Marija Marcelionytė-Paliukė “About Snails and Ants”

Marija Marcelionytė-Paliukė

Personal exhibition “About Snails and Ants”

Marcinkonys Station Gallery

2023 06 23-07 29

I think that the most accurate, and perhaps the most open, description of the exhibition would be simply to explain its title. And then there’s that mistake in the date… discovered after the posters had been printed. I corrected it by leaving out the fact of the time rush. And the interesting thing is that this mistake legitimised a work for which I had no explanation, I just wanted it to appear in this exhibition. Now it is calm. 

The title, or perhaps the beginning of the story or narrative, was born out of a desire to find common ground… First of all, with my son Adam, and more broadly, with every person I meet and with my relatives who are not from the art world. I am always looking for ways for us to talk about more than just the weather, to create a connection with someone who doesn’t know a single joke (me), doesn’t know the laws of economics (me), doesn’t know the ins and outs of politics (me), but who wants to be a part of that conversation. I have noticed that when I find understandable explanations about complex or ephemeral things, my son enjoys going to exhibitions, watching documentaries, listening to music that is not for him, or maybe not yet for him, or maybe never will be for him. But at the same time we are together, we talk, we laugh, we wander “into the arc” and it‘s like something happens Connections are made that would not exist if it were not for those experiences that are (so far) not for him and not about him.

I’m not sure if I can convey it, but when I close my eyes, I can feel the space of Marcinkonys Station, or maybe I can see it like an anthill from the inside: you are such a tiny little thing, like Gulliver in the land of Brobdingnag, looking for a way out. In this case, the works that will “hang” on the walls, and it’s very important that they are all in frames, which means that I won’t recreate them anymore, they are like windows to the world. In fact, they have been like that for me: exhibitions in Denmark, China, Japan, the UK, Australia, Estonia, Norway, Finland, Germany, Poland, …, Vilnius, Kaunas. And now, when I come here as a visitor, I want to believe that I’m bringing a part of that big world to Marcinkonys and that I will have something to tell the person who comes to the exhibition, although what I want to hear most of all is… stories about how to fight, or maybe come to an agreement, with snails and ants in gardens. 

And what is not on the walls, in my visions, is not tangible at all yet, it’s just a feeling. There, the story of how the snail (lat. Arianta arbustorum), a pest of gardens, produced offspring on our kitchen window sill, should unfold. On 30 July 2020, I listened to Prof. Dr. Marija Drėmaitė’s presentation “Why do people build dream castles?” At Timofey Manor, Lentvaris. My son was wandering around the estate at the time and, and on the way home, he said, with his palm open:

– Mom, look, what a beautiful snail. Can we grow it? I’ll look after it. 

We put her in a glass jar with a lid, and every time I cut a cucumber, the tip of the cucumber went into the jar. The snail became my pet. Surprisingly, the snail lived. In the spring of 2022, when my son came home from school, he opened his palm again and there was a snail of the same kind, but with a slightly different shell pattern: 

  • Mom, your snail is sad, so I brought her a friend.

On 28 August 2022, the snails became parents.


Marija Marcelionytė-Paliukė (b. 1977, Vilnius) graduated from the Vilnius Academy of Arts with a Master of Arts degree in 2001. Since 2007 she has been teaching at the VAA Graphic Arts Department, where she has been the head since 2014. Currently, she is a VAA professor and curator of the gallery “5 malūnai”. She participates in and organises exhibitions, gives presentations at conferences in Lithuania and abroad. In 2023, she was awarded the Government Prize for Culture and Art. 


Workshops will be held on 15 and 22 July during the exhibition. One of the workshops will be for children, led by Adomas. It will be about ants and the other will be about looking slowly like a snail, trying to see, led by Marija.

Organiser: VšĮ Verpėjos

Partner: Merkinės fabrikas, Vilniaus Academy of Arts

Supported by Lithuanian Council for Culture, EEA grants.

The exhibition will run from June 23 until July 29, 2023 at Marcinkonys Station gallery (Kastinio g. 1C, Marcinkonys).

Marcinkonys Station gallery is open Saturdays and Sundays, noon–5 pm.


Marija Marcelionytė-Paliukė Instagram account

Photo credits: Anastasija Fokša