Piniped / Plėviakojis, 2011
49 x 16 cm
This series of vases by Lithuanian artist Rokas Dovydėnas is selected and curated by London-based curator Milda Batakyte through her new curatorial project Ontrēp.
Pinniped and Louhan is an ongoing series that stems from Rokas’ research into the XVII ct. European colonialists’ obsession with china porcelain and attempt to replicate it using local materials. For the series, Rokas hand built these rough-shaped vases out of Lithuanian clay and employed techniques of glazing to achieve the traditional blue/white result, which is rather a challenge when working with terracotta like Lithuanian clay. This research also extends into the imagery and references the different narratives found on historical china porcelain. Here, Rokas establishes a hybrid-myth Pinniped and Louhan that recalls Lithuanian folk stories and historical depictions of the story of the enlightened in the context of Buddhism. Pinniped is an amphibian-like creature and an inhabitant of Lithuanian swamps, surrounded by Chinese landscapes and ornaments. And Louhan, Rokas’ variation of the enlightened that he bases on Lü Dongbin’ s image of an immortal that he once saw on the Ming dynasty porcelain vase.