Personality   /   Algirdas Bosas / sculptor /

Algirdas Bosas / sculptor /

Article Index
Algirdas Bosas / sculptor /
Ice sculpture
bosasAlgirdas Bosas was born on March 9, 1943, in Kėdainiai.
Educations: 1966-1972 Vilnius Academy of Arts.
Since 1974 has been living in Gargždai, Klaipeda district.
1975-2002 Head of the Sculpture Division, Klaipeda Branch of the Lithuanian Artists' Union.
1992-2006 teacher of sculpture, composition, and drawing at Klaipeda E. Balsys Art Gymnazium.
Since 1973  participant of exhibitions.
Since 1975 member of the Lithuanian Artists‘ Union.
1997-1998 and 1999-2000 receiver of the state grant of the highest degree.
2001 Award of the Gold Badge of the Lithuanian Artists‘ Union for the creative achievement of the year: the sculpture "Bird of Nostalgia" in Klaipeda, in memory of Drąsutis Kazimieras Gudelis.
2011 winner of the prize of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania for Culture and Art for the merits to Lithuanian culture and art (for the sculpture to the Radvila family in Kedainiai).
Marital state: married.

Algirdas Bosas
- is an inspired sculptor open to novelty and change. Like a fine barometer, his work registered the changes in Lithuania art at the turn of the 21st century. His pieces created from 1969 until 2005 reflect unique modernist and, later, postmodernist expression. Usually, his products originate as gracefully drawn sketches, while the finalized work displays rare craftsmanship for the present days. His command of material and its skilled exploitation is obvious in small sculpture pieces and in cast monumental works. With equal understanding and knowledge he polishes granite, carves wood, or constructs sculptural objects from post-industrial materials. In the era fascinated with the power of virtual information technologies and the allegedly approaching death of sculpture, the work of Bosas emerges as belonging to timeless classics. His work has sensuous immediacy, evocative form, and the sense of the value, contemporary and historical. In general, he represents a post-romantic attitude towards the natural world, universal nature of man, and historical past.
At the very start of his career, in the 1970s and 1980s, Bosas emerged as a leader of modernist trend in Lithuanian sculpture, the period referred to as the golden age. Presently Lithuanian art is characterized by the coexistence of different generations, cultivating modernist and postmodernist idioms, and the pulse of local art is more in sync with the global art processes. Given the context, Algirdas Bosas belongs to the generation of the sculptors who were the first ones to be interested in postmodernist expression (including sculptors Petras Mazūras, Mindaugas Navakas, and Vladas Urbanavičius).
Currently, the works by Bosas can be seen not only in major and minor Lithuanians towns; they have travelled as far as the Arctic Circle (Lofoten Islands, Norway) and Asia (South Korea). What is the secret of the viability and attractiveness of the artist’s work? Is it his character, or mastery, or meaningful and plastic expression in his works? To find an answer, it would be useful to get to know the sculptor’s personality, his work methods, and to review his works of 1973-2005 once again.

The artist's openness, vitality, and a unique sense of humour are his personal qualities that have determined his responsivenss to the change and have helped to establish relationships with people. He has a playful, slightly self-ironic manner of communication; in a conversation he is a good listener and never makes a big thing out of himself. His exclusive characteristic is an ability to relate his creative projects to the universal values of human life (family, friends, leisure, and everyday topical things). Like the wind in the fields, he easily covers the broad contemporary panorama and finds a common language with lots of different people. Therefore, both in the Soviet times and at present, the artist has been easily dealing with commissioners, implementors of his ideas, and his audiences.
Most of his pieces created for public spaces in the years of independence (small plastic and applied works) were commissioned by private individuals, different institutions, and communities. He has been keeping in touch with people he met in the Baltic States Sculpture Quadrienalles held in Riga since 1972. He has been a regular participant of Liepaja Wood Sculpture Symposia (1997, 2000) and Jelgava Ice Sculpture Symposia (2000-2004). Wherever he goes, he keeps finding like-minded people and friends: in Hungary (Nyiregyhaza, 1984, Haidubosior, 1985), Bulgaria (Kovacevci, 1986), and Germany (Iserloch, 1988) where he participated in the symposia of medals and small plastic sculptures, and as far as South Corea where he gained exclusive favour with the local audience; he was invited to a prestigious international Busan Biennial as a guest of honour in 2002, 2004, and 2005.
Seeming flightiness does not interfere with the artist’s ability to concentrate on the implementing of his idea when making sculptures in public space - art works that require complex technological skills and long and thorough work.

His early works already stood out by subtle modeling and precise craftsmanship (e.g., a memorial board to Salomeja Neris in Panevezys 2nd secondary school, 1974). The method of his creative process has always involved sequencing: the idea is first captured in a drawing, then realised in a small sculpture piece or medal, and eventually it develops into monumental works. He begins with a generalized human figure, and his artistic solution evolves in the direction of nature, from the material settings he moves towards the language of associations. He provides unique interpretations of historical themes. In 1974, Algirdas Bosas settled in Klaipėda. The that time Chair of the City Executive Committee Alfonsas Žalys encouraged young artists’ coming to the seaport. He supported and funded Smiltynė granite sculpture symposia that were famous all over the Soviet Union by unorthodox contemporary works. The works made during the symposia were erected in Klaipeda Sculpture Park. Klaipeda at the time was called the cradle of modernism and a new spirit in art.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Lithuanian artists who broke away from illustrative plots and asserted the value of modernist idiom. The artists were interested in the internal structure of form, the expressive qualities of material and the recreation of nature. Plot-based themes were replaced by poetic metaphors: in the atmosphere of “hush up” one had to look for a spacious and associative image.
Over the said period, the works of Algirdas Bosas are to be associated with the growing interest in small plastic. According to art critic Rasa Andriušytė, in 1970s that was determined by the general trend of Lithuanian sculpture to exploit expressive metaphorical images and a predominant "chamber" scale applied to the relationship between the sculpture and its environment, and the sculpture and the viewer. The sculpture of the 70s features common conceptions and intellectual links with the works of such culpture classics as Jacques Lipchitz, Alberto Giacometti, Henry Moore, Constantino Brancusi, and Jean Arp. (...) The first stimulus to create associative plastic structures was not a social commission (...), but the inner need of the sculptor. The author of small plastic tried to convey not only the objects or facts witnessed by him and related by logical links, but also the inner meaning of the phenomena, spiritual changes in a personality, and abstract concepts. In the art of the 80s, the aims become a natural way of manifestation of the artist‘s philosophy. They start taking interest in specific issues of nature and culture and focus not merely on the forms of nature and their diversity, but also on man‘s environment: objects of everyday life and architectural details and constructions.¹
By enriching the methods of inter-war Constructivists, dealing with the inner structure of a human figure, and combining volumes, in the 70s to 80s, Bosas reveals the spiritual states of his heroes in a unique way ("Awakening Muse", "Torso", "Waiting", all of 1975; "Morning" 1981, "Friendship", 1982, "Metamorphosis", 1983). In those works the artist aspires to capture the dissolving, fragmented states that at the same time are “monumentally solid and witness the unity of the extremes. The artist is also attracted by the motiffs derived from the natural world ("Growth", 1973; "Grasshopper", 1985-86). The works of small plastic, made larger and adapted to the architectural space, in the course of time moved to the city settings ("Growth" 1977; "Grasshopper"; 1985-1986; "Awakening Muse", 1974-76; "Martynas Mažvydas", 1980; "Torso", 1981; "Twins", 1983; "Morning", 1985).
Over the recent years, the motiffs of man and nature evolved in his small plastic and drawings into associative post-modern signs: the artist became more attracted by abstract form ("The Change" I-II, 1995), secondary environment ("Connection", 1992), and the natural world ("Getting Ready for Flight", 1990). Most small plastic pieces from the period were commissioned for public spaces.
The most prominent sculptor's post-modern pieces were produced in the framework of the international sculpture symposia held in Lithuania and abroad. In Jelgava in 2001, at the Ice Sculpture Symposium, he produced a piece named Key to Heaven. In 2002, the same idea was recreated as a small sculpture piece and eventually erected on an outdoor site during the artist's participation at the Busan Biennial. Also a meaningful method of combining two different materials - polished granite and steel - was tested in the composition "Dedication to the Disappearing Park" (2000) at Liepaja's Symposium, and was later developed in his first installation-type composition "Beehive" (2002, international symposium "Sculpture Zone", Kaunas).

The history of Lithuania is another pivotal theme in Algirdas Bosas' works. The new conceptualisation of historical themes is best manifested in Bosas' medals. The artist's aspiration to employ a poetic metaphor already obvious in sculpture and drawings receives broader opportunities for expression in medals. A small plane of the medal enables the construction of a poetic poly-semantic plot by employing mu1tiple images, the rhythm of line, and relief. His medals unite elements of things, landscape, portrait, and a written text. Bosas works on medals in an orthodox manner: his medals are always round and cast in bronze. The obverse always shows a metaphorical image of the personality, the averse - a motif from the protagonist's life and activity. In his medals the artist reclaimed from oblivion the names that were forgotten intentionally or by negligence. He created small monuments to the inspired and bright figures of Lithuanian culture (M, Mažvydas, 1976; B. Buračas, 1983; M. Petrauskas, 1983; philologists J. Balčikonis and J. Lebedys; 1987; poets V. Mačernis, 1981 and Vienažindys, 1983; J. Baltrušaitis, 1984; J. Aistis, M. Katiliškis, V. Kudirka, A. Vaičiulaitis, all in 1987). The medal became for him a statement of his active relationship with the world; on the other hand, it is like a diary of reflections on things that were dear in the past and did not lose their value in the long run. Alongside with the historical figures and Lithuanian poets, his medal gallery features the images of his friends (Petras Repšys, sculptor Rimas Sakalauskas, both 1987), travel impressions (“Hungarian Melody”, 1984; “Bulgarian Motif”, “Medal for the Museum”, both 1986), topical contemporary issues “Ecology”, 1986).
His first round sculpture on the historical theme must have been “Composition on the Theme of Martynas Mažvydas” (1975). With the intention to revive the memory of the viewer and trigger a chain of associations, the figure of the author of the first Lithuanian book is dramatically deconstructed and reconstructed against the background of krikštas, the traditional grave marker of the Lithuania Minor. The “krikštas” also looks like an open book. Thus the artist semantically connects the images of a historical figure and the fate of the nation. The links of the plastic language with the early cycle of “Torsos” and the first medal to Mažvydas (1976) are interesting to observe. The composition on the theme of Martynas Mažvydas was repeated in granite during Smiltyne granite sculpture symposium soon afterwards (1980).
The intertwining of the past and the present in Bosas' medals was gradually transferred into his monumental works. Thus, Klaipėda Theatre interior relief tells the history of professional Lithuanian theatre in metaphorical poeticized narratives (1986-1989). The biggest in Lithuania relief pediment “Muses” of 100 m2 has already been cast, but keeps waiting to be fitted in the façade of the theatre building.
One of the crossroads in the Old Town of Klaipeda features a “Tower” (1982-1990). It is a house with the wall relief inspired by the poetry of Jurgis Baltrušaitis, especially by the line about 'melancho1y that frequently visits us on the wings of joy'. It is developed into a unique sculptural narrative. Like classic of postmodernist literature Umberto Eco, Algirdas Bosas deconstructs and rearranges historical facts mingled with his personal experience. 'Sometimes there are situations when one must put into a single work everything one thinks and wants to say, just because one might not be given another chance,' says the artist. 'The government changed four times in the Soviet Union while I was working on this project. Everything started during the 'nice' times of Brezhnev. It was the era when we built only decorative sculptural pieces. Sculpture could also be used as architectural highlight. Klaipėda opened a competition to create a decorative highlight for a square in the Old Town. We were several candidates, but in 1979, my idea was chosen. I liked it myself, because it had to be dedicated not to a single person, but to everybody. Some time ago, a house used to stand on the plot. It was a simple house and simple people dwelled in it. They lived and loved, they were happy. Children were born, people suffered and died. Over the century, the house saw two generations. This work is like a symbol of human fate. A house-tower inhabited by people. It has windows and doors. People look out of the windows and come and leave through the doors. Life goes on. And it is our common life. I wanted this house to reflect the architectural styles of the past: Gothic, Renaissance, Modern, and the twentieth century attitudes: all the epochs and traditions that left a mark on the old town. We are also going to leave such a mark. I wanted to the house to reflect past and present, but I did not want it to look like one built recently. I wanted it to have a familiar look for the people. Every window, every door, the draperies, the planes, and their relative relationships matter. One can claim that he has seen everything and has understood everything, but the next time he looks more carefully and discovers something new, he reads new things in it. It leaves one impression in the evening when you see just the child's hand, and a different one in the morning when the rising sun reveals the vault of the tower for several moments. You walk past it at daytime and see something totally different. (...).I wanted somebody 'to live' in it, a historical figure for Lithuania or coastal Lithuania, maybe a person from Klaipėda who contributed greatly to the deve1opment of town. (...) I decided to settle poet Jurgis Baltrušaitis in the house. He was not from Klaipėda, but it was his century. He was the first to grasp and demonstrate our relationship with cosmos in his poetry. His poetry and his relationship with cosmos were very close to my art”, reveals Algirdas Bosas.
Thus I have created one detail that shows his portrait and his cosmic vision, shrunken by thousand times so that it fits into the artist's hand. I have used the old Renaissance principle. The same applies in constructing a house: every brick, every square inch abides to the same principle like the overall structure of the house, of the city, and finally, the society: like a drop of dew that reflects the entire sky.'
The first commission from a Catholic community was of a monument to Franciscan brother and priest, and also a self-made doctor Jurgis Ambroziejus Pabrėža in Kretinga erected in 1992-1993. Similarly to medals, the classical framework of the monument is filled up with associative poetic images. The pedestal made of rocks supports three pieces in relief that illustrate the life the monk-priest: the central one shows the protagonist's portrait and his life in the monastery, the left piece shows him in the town of Kretinga, and the third leads one into the monk's cell. A generalized figure of the monk, with the medicinal herbs in hand, steps out to meet the people through the gate shaped like a bell. Like in his medals, the artist does not focus on the likeness of the character, but tells his life story in poetic images. The back side of the monument does not abound in images but is generalized both in terms of form and meaning. The expressive high-relief decorating the heavy door through which the monk steps out is intermingled with the motif of the Tree of Life characteristic of his medals. The motif associates the earthly and the eternal life.
Over the independence period, the post-romantic artist's interest in the history of the nation acquired a public value. His medals, miniature monuments, have grown into actual monuments. The sculpture “A Bird of Nostalgia” was unveiled in the campus of Klaipėda University. The work commemorates a USA émigré businessman and a patron of academic youth Drąsutis Kazimieras Gudelis (1933-1996). In 2006, an impressive monument to the Radvilos was erected in Kedainiai: it was awarded with the prize of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania in 2011.
Algirdas Bosas has remained loyal to the historical theme and keeps participating in different competitions of dedicatory medals, Lithuanian collector coins of the Lithuanian Bank, and new monuments.
His creative energy and the consistency with which he speaks of the universal human nature, man's natural and man-made surroundings, his home and his country and its heroic people, makes the sculptor part of the Lithuanian and contemporary world culture. 

                                                                                                                  Elona Lubytė 
1 Rasa Andriušytė, "Little plastiic", in Sculpture, Vilnius: Aidai, 1997, p 139-140.
2 „The dawn of existence behind your door, the universe behind your door ” (with sculptor A. Bosas communicate Z. Tallat-Kelpšaitė,  Klaipėda, 1991 03 09. p. 5.

Algirdo Boso kūrybos datos

Svarbesni Algirdo  Boso kūriniai