if recently made.

Currently the site is a cultural landmark that attracts a lot of visitors.

Documentation
* Article (May 2018) on the website of Lithuanian Radio and TV (LRT), with pictures and a video by Lithuanian TV entitled Pranas ir Julija 
* Article (undated) on website Panatyk Lietuvoje, with pictures and a map
* Article  (undated) on website Atlas Obscura, with a series of pictures
* Article (undated) on website Pamatyk Lietuvojelt, with a series of pictures

Pranas Sederevičius
P. Mašioto g. 42,
71319 Kudirkos Naumiestis
Lithuania
site can be seen from the street