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Kestutis Svirnelis

ARTVILNIUS’13 Returns for the Fourth Time 0

LITEXPO Exhibition and Congress Centre, Vilnius
June 26  – 30, 2013

ARTVILNIUS’13, the first international art fair in the Baltic countries, will take place for the fourth time, this year from June 26 to 30, in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. Today ARTVILNIUS is the largest art fair dedicated to contemporary arts in the Baltic States. This is where the visitors can keep their fingers on the pulse of contemporary arts, see what is new today in art galleries and what artists they present, compare Lithuanian galleries with foreign ones, and, certainly, acquire some art pieces. 

This year ARTVILNIUS is hosting 50 galleries from 11 countries: 36 Lithuanian galleries and 14 foreign galleries from Denmark, Italy, Great Britain, France, Poland, Germany, Ukraine, Byelorussia and Portugal. Latvia, however, is represented by three art spaces – Exhibition Hall of Latvian Academy of Arts, Galerija 21 and Tifāna Art Gallery

In addition to usual activities, the art fair offers a program of parallel events, including film and video screenings, meetings with the artists, book launches, and a conference dedicated to the prominent Lithuanian painter Augustinas Savickas. contacted art critic Ernestas Parulskis, member of the ARTVILNIUS’13 Panel of Judges, to learn more about the upcoming event and the current state of the Lithuanian art market.  

What are the brightest events of ARTVILNIUS this year? Have there been any novelties added to the programme?

Paradoxical, it may sound, but the main novelty of the art fair is its external becoming more conservative. This year, ARTVILNIUS refused of its relevantly usual principle of placing participants into gallery cages. Having reviewed and analysed the works presented by galleries, the architects of the art fair arranged the space following the museum principle, thus creating a display precedent new in our region, so that respect to arts, attractiveness for spectators, and comfort for gallerists would become an organic combination of aesthetics and function.  

What about activity of the Lithuanian art market? What are collectors looking for?

It is difficult to comment on the Lithuanian art market in absolute values, and easy in contextual ones. The latter judgements show that the market is growing: already in the middle of the year, the turnover of the Vilnius Auction exceeded the total sales of auctions held in 2012. Lithuanian collectors and art lovers are not very willing to take risks. They are usually looking for the highest-quality works of the early 20th century, inter-war period and Soviet modernism. As the supply of such artworks is very limited, these preferences, apparently, will have to change quite soon.

What are the individual features characteristic of Lithuanian contemporary arts?

The current face of Lithuanian contemporary arts has been formed by the Lithuanian flagmen of such art: Deimantas Narkevičius from Vilnius, Jonas Mekas and Žilvinas Kempinas from New York, and Fluxus heritage by Jurgis (George) Mačiūnas covering the whole area. Acceptance or denial of accents placed by them are shaping the context of Lithuanian contemporary arts featuring, on the one hand, interpretations and fixations of the past (war, post-war, Soviet, Post-Soviet), and, on the other hand, conceptual play with environmental states, texts and meanings, usually placing no emphasis on the relevance, political or critical character of these states, texts and meanings.

What is your vision of the development of the art fair in the future?

The future and the purpose of this fourth art fair is very clear – to be held for the fifth and subsequent times.


To understand, however, why there appears to be a decrease in the number of Latvian and Estonian galleries participating in the art fair every year, contacted Mrs Diana Stomienė, ARTVILNIUS’13 director.

What could be the reason for the decreasing numbers of Baltic art galleries at ARTVILNIUS? What are the benefits of participating in the art fair for Baltic art galleries?

This year, ARTVILNIUS’13 coincided with the art festival “Cēsis 2013”. This prevented some Latvian galleries form coming to Lithuania. As we are at a crossroads between East and West, it is generally useful for us to activate the art market of the Baltic region and to attract possibly more buyers from East and West. In addition, this art fair is useful for galleries in terms of sales and international contacts.  

Vladas Urbanavičius

Tauras Kensminas

Algirdas Seskus

Solveiga Vasiļjeva

Laisvės av. 5
Vilnius, Lithuania