Sigitas Virpilaitis arranged his solo exhibition in 1999 at the Gallery, and became famous for introducing Post-Modernism into Lithuanian jewellery art. Lithuanian and other amber jewellery is not very open to the principles of the Post-Modernism, because the traditional approach to amber is deeply rooted and is resistant to changes. The amber itself is the reason: each piece has strong individual features, its own depth, optical qualities, as well as specific meanings, carried by its long history, which lasted millions of years. Up to now, the negligence of this individual and precious aura that is covering amber was almost unacceptable. Only Post-Modernism could embrace this approach by annihilating the opposition of the subtle or vulgar taste, of luxurious, precious, and unique items or cheap serial artefacts, generally speaking, of high or common culture. In his jewellery, Sigitas Virpilaitis makes amber look like caramel paste, cut by a cheerful confectioner into candies – shells, baby pacifiers, ovals, and quadrates. He puts them in turn with sweet looking (chocolate?) pieces of coconut shell, inserting sharp small pear-tree sticks here and there. The artist utilises silk, feathers, wood, small transparent amber beads: he strings all these segments on a hardly visible synthetic thread or fastens with bright coloured polyester strings. The result is an ephemeral toy. Yet this game follows the rules, all the forms and colours are exactly where they have to be. This is a challenge for an artist to eliminate the solidity of an adornment, to make it light and playful, and still keep it within the frame of jewellery artwork. Sigitas Virpilaitis has managed to succeed in achieving this. According to the art critic L. Ludavičienė “the artist offers a Post-modern par excellence amber version.”
His solo exhibition Amber and Gold held in 2005 has become an extraordinary event of our art life. The idea of jewellery with amber and gold was first conceived by Virginija and Kazimieras Mizgiris who have in-depth knowledge of the collections of amber held in European museums. The AmberGallery’s commission of the project Amber and Gold fell, after having discussed all candidates, to S. Virpilaitis. The result of his work that took a year and a half emerged by using as much gold and amber, semi-precious and precious stones as he needed to do what he conceived – that is following only artistic, and not commercial, considerations. By creating a collection with amber and gold the artist treats a piece of jewellery as a precious item. On the other hand, he demonstrates his individual style and renders jewellery from precious materials with the spirit that has little in common with the air of luxury. Amber clarified in an autoclave ‘refuses’ its material identity and experiences the metamorphosis into a whitish transparent jelly-fish body or the leaves of an exotic plant of grey mother-of-pearl colour. Being very light, it fits for huge, but visually weightless earrings. The artist allows himself to defy the established notion of the valuable material of a piece of amber and to take out all the inside of the piece, thus turning it into a hollowed bell; he may also carve the thin walls with openwork patterns. Gold in S. Virpilaitis’s jewellery does not demonstrate the shine of a precious metal and reveals its visual quality, its ability to acquire a relief, texture and warm opaque surface that reflects the idea of composition. Following his idea the artist often changes the usual appearance of amber, but he has also created jewellery that reveals the natural beauty of dark, transparent amber. The refined taste, but without the learned lessons of elegance, and playful, but rigorous imagination – these heights have been reached thanks to talent and professional skill; everything that S. Virpilaitis does starts here – he is one of the leading Lithuanian jewellers.