by Owen Lipsett
New York, New York
November 28, 2004
Moncys stipulated that the works in his bequest, his personal favorites which he consequently had not sold, be displayed in a purpose-built hall in Palanga, the closest settlement of any size to his native village of Monciai, along with some personal effects. He also stressed that all visitors should be allowed to touch them, which greatly enhances the exhibition’s enjoyability, particularly since Moncys’s favored medium was large blocks of untreated wood. He would cut these down, in the manner that other sculptors carve stone blocks, but would take advantage of the range of textures wood offered both naturally and as a result of both cutting and polishing. Thus, the same sculpture often has some edges which have the appearance of having broken naturally, others which seem to have been freshly sawn off, and still others that are have been smoothed. Visitors running their hands over them can consequently imagine they are taking the master’s place, a feeling which the airy and studio-like nature of the upper floor exhibition gallery enhances.
The ground floor (called the first floor in Lithuania as it is in the United States) displays a rather less interesting collection of Moncys’s personal effects, labeled in Lithuanian only, but is somewhat redeemed by also serving as a general exhibition space At the time of my visit in June 2004, this was given over to a selection of news photographs covering events in Lithuania the previous year, with ample explanations in both Lithuanian and English. Considering that a special election was being held the next day to replace a President Rolandas Paksas, who had become the first president in European history to be removed from office by impeachment, I particularly appreciated the education that it gave me! Nevertheless, they paled in beauty in comparison with the wonderful dark-wood abstract forms that stand as an eloquent testament to the survival of the Lithuanian people and their distinctive artistic history. It's a wonderful cultural break from Palanga's otherwise rather hedonistic charms!
Unfortunately, while touching the sculptures is allowed, photographing them is not, but for pictures and information on opening hours please visit: http://www.moncys.lt/indexen.html
From journal A Resort With Sculptures