Exhibitions  /   Sound Works for the Sapieha Palace

Sound Works for the Sapieha Palace

Andrius Arutiunian, Renata Dubinskaitė, Monika Kalin, Lina Lapelytė, Kristupas Sabolius
Fragment of a fresco in the Sapieha Palace (tinted image). Photo (detail): Norbert Tukaj

This collection of five sound works is inspired by the history and surroundings of the Sapieha Palace. The works were created by writer Monika Kalin; art historian and Baroque music performer Renata Dubinskaitė; artist, musician, and composer Lina Lapelytė; philosopher Kristupas Sabolius; and the artist and composer Andrius Arutiunian. Their diverse responses have produced sound experiences embodying a range of forms; meditation, storytelling, singing, a radio programme, and a mind-altering soundtrack. Together, the works connect the three main parts of the Baroque architectural ensemble: the palace, the park, and the Trinitarian monastery and church.

 

The words ‘this is a story that can still belong to us’ in Monika Kalin’s meditation-work The Path’s Voice, give voice to a possible way to relate to these five pieces, which foster an intimate, attentive, and sometimes provocative dialogue between their creators and the distant events and phenomena of the past. Collectively, the works inspire a curiosity to ponder: What was the world and its people really like in those times? How did they live and feel? And what does the history of the Sapieha family and their architectural heritage hold for us today?

 

Spanning several centuries, the history of the Sapieha Palace has many cracks – few sources of knowledge remain on its history and architecture. The primary surviving records tell the story through objects: they are the inventories of the Sapieha Palace, the park, and the former auxiliary buildings. It is from these documents that we can gain insight into the decoration of the palace and park spaces, the modification of the Sapieha Palace ensemble, and ultimately, what has been lost over time. These inventories offer a glimpse into the lifestyles shaped by these spaces and objects. 

 

The owners and use of the palace changed many times. As a country residence, it belonged to the Sapieha family, the noblemen of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, for just over a century (1689–1797). Later, the palace was used as a (military) hospital, rented to various individuals, and housed a cadet corps. During the Soviet era, the entire territory of the ensemble belonged to the Soviet army, and thus was classified and closed to civilians. The function of the adjacent monastery and church also changed with shifting political landscapes. Established at the end of the 17th century by Trinitarians from Spain upon the invitation of Lithuanian Grand Hetman Kazimierz Jan Paweł Sapieha, the monastery was closed in 1864 and repurposed for the Tsarist Russian army; the church was temporarily converted into an Orthodox church, and later used as a warehouse. Presently, the former site of the Trinitarians, who departed and never returned to Lithuania, hosts the Community of St. John. 

 

Each of these transformations are etched into the physical body of the Sapieha Palace ensemble. The Baroque residence of Kazimierz Jan Paweł Sapieha was built by reconstructing an earlier building dating back to the first half of the 17th century, the masonry of which has been preserved in the structure of today’s restoration. The palace endured devastation several times, beginning with an uprising by nobles against the Sapiehas shortly after the completion of the palace, following their defeat at the Battle of Valkininkai in 1700. Later, it suffered pillaging and destruction by both Russian and French armies. The palace continued to change as subsequent owners reconstructed the building, while the park eventually became the site for the new wing of the tsarist hospital. 

 

Much like reading inventories, the multi-layered heritage of the palace finds interpretation in the compositions created by contemporary authors through a combination of different details of the Sapieha Palace and its history – both documented and presumed – which sometimes intricately weave together threads of reality and fiction. The metaphor of the stranger that emerges in the radio programme-work Puota (Feast) by Kristupas Sabolius offers yet another way of listening to these works. What does it mean to be a stranger in relation to the history of one’s homeland? Perhaps it is the state of not knowing it well, not having experienced it personally, yet having the opportunity to perceive it with fresh eyes: to refrain from blindly trusting the dominant narratives, to trace the paths of lesser-known, parallel stories, to seek a personal connection with it? Paradoxically, through the personalisation of historical events, we often grasp the broader and deeper connections of the past, and recurring historical events and lessons are brought closer to the present. Similarly, the history (re)recreated and imagined in these sound works becomes a little more our own.

MONIKA KALIN

The Path’s Voice

2024
0:00 0:00

DURATION

5 min 58 s

CREDITS

Concept, text, narration: Monika Kalin

Composer, sound engineer: Edvinas Gruodis Siliūnas

Consultation: Vladas Dieninis

LANGUAGE

Lithuanian

 

This sound work was recorded using binaural sound, which is fully experienced when listening through headphones.

RENATA DUBINSKAITĖ

A Baroque Person in the Theatre of Life

2024
0:00 0:00

DURATION

28 min 43 s

CREDITS

Concept, text, narration: Renata Dubinskaitė

Vocals: Renata Dubinskaitė

Theorbo and Baroque guitar: Karl Nyhlin 

Sound engineer: Adas Gecevičius

LANGUAGE

Lithuanian

LINA LAPELYTĖ

Dies Irae

2024
0:00 0:00

DURATION

4 min 26 s

CREDITS

Concept, music: Lina Lapelytė

Vocals: Lina Lapelytė, Brothers of Saint John: Dismas, Paulius Juozapas and Reno Marija 

Sampling: Antanas Dombrovskij

Audio mixing: Ignas Juzokas

Recording of monks’ voices: Ignas Juzokas

Text: Dies Irae by Tommaso da Celano, 13th c. (Lithuanian translation by Pranciškus Šrubauskis, 1679) 

Research, coordination: Povilas Gumbis

LANGUAGE

Lithuanian

KRISTUPAS SABOLIUS

Puota

0:00 0:00

DURATION

52 min 4 s

CREDITS

Concept, script: Kristupas Sabolius

Sound design: Vytas Rasimavičius

Radio hosts: Deimantė Bulbenkaitė and Audrius Pocius

LANGUAGE

Lithuanian

ANDRIUS ARUTIUNIAN

Delights

2024
0:00 0:00

DURATION

32 min 45 s

CREDITS

Composition: Andrius Arutiunian

Voice: Alix Hugonnier

 

This sound work was recorded using binaural sound, which is fully experienced when listening through headphones.

Curator: Asta Vaičiulytė

Sound works: Andrius Arutiunian, Renata Dubinskaitė, Monika Kalin, Lina Lapelytė, Kristupas Sabolius

Sound mastering: Pranas Gudaitis (audiomastering.lt)

Lithuanian language editing: Dangė Vitkienė

English translation: Emilija Ferdmanaitė

English language editing: Gemma Lloyd

Graphic design: Vytautas Volbekas

Communications: Denisas Kolomyckis, Aistė Račaitytė, Emilija Filipenkovaitė

Thanks to: Rūta Birutė Vitkauskienė, Laura Misiūnaitė, Virginija Januškevičiūtė, Giedrė Stabingytė, Viktorija Mištautaitė

FINANCED BY