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ArtVilnius’16. Photo: Rytis Šeškaitis

Introducing highlights of the international contemporary art fair ArtVilnius’17 0

Litexpo, Vilnius
June 8 – 11, 2017

The international contemporary art fair ArtVilnius’17 invited art lovers to the Artagonist art hotel in central Vilnius to share some of the news about the upcoming fair. This year’s edition of ArtVilnius, which will run June 8 through 11 at Litexpo, will include 55 galleries and some 200 artists from 20 countries (from Belgium, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Ukraine and Lithuania to Belarus, Georgia, Russia, Italy and France). In addition to the main programme, where the galleries will showcase their offerings, the fair will present an expanded project zone featuring international art institutions and artists.

International projects

ArtVilnius’17 is organizing a special project space which will take up 2,700 square metres at Hall 4 of Litexpo exposition centre. Lewben Art Foundation, set up by the fair’s exclusive partner Lewben Group, has been working with the organizers for four years and, for the 2017 edition, is bringing an exhibition dedicated to femininity, “All These Beautiful Ladies”.

Helen Marten. Becoming Branch, 2014. Collection of the Lewben Art Foundation

“Over the last years, two girls have been born to the team of Lewben Art Foundation. This is what inspired the show’s curator, Francesca Ferrarini, to move away from the topical subject of feminism and look at other aspects of femininity. To underscore the international character of the exhibition, we will present nine contemporary artists from Lithuania and abroad,” Ugnė Bužinskaitė, the director of Lewben Art Foundation, said during the press conference, singling out in particular the Turner Prize-winning artist Helen Marten.

MOCAK Contemporary Art Museum in Krakow is returning to ArtVilnius for the second time. Curator Monika Kozioł will present 123 of the museum's artists, all of whom have been incorporated into a smart technology-driven piece by the Polish artist Mariusz Tarkawian. Art and education centre Rupert is bringing artworks created specifically for the fair by its residents, all of which will be on sale. Estonia is a particularly active participant in ArtVilnius’17, bringing three contemporary art galleries and an installation by the Baltic Young Artist Award winner Juhan Soomets, presented by the Estonian contemporary art platform NOAR.

Focus on videoart and Jonas Mekas

Attendees of Tuesday’s press conference had the chance to see one of the artworks to be presented at this year’s fair. Running along office corridors and repeating lyrics of Miley Cyrus' “Wrecking Ball”, Julia Scher and her video piece gave a taste of an important feature at ArtVilnius’17, the Videonale festival. One of Europe’s oldest festivals of video and time-based arts, Videonale is returning to Vilnius with 13 video pieces selected from 2,339 applications.

A scene from “Out-Takes From the Life of a Happy Man”. Jonas Mekas

“You will not convince me to grow old,” once said Jonas Mekas who is turning 95 this year. To mark the anniversary, the Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center is organizing a number of events, including an exclusive screening of Mekas' “Outtakes From the Life of a Happy Man”.

“We are participating in ArtVilnius for the fourth time and, although we do not sell anything, we are spreading the word about the Mekas centre and its collection. I class Mekas with young artists, his personality and his work never grows old,” said the centre’s director Gintaras Sodeika.

X-rated performances

“We are particularly proud of our annual exhibition of large-scale sculptures, installations and performances, “Path”, which this year attracted a record-setting number of applications, from 170 established and young artists. We selected 40 best artists from Lithuania, Estonia, Germany, Latvia and Ukraine,” said Sonata Baliuckaitė, ArtVilnius art project manager. This year's “Path” is sponsored by the guests of a charity ball organized in cooperation with Cobalt law firm, a Maecenas of ArtVilnius. Funds raised during the ball allowed to invite so many artists to take part in the exhibition.

Unicorn by Latvian artist Ģlebs Panteļejevs and the humongous cat made from yellow-colored wooden boards, by Latvian artist Aigars Bikše. “Path” programme of ArtVilnius’16. Photo: Rytis Šeškaitis

“Path” will include eight performance pieces by the likes of Raul Rajangu (Estonia), Erik Alalooga (Estonia), Sarah Hadou (Germany) and Monika Dirsytė (Lithuania). Rajangu's X-rated performance will feature naked bodies. Benas Šarka, an artist from Klaipėda, will present his performance “Atmata” on the day of the fair's opening, while Dirsytė's piece will feature 20 performers every day.

ArtVilnius’17 will continue its tradition of awarding best galleries and artists. The best young artist will receive a monetary prize provided by the fair's long-time Maecenas Cobalt law firm. Seventy young artists under 35 will participate this year, more than in any previous fair. “The art fair is getting younger, young artists can use the event as a launch pad to enter the Lithuanian and international art market. Selecting one young artist who is the best will be very difficult,” said Ms. Stomienė.

Visitors at ArtVilnius’17 will have a chance to select their own favourites and cast their votes for the best gallery and the best artist who will be awarded with monetary prizes provided by Volfas Engelman. The fair's visitors will also benefit from a programme of discussions and lectures and will be invited to join educational events and creative workshops.

ARCHIVE: A look back at the ArtVilnius 2016 art fair
A look back at the ArtVilnius 2015 art fair