Mantas Valentukoni, Land of the Babe, 2022, Photo by Vytas Nomadas
Mantas Valentukonis, Madonna, 2022, Photo by Augustinas Žukovas
Mantas Valentukonis, Boss Battle, 2021
Mantas Valentukonis’s paintings fuse seemingly divergent visual worlds, integrating the pixelated aesthetic signatures of video games into the tradition-steeped medium of oil painting, in a style reminiscent of Julius Hoffmann. His canvases capture the layered constructions of late 1990s gaming environments to probe shifting realities across the physical/digital threshold. Valentukonis’s surfaces embrace the blocky distortions of low-polygon counts and pixelated textures. Graphical glitches, visual artifacts, and broken anti-aliasing echo across his works, suspending hyper-real yet jagged figures in fractured voids. Iconography like weapons and muscular combatants appear constructed rather than observed, as if generated by a defective game engine.
This integration of chunky realism and visual rupture mirrors the engineered contradiction of games themselves – at once inviting immersive investment in their worlds while foregrounding their artificiality through distortions readily apparent across the screen. Valentukonis’s paintings inhabit the very space between intimacy and artificiality that gaming occupies, at once immediate yet clearly synthetic. By mining the visual lexicon of gaming while working in oils and acrylics, Valentukonis avoids facile classifications of old vs. new, authentic vs. artificial. He points to video games as the reigning cultural medium of our era, not to de-legitimize conventional artistic foundations but to show video game environments as a new style reformatting the category of the visual. His work extends to artistic video games like the innovative Volumetric Garden (2023).
Mantas Valentukonis (b. 1998) is an emerging Lithuanian painter based in Kaunas. After completing his BA in Fine Arts from the Vilnius Academy of Arts Faculty of Kaunas (2019-2023), Valentukonis has actively exhibited work across Lithuania. His paintings explore the intersection of physical and digital worlds. His canvases exhibit a sophisticated melding of traditional and new media. Realist portrayals of figures come against pixelated grids and fractured spaces, divided by shifts in technique. This visual tension highlights how our tangible reality now sits alongside virtual realms. Valentukonis has had recent solo exhibitions at Drifts Gallery in Vilnius (2024) and Meno Parkas Gallery in Kaunas (2023). His work has also been shown in group shows such as the Lithuanian Artists’ Association Quadrennial (2023) and the Alytus Young Artists Biennial (2022), where he received the Rotari Art Prize. He experiments with mediums like 3D modeling, augmented reality, and photogrammetry to capture how our sense of what is vital, original, or intimate get reconstituted within hybrid digital/physical spaces. Though early in his career, Valentukonis exhibits technical finesse along with conceptual sophistication that positions him as an important young voice investigating new frontiers of 21st century visual culture.