During the Soviet era, every Thursday garbage trucks would rumble through the courtyards between Vilnius apartment blocks. Leaning on their horns, the drivers would call residents to bring down their garbage. Domestic waste found its way into containers and garbage dumps, and it is this Thursday routine that is represented in Kostas Dereškevičius’ painting. But is the rubbish bin the most important detail here?
Dereškevičius was clearly influenced by the new style of observing daily life that he saw in modernist pop art albums. Known for his ironic perspective on reality, Dereškevičius portrayed life in Lithuania using bold, often contrasting colors.
But daily life in Lithuania in the 1970s was considerably more squalid, dismal and drab. Dereškevičius boldly chose routine, predictable details from reality and comical or absurd moments from urban life – interiors and courtyards in suburban apartment complexes, public transportation, weekends spent in resort towns – and found meaning and eloquence in the seemingly innocuous fragments of daily life.
A similar perspective is depicted in works by the three other members of the informal “Foursome“ painting group – Arvydas Šaltenis, Algimantas Jonas Kuras and Algimantas Švėgžda. The “Foursome” viewed Soviet reality as a routine devoid of any romance or grandiosity. But while Šaltenis may have portrayed reality through expressive and dramatic means, for Dereškevičius that reality was usually domestic at heart, albeit ironically colorful – like the verdant green expanse and blue sky just beyond the rubbish container, or the vivid red pants worn by a young woman on one momentous Thursday.