Arterritory in Pictures: ArtVilnius’16 0

Photographs from the largest art fair in the Baltics

Agnese Čivle

Foto: Rita K. Zumberga

Yesterday, June 9, saw the opening of the seventh iteration of the Baltic region’s largest art fair – ArtVilnius’16. The outside of the Litexpo exhibition hall is brightly reflected in the stainless steel sphere created by Dutch sculptor Ronald A. Westerhuis, while close by - you can find frozen chess pieces formed by Lithuanian ice sculptor Mindaugas Tendziagolskis slowly melt. Visitors cleverly joke about what the black playing pieces could be made of: “Maybe it’s frozen Coca-Cola! – Where’s the rum?” In truth, the title of the work is “Warming”, and it leads one to think about the foolhardy moves being made by today’s global speed-players. Before I head into the fair, I think about what this year’s main themes could be: Socio-political subjects in the news? Or will ‘carefree escapism’ again take the upper hand?

Wooden cat by Aigars Bikše

The first and central object that visitors come upon in the main hall is a humongous cat made from wooden boards, by Latvian artist Aigars Bikše. In any case, it is part of the “Grand-Land’s Museum” project, which focuses upon political processes taking place in Latvia, Europe, and beyond. The back end of the Trojanistic cat has been opened up wide for the public to enter, so that one can go through the empty belly of the animal and cat-walk out onto its tongue; the latter is a couple of meters above the ground, and makes for a good viewpoint from which to look out onto the scene going on in Hall #5.

Aficionados of sculpture and installations should be well intrigued by what the TAKAS program has on offer: hyenas by Pauls Pudžs, and unicorns by Ģlebs Panteļejevs – both Latvian artists; half-wilted tulips by Lithuanian Algis Kasparavičius; and piles of garbage dangling above visitors’ heads, courtesy of Egle Grebliauskaite from Lithuania.

Pauls Pudžs

55 galleries are participating in this year’s fair, of which 28 are local Lithuanian establishments. Latvia has five galleries, Poland – ten, and among the labyrinth of stands you’ll also find galleries from Russia, Belarus and France. There’s also one each from Estonia, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Ukraine, the latter having been broadly represented last year, when Ukrainian contemporary art was the focus subject of ArtVilnius’15. This year’s guest of honor is Poland. Find out more about the galleries from Warsaw and Krakow participating at ArtVilnius’16 in one of our recent articles, “Down the Roads of Poland’s Art Market”.

In the separate PROJECTS exhibition section of the fair, the Lewben Art Foundation is once again presenting a part of its contemporary art collection. For more information on Lewben, see our interview from last year with the founder of the institution, Vilius Kavaliauskas: “From the Lithuanian Diaspora to Heroes of International Biennales”. The title of this year’s Lewben exhibition is “Shaping Ideas: Sculptures”, and it features a variety of formats in contemporary sculpture – from miniature dioramas by Jake and Dinos Chapman, to monumental masses created by Thomas Hauseago. Explaining the title of the show is the video work “Staging Silence”, by Belgian artist Hans Op de Beeck; set up in the middle of the exhibit, the film follows the manifestation of an idea as it takes on the form of a sculptural work.

Another standout in the PROJECTS section is “Heartiness”, by Lithuanian artist Kestutis Svirnelis, which can be best described as a story of the lightness of thoughts – as they can only be experienced in childhood. A meditative union of both kinetic and static sculpture, it is enlivened by the metallic background noise coming from the nearby installation created by Paulius Rainys and Nikolaj Kynde. Also impressive is the presentation by the Krakow Contemporary Art Museum MOCAK; titled “Actions with Tube”, it was created by the artistic duo of KwieKulik in their own living quarters, over a time span that lasted from 1975 to 2009. In the center of this photographic series is a large-scale cardboard tube of toothpaste which has unwittingly become the main character in various daily life episodes... and not only that. The main point of the piece is how a thing can become a cult object; at the same time, it also serves as a commentary on social and political issues.

Mindaugas Tendziagolskis

Ronald A. Westerhuis

Gļebs Panteļejevs

Algis Kasparavičius

Egle Grebliauskaite

Vytenis Jankūnas

C. T. Jasper

Indre Puišyte 

Francisco R. Remiseiro

Saulius Vaitiekūnas. Gallery terra recognita

Kestutis Svirnelis. Gallery Meno Niša

Beatričė Mockevičiūtė. Gallery 5 Malūnai. VDA, Vilnius, Lithuania

Guda Koster. Gallery Art-Cart, Kaunas, Lithuania

Sanguino. Gallery Karavan, Paris, France

Vilmantas Marcinkevičius. Gallery Grafo, Vilnius, Lithuania

Marija Šnipaite

Danas Aleksa. Flos Artifici, Vilnius, Lithuania

Agija Sūna art gallery, Riga, Latvia

Mariuss Jonutis. Meno Niša, Vilnius, Lithuania

Kristina Norvilaitė, Lithuanian

Gallery F.A.I.T., Krakova, Polija

Kuldīga Artists' Residence, Latvia

Aigars Bikše

Gallery E.K.ART, Vilnius, Lithuania

Elena Balsiukaite-Brazdžiuniene. Meno Niša, Vilnius, Lithuania

Saulius Vaitiekūnas. Gallery terra recognita

Saulius Vaitiekūnas. Gallery terra recognita

Latvian painter Andris Vītoliņš

Martynas Gaubas

Gļebs Panteļejevs. Gallery “Māksla XO”, Rīga, Latvija

Gallery Tifāna, Riga, Latvia

Jolanta Kizikaite. Gallery Meno Niša, Vilnius, Lithuania

Marcel Dzama

Gallery IFAA Contemporary, Netherlands