Light installation “Smilga” by Kutavičius: designed as an experiment and swiftly gaining recognition

Smilga, By Denis Vėjas
Smilga, By Denis Vėjas

One of the most consistent light artists in Lithuania, Linas Kutavičius (“Lightforms“) is currently working on his latest project, the light installation “Smilga” (Lithuanian word for bentgrass), whose strength, flexibility and touch safety were captured during a photo session at the Smoke Factory with dancer Konstantin Kosovec.

The static photographs may seem that “Smilga “are fragile, and the heat would burn when one touches it, but the photoshoot by Denis Vėjas reveals the installation through a harmonious relationship with a human body. The most recent places where the public can see “Smilga” installations are the cultural institution “Panke” (Gerichtstraße 23 13347 Berlin, Germany), “Sodas 2123” (Vitebsko St. 23, Vilnius) and the “Memelio miestas” teritory (Naujoji Uosto St. 3, Klaipeda).

Smilga, By Denis Vėjas

Speaking about his project “Smilga”, Linas Kutavičius states that the beginning, as usual in his creative practice, was an experiment – the artist is constantly trying new technologies and looking for unexpected solutions. Both the psychological and the physical functions of light installations are important to the artist so that the object really provides sufficient lighting and not just a luminous decoration. He focuses on warm, cosy lighting. “Smilga” started as an LED strip attached to a fishing rod and wrapped in packaging sheets.

Covered by many layers of such sheets, it becomes like a fibreglass – allowing light to scatter evenly throughout the piece, and then the viewer no longer recognises what the object is supposed to be. The first such attempts were in 2014, so the artist has already been improving this device for eight years. The first such installation was installed near Lake Pape, Latvia. From the very beginning, the idea was that “Smilga” was an authentic, recognisable form of the coastal region. After the first test was successful, the project was continued. After Klaipėda became the Lithuanian Capital of Culture in 2017, 50 “Smilga”, 3-6 meter high illuminated objects were carried by volunteers, inviting the public to the opening and closing ceremonies. The performance was successful, and the artist received invitations to show “Smilga” at other events throughout Lithuania.

Smilga, By Denis Vėjas

Starting from the first tests, Linas Kutavičius did not stop, and the current durability and strength of the product “Smilga” are not disappointing – it even has a UV stabiliser, so the impact of the elements does not damage it. “Smilga”, just like real bends, are very resistant to our climate conditions – installed on the rooftops, it withstands strong winds, hurricanes and storms. “Smilga” is currently available to be rented for the event, exhibition and performance lighting solutions. Also, the last result of this cultural start-up, which received partial funding from the Lithuanian Culture Council Foundation, brought new inspirations and creative paths. After the video presenting “Smilga” was shared on the Internet (just under this paragraph), the artist was overflown by letters regarding the possibility to create lighting for events throughout Lithuania and abroad.

The artist says he is curious about manipulating and playing with space by using simple lines. From the time of his studies, following the “Less is more” approach, he admires minimalism and organics – each “Smilga” is different, has its own distinctive pattern, as if borrowed from nature. It is possible to create “Smilga” that reaches 8-9 meters. Sustainability is crucial to Linas Kutavičius, so “Smilga “are made of composite materials that guarantee the environmental friendliness of the final product. “I think that “Smilga” is still in its infancy, and I’m experimenting with a variety of its possible uses. There are still many interesting tests to be held in the future,” – claims the artist.

Smilga, By Denis Vėjas

The project funded by the Lithuanian Culture Council

Founded in 2003 by Linas Kutavičius, Lightforms Studio began as a private artist studio based in Klaipėda, Lithuania. In 2011, after a period of consistent work making light installations for various music festivals, the studio adopted its current name and became a business establishment with Kutavičius as its CEO. The studio’s name came as a natural reference to the artistic practice that involved shaping the organic sculptural forms into light installations.

Lightforms Studio has now grown into a cluster of creative and ambitious artists, engineers and managers who specialise in running complex light installation projects and developing innovations for the industry. In addition, the studio specialises in creating unique lighting products and solutions for a variety of public events and servicing light installations for festivals. The studio’s identity and character are reflected by its distinctive architectural lighting solutions for public and private spaces—a line of work that presents the studio team with creative challenges and ensures the constant development of new ideas. Each project results in a unique experience provided by an individual design solution that combines craftsmanship and technology.

Contacts: Linas Kutavičius

(CEO, Creative Director)

mail.: linaslightforms@gmail.com

mobile: +370 618 16742

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