Danius Kesminas: everybody's talking about walls and me - about how to break them

Artist Danius Kesminas is Australian of a Lithuanian origin and yet while on residency in Nida Art Colony, it was only his second time in Lithuania. He says it's impossible to manage something in only one month of a residency and that's exactly what most will agree with - time in Nida has a different pace.


Before leaving Nida, Danius finalized one of the artworks he started while on residency: "Tunnel to Kaliningrad". While talking about the concept of the tunnel, Danius suggests, that everybody are talking about walls and only a few of artists talk about connections. According to the artist, "the walls are only the tricks of the tangible world", "the walls are only in our heads", but there are some possibilities to bypass them, and that's when real changes begin. As to bypassing the walls, Danius has a silent plan to build another of those tunnels in Kaliningrad, in the direction of Nida, and then one more in Australia, the country he's born and raised at.

Danius Kesminas calls his artistic practice "magical tourism", and while at it, asks "Why am I born in Australia?", partly rhetorically. When talking about his creative sources he adds that sometimes his work is born as an attempt to escape the reality: "and this little tunnel is also escapist. It's possibilities. It's connections, communicating, and that's what I enjoy about art."

When asked about his decision to construct a tunnel in the forest, integrating it into the landscape, he is quite strict and critical: "Don't ruin my experience of Nida by some sculpture, don't ruin it. Everything's so beautiful there, so it's just insulting to me to build some stupid sculpture."

From time to time, as he speaks, Danius Kesminas concentrates and becomes unbelievably serious. He stresses out that it is of a vital importance to him that an artistic object would be "multilayered and sophisticated, but it would also appeal to the children." It seems that he's reached this goal with his secret tunnel project: the tunnel becomes a riddle as his name indicates that it leads to Kaliningrad, thus it provokes a curiosity - how and who has build this thing here? The tunnel is also artists' reflexion on the European Union and Lithuanias' need to be a part of it, as well as various political, economical, history and other issues.

At the end Danius admits: "what I really loved about this project was working with Algis, that was fantastic. He was funny - the whole idea of it, he was great to work with, it was magical. And the woodcarving was made by Marius."