Vytautas Matulionis: “I take amber into my hands and listen with surprise to the symphony of nature. I see the forest of gigantic trees covered with sunshine; thousands of living creatures weaving a strand of life; pollen of orchids carried by the wind; pine’s seed and a silver thread of a spider-web…By our times…millions of years and avalanche of cataclysms. This patient traveller witnessed all of that.”
Vytautas Matulionis, just like B. Stulgaitė, was one of the first representatives of the generation which brought a renovation spirit into Lithuanian jewellery art. At present, he is a matured artist, who has mastered professional secrets of jewellery art. V. Matulionis’s collection is massive, radiating with the richness of materials, necklaces and brooches having the shape of a fish, a lizard, a spider, a bee or an ant. Such adornments stimulate one to recollect a long-standing outlook that an adornment is a thing made of expensive material and that precious stones adorn and have some magical power, i.e. an adornment must demonstrate expensive and refined materials. His adornments depicting living things continue the art history tradition which, incidentally, has preserved the meaning of a living thing as of an amulet. Only at first sight V. Matulionis’ adornments produce the impression of an exceedingly great abundance. But in reality, the order of composition dominates in them: the body mass of the living thing and small details are linked by a clear silhouette, and varicoloured materials do not become a motley mixture. The artist selects pieces of amber suitable for the depiction of the body of one or another living thing and attaches to them some parts of the body made of silver. “The Fish” is a modest flat lustreless piece of amber, the bent form which was supplemented by the artist with a small head, tail and fins. The artist used lustreless amber for a “Frog”: it seems to be jokingly moving its big eyes enlivened by blue turquoise; its eyes bear the engraved inscription “North-South-East-West’. The inscriptions on silver and gilded surfaces perform a decorative function of an ornament. The artist engraves magic figures of the “sun square” on a lizard, a living thing of the sun’s element and the “mandala” sign, symbolizing the order of the universe; the main material of adornments is amber, which prominent, polished pieces with radiant fantastic features inside are often exploited by the artist. V. Matulionis manages to solve a pretty hard task – to match semiprecious and precious stones with amber. For example, he lays out whitish rock crystal on the tail of the massive “Lizard” imparting some relief effect to the surface of the metal and a kind of fusion which does not trouble amber. The “Lizard” is hung on a chain adorned with turquoise and jasper – the whole becomes contrasting, but the contrast is unostentatious. The artist also uses small precious stones, which seem to be a mere shining dot on metal; amethyst and topaz beside magic letters on the bee’s wings become the eyes of the living thing. Someone might find the “Spider” with its truthful appearance pretty odd. But its legs are so precisely made, and the amber looks so warmly cosy… Therefore, the spider seems to bring luck, it is a real good one. V. Matulionis’ works of amber prove that amber is no “individualist” which cannot match with other materials – a decisive factor is talent. He is also the author of some amber objects, like a huge amber axe, dedicated to those who championed amber back into professional jewellery, or an amber candle that imitates a vase. He expresses ironical approach to the sacred aura, which typically surrounds amber in the traditional Lithuanian culture.