The Pan House of Žagarė

  • 2016-03-07
  • By City Paper Staff

Vilnius - Born with a taste for the unconventional, Edmundas Vaiciulis of Žagarė has lived his life in a series of peculiar turns and extraordinary experiences. A rebel during Soviet times, Edmundas, educated at Šiaulių Politechnikumas as a mechanical engineer, would never wear his hair the way Soviet conventions preferred (he shaved it all the way), nor did his shoes (or lack of shoes) meet employer standards. As such, his employment as an engineer lasted only one week.  
The story might have ended here if not for the collapse of the Soviet Union, which allowed Edmundas to buy a house and turn it into something that causes every Žagarė visitor to put on their brakes and stare.

After the Soviet Union fell and privatization was introduced, Edmundas purchased a house right in the center of town. Edmundas, never one to sit still and said to be as “antsy as mercury,” wished to renovate his newly acquired domicile, but neighbors sharing the building did not want to take part. Not letting this obstacle shake his determination, he left the infrastructure the same but began placing metal pots and pans on the roof, and other metal objects onto the side and exterior walls, completely covering the original facade. Thus, the Pan House (Puodų namas) was born.

No visit to the Pan House would be complete without taking a look at the display behind the high wall of the property. The self-taught sculptor also has a knack for turning tree trunks into artistic renderings of faces, generally archetypal characters such as Conscience — its three faces represent what one thinks, says, and does. The barn area has an array of animal skulls, while much of the yard is decorated with sculptures and other objets d’arts.
The reason for his eccentricity? Edmundas thinks nothing of it, simply that he never lost the child within, and never truly grew up.  

Not only a gifted artist and forward thinker, Edmundas is also a fanatical champion of justice, democracy, and is heavily involved in local politics. Combining politics and art also seems to be something he has mastered through time. Edmundas says he is not afraid to proclaim the truth, a truth that he feels many are too passive to proclaim.
“I am a clown, people laugh,” says Edmundas of his fellow townspeople. While the community embraces the house and the art, the locals’ one complaint is that, when it rains, the pots and pans produce a terrible cacophony, making it nearly impossible to sleep.     

Edmundas seems to be the sort to accept what fate brings him, instead of searching out perfect items for his collection. Consisting mostly of over 1,000 found items or items given to him by well-wishers, the house and grounds of his property are covered in items varying from the plethora of jugs and plates, to carved wooden masks, as well as machinery parts and other household objects.  Regarding his choice of décor, Edmundas has said, “There is no order, no logic, neither in the physical, nor in the spiritual world. This goes for my world too. There are no reference points. Order is relative...”
Edmundas is not opposed to curious guests, nor does he turn away visitors. Those planning to stop by, however, should keep their wits about them, as he enjoys regaling interested parties with fictitious stories, just to see if they are alert and paying attention.

Puodų namas
33 P. Cvirkos gatvė
Žagarė, Šiauliai County, Lithuania

 
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