Intro exhibition “Beach season”

© Massimo Vitali (Italy) “Untitled”

On 1st of June, Thursday, at 6 PM, at the M. Žilinskas Art Gallery, M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art will be the opening of exhibition “Beach season”.  This exhibition presents different photography series created by eleven authors: Massimo Vitali’s (Italy) beach landscapes, Kirill Golovchenko’s (Ukraine/Germany) “Out of the Blue”, Tadas Černiauskas‘ (Lithuania) “Comfort Zone”, Turi Calafato’s (Italy) “A Day at the Beach. Summer in Sicily”, Céline Diais’ (France) “See the Sea”, Marton Kallai’s (Hungary) “Solotvyno – A Dream about Salt”, Krzysztof Racoñ’s (Poland) “Zakrzowek”, Berta Tilmantaitė’s (Lithuania) “Surfing India”, Emily Wabitsch’s (Germany- Bangladesh) “From Cox’s with Love”, Jashim Salam’s (Bangladesh) “Life beyond the Ship Graveyard” and François Marmion’s (France- UK) “Bloody Holiday”.

Curators of the exhibition: Mindaugas Kavaliauskas, Donatas Stankevičius

Exhibition on display until 3 of September.

Artists:

Massimo Vitali (Italy) "Untitled"

© Massimo Vitali (Italy) "Untitled"

The series of Italian beach panoramas, started in 1995, began in the light of drastic political changes in Italy.  Massimo started to observe his fellow countrymen very carefully.  He depicted a “sanitized, complacent view of Italian normalities,” at the same time revealing “the inner conditions and disturbances of normality: its cosmetic fakery, sexual innuendo, commodified leisure, deluded sense of affluence, and rigid conformism.” (professor Whitney Davis)

The figures in these photographs are inactive. Big crowds, dispersed over the vast beaches, are photographed with the large format camera, elevated high above the sandy surface. The images are full of detail, down to patterns of bathing suits, facial expressions and hair wet from the salty sea water. These beach scenes are so precisely captured, that they don't look real anymore. The figures seem disengaged, and the camera angle renders the scene more similar to a large scale painting than a photographic snapshot.

Set somewhere in the territory in between landscape and (group) portrait, Massimo Vitali's series show the “innocent bareness, a reconciliation with nature, along with pathetic hedonism” as the artist himself described in an interview with Joerg Colberg.

Massimo Vitali is an Italian photographer based in Lucca.

Vitali studied photography at the London College of Printing. He initially worked as a photojournalist for the Report Agency in the 1970s, and later as a movie camera operator.

In 1995 he took on fine art photography.

His work is presented in the world's major museums, including the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver, the Fond National Art Contemporaine in Paris, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris, the Fondation Cartier in Paris and the Museo Luigi Pecci in Prato.

Kirill Golovchenko (Ukraine/Germany) "Out of blue"

© Kirill Golovchenko (Ukraine/Germany) "Out of blue"

A beach is a universal experience and an important part of cultural world of Ukraine. Many people have summer houses near the sea, spending entire summers there. Beach can reveal more about people than any other public space. People go to the seaside, take off their clothes, lie down next to strangers, swim, eat, tan, and drink. Crowds attract even bigger crowds. Some parts of the beach are so hopelessly packed that it's hard to get to the waterside through all the beach-towels. Out of the Blue offers a window into reality of the seaside.

These photographs are shot through the swimming tyre framing the picture as if seen through ship’s porthole. The circle also resembles a telescope lens and has a touch of the voyeuristic about it. The process of making the pictures through the tyre adds a performative element, thus putting Out of the Blue in the debatable territory in between staged and documented reality.

Kirill Golovchenko was born in Odessa, Ukraine. He studied photography and design at Darmstadt University, graduating in 2007. He was a fellow at DAAD in 2008 and 2010, and at the Künstlerhaus Schloss Balmoral in 2014. In 2009 and 2014 he was supported by VG Bild-Kunst and, in 2014, he was artist in residence at the Goethe Institute in Kiev. Kirill Golovchenko is a recipient of many awards including: European Publishers Award for Photography, 2014; European Photo Exhibition Award; Abisag-Tüllmann-Preis, 2013; and a documentary photography grant from Wüstenrot Foundation, 2007.

Tadas Černiauskas (Lithuania) "Comfort Zone"

© Tadas Černiauskas (Lithuania) "Comfort Zone"

This series was inspired by people's behaviour as a response to their surroundings. Acting reserved in everyday life, we relax completely on the beach. These photos were not staged and people did not suspect that they were photographed. Sleeping holiday- makers were chosen because they accurately represents the idea of comfort zone. Seaside, sun induced laziness and the heat offers a welcome alternative to the fast pace of contemporary life. The observer is invited to explore every smallest detail of the photograph not confronted by the subject's gaze. The subject is sleeping and their face is concealed. People in photographs are anonymous therefore telling the shared narrative about the summer, heat and comfort.

Tadas Černiauskas began his career as an architect, later turning to photography and interdisciplinary art. His first personal series was the windswept portraits “Blow Job”, interpretations of Van Gogh's self-portraits in “Revealing the Truth” and “Comfort Zone”, a documentary about sunbathers. The success of these projects led to exhibitions across the world, they've won numerous photo awards. In 2016, Tadas Černiauskas decided take a more conceptual direction with his new projects “Black Balloons”, “Chromatic Aberrations”, “Adobe Acrobat”. He lives and works in Vilnius, Lithuania and continues to exhibit both photographic and interdisciplinary works globally.

Turi Calafato (Italy) "A day at the beach. Summer in Sicily"

© Turi Calafato (Italy) "A day at the beach. Summer in Sicily"

Turi Calafato travelled all around the Sicilian coastline to document the distinct local lifestyle. Summer in Sicily is all about going to the seaside. Beaches are very crowded and people come to enjoy their day out from every part of the country. Some even arrive the night before and set up tents all over the beach just to get their money's worth from their holiday.

Bathers spend all day long in the sun, under the umbrellas, in their deckchairs playing, eating, sleeping. They come well equipped with bags of food, swimming aids, towels and any entertainment needed: snacks, magazines, cross words and books. There is a lot of  humour in this series, however the camera is kind to the people portraying them relaxed and enjoying the simple pleasures summer provides.

Turi Calafato started his career in pharmacy until his passion for visual arts and photography took over. He is a self-taught photographer and in 2012 he began to work professionally in this field, mainly focusing on documentary projects. He exhibited in Italy and internationally including London, New York, Paris, Santa Fe etc. Turi Calafato holds a few international photographic awards such as World Press Photo, the Sony World Photography Award, the Choice Award and the Px3.

Celine Diais (France) "See the sea"

© Celine Diais (France) "See the sea"

Parisians are invited to enjoy the seaside dream in the middle of the city. The idea of urban beach has become really popular in the last decade in France. Border in between the city and the countryside has become blurred. These urban beaches combine contrasting city hustle and bustle with marine like landscape creating surreal experience.

Paris Plage is the most famous urban beach, but in fact more than fifty of them exist in France with new ones being built every year. Every element of the beach is present: palm trees, sand, sun umbrellas, water. The only thing missing is the sea itself.

How do urban beaches affect the city and fit within the urban landscape? How are they seen, experienced and shaped by the people attending? See the Sea pictures attempt to show these different aspects. Céline Diais used an old analogue camera when making this series. The soft colours show the poetic beauty of these temporary public spaces, where „people are invited to collectively participate in a twirl of playing the beach without the sea“ as French ethnologist Emmanuelle Lallemand said.

Coloured with the soft nostalgia, these pictures give an impression of timelessness, like photographs from a daydream.

Céline Diais is a French photographer. She began her career working as a journalist for daily newspapers in France.  There, she discovered photography. See the Sea series is her first personal project, inspired by the seaside aesthetics.

Marton Kallai (Hungary) "Solotvyno – A Dream about Salt"

© Marton Kallai (Hungary) "Solotvyno – A Dream about Salt"

Solotvyno is a salt mining town in south western Ukraine. Mining has ended in the last decade, but water keeps on working under the ground. Salty water and black mud offers health treatments for thousands of visitors. Local investors pump water from the former mines to maintain the bathing capacity in sanatoriums and retreats, but this helps water to get underground doing further damage. Collapsing mines cause huge craters to open on the surface and forces people to move away from the village. The nearby Tisa river is at danger too: if water breaks through the salt mine, it could run to the river causing a biological catastrophe.

Marton Kallai  is a documentary photographer based in Budapest, Hungary. He studied photography and sociology in the "ELTE" University Budapest. Marton has been working as a photographer since 2006. He focuses on documentary photo essays with a special interest in nature and environment.

Krzysztof Racoñ’s (Poland) “Zakrzowek”

© Krzysztof Racoñ (Poland) “Zakrzowek”

An old limestone quarry in the center of Krakow was closed and filled with water in the 90s. Since then it became a popular spot amongst young people who seek relief from heat and clamour of the city in the summer. Due to various tragic accidents caused by jumping off the rocks, drowning and a few cases of suicides, the city authorities banned the admission to the surrounding teritory and bathing in the lake. However, even the fencing of the area did not stop people from coming by.

Many proposals were brought in for the redevelopment of Zakrzówek area in the recent years. Private developer proposed to build a new complex of flats around the lake, but the local community protested. Finally the city authorities decided to purchase the land and initiate the construction of an organized public beach.

Krzysztof Racoń is a documentary photographer based in Krakow, currently studying at the Institute of Creative Photography in Opava (Czech Republic). He is a graduate of the Jagiellonian University and Academy of Photography in Krakow (Poland) and of Sputnik Photos mentorship program. Twice awarded in the international contest "Lens on development" organized by the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 2013, his project on the small village located in the shadow of a great industrial conveyor tube brought him first place in the Vienna International Photo Awards. In 2015 he published „Rura” in a photobook form. His second project „Disappearing Lakes” is dedicated to Rożnowskie and Czchowskie lakes located nearby his hometown.

Berta Tilmantaitė (Lithuania) "Surfing India"

© Berta Tilmantaite (Lithuania) "Surfing India"

Chanting loudly, the fishermen drag their boats to the shore, as the birds circle above in hoping for some fresh fish. Dolphins can be seen at play in the waves off in the distance, but here closer to the shore it is a surfer that takes the centre stage. Positioning himself in a small barrel wave, he moves further out, cutting into the surf.  He appears out of place, it’s as if someone has simply pasted him into the scene. It's not widely known that  India offers one of the most unique surfing spots on the planet.

“The colour of the sea, the cliffs, the coconut trees and the bright boats are so incredible. They almost look unreal. It feels like I am surfing in an artist’s pallet that seems to always be changing and evolving,” says Lucy Perkins, a yoga instructor from the UK, who now lives here.

“How do you catch fish with this?” the fishermen ask the surfers as they study their surfboards. “What’s the point then, if you don’t fish with them?” They raise their eyebrows. Soon, however, they are taking to the boards themselves, and attempting to catch waves in the way they do with their small boats. For now it’s a small paradise. A paradise shared between only a few surfers and the beach’s true owners – the fishermen.

Berta Tilmantaitė is a Lithuanian multimedia journalist, photographer and videographer. Her stories focus on social issues, human rights, environment and connection between human and nature. Berta studied at Vilnius University, the Danish School of Media and  at the University of Bolton/Beijing Foreign Studies University. She is a co-founder of first and only Lithuanian multimedia platform for documentary stories called Nanook.  Berta’s work was published in various media outlets around the world, including National Geographic, GEO, Al Jazeera, Wired and others. She has won awards in international contests and festivals, such as Sony World Photography Awards, LUMIX Festival for Young Photojournalism, Lithuanian Press Photography Awards and others.

Emily Wabitsch (Germany/Bangladesh) "From Cox’s with Love"

© Emily Wabitsch (Germany/Bangladesh) "From Cox’s with Love"

Cox’s Bazar is a town on one of the longest sea beaches in the world, located at the Bay of Bengal, in Bangladesh. It is one of the country’s favourite choices when it comes to honeymoon destinations. Every year thousands of couples start off their married life close to the vastness of the sea. Physical intimacy between men and women in Bangladesh belongs to the private space. Inside the water, the cultural and religious customs which define the behaviour of couples in public seem to dissolve. The ocean as a space, where bodies encounter tidal movements of pushing and pulling, floating and drowning, and are thus subject to greater forces, provides a place in between the public and the private, where moments of physical affection and playfulness can be lived. With time and perseverance, water is capable of penetrating everywhere and inside every thing and soften the surface of every stone, making it an element so strangely similar to love. In her work Emily Wabitsch captures moments of freedom, hope and unity. The images carry the lightness and joy of a holiday postcard depicting mood and emotion rather than specific location.

Emily Wabitsch was born in Germany and grew up at the border of France and Switzerland. After completing her photographic apprenticeship at the Ecole de Photographie de Vevey, Switzerland in 2007, she started working on photojournalistic assignments for the newspaper El Comercio in Lima, Peru. Two years later she moved to Germany to work for the news agency dpa. In search of new ways of seeing and a more personal voice in photography, Emily started studying at Pathshala South-Asian Media Institute, Dhaka. Since then, Emily splits her time between her personal work and assignments. In November 2016 she started to work as curatorial assistant at Chobi Mela International Photography Festival IX in Dhaka. Emily is a swimmer and diver, interested in the psychological effect of space and sound.

 

Jashim Salam (Bangladesh) "Life beyond the Ship Graveyard"

© Jashim Salam (Bangladesh) "Life beyond the Ship Graveyard"

The ship breaking industry at Sitakunda in Chittagong started it's operation in 1960. Due to lower labour costs and less strict environmental regulations Chittagong ship breaking yard boomed in a short period of time. Harmful oily substances leaking from discarded ships destroyed thousands of trees in the coastal area. Dangerous vapours and fumes from burning materials make this coastal belt a highly polluted region.

Yard workers' wages depend on the number of hours worked and their skill level. They have no entitlement to overtime pay, sick pay or annual leave. The usual working day is 12-14 hours long and the wages range from 100 to 250 Bangladeshi Taka (1 to 2.75 Euros).

The working conditions are dangerous and health and safety regulations are poor. Protective equipment is absent or inadequate most times. Huge casualties occur causing loss of lives every year. Over the last twenty years, more than 500 workers have been killed and 600 seriously injured according to local news media.

Scrap ships provide more than 80% of the country’s steel needs.  Nevertheless there are around three million people directly or indirectly involved and employed in the industry. 40% of the workforce comprises of child labour.

Despite these treacherous conditions, people from all over Bangladesh, particularly poverty prone northern areas, join the industry to make a living.

Jashim Salam is a documentary photographer based in Bangladesh. He holds a degree in photography from Pathshala, The South Asian institute of Photography and Media Academy. He gained his masters at the Konrad Adenauer Asian Center for Journalism at Ateneo De Manila University in the Philippines.

He teaches and runs seminars, as well as mentors young photographers in Bangladesh. Jashim has worked with DrikNEWS agency, ZUMA press, New Age, Majority World, Nur Photo Agency and Corbis.

He exhibits nationally and internationally including recent shows in  Visa Pour l'Image,  The Photoville Festival in New York,  The Getty Images Gallery and Gallery of the French Alliance Foundation Paris. Jashim's work has been published  in The Sunday Times Magazine,  NY Times, WIRED, SPIEGEL, The Observer, National Geographic and The Guardian.

François Marmion (France/UK) "Bloody Holiday"

© Francois Marmion (France/UK) "Bloody holidays"

“Bloody Holiday” is a photography project about the refugee crisis made in collaboration with Oxfam. Working from the Greek islands, François Marmion photographed and interviewed refugees arriving from Syria, Iraq and other war zones.

Even though the refugees were arriving to the picturesque beaches popular amongst tourists, the divide in between the two worlds: the one of war and violence and the one of luxury resorts made them invisible to each other. The series is presented as a tourist brochure and online holiday booking sites, thus juxtaposing the two realities. Hunger, fear, uncertainty, poverty and even loss of life in the setting of stunning scenery and beautiful sunsets puts a perspective onto the comfort and relative safety of the Western world.

There is anger in this series, but it is not about the refugees or the tourists, it is about the smugglers who quietly run their business - including on social media - and make huge profits. Most of the people who drowned on the way did not because of the rough seas but due to the cupidity of the smugglers overloading the boats beyond reason to maximize their profits. There is also hope in this work, it is about exhausted people still smiling in the middle of this huge crisis and about the ability of men and women to risk their life and endure all sorts of things for a better future.

François Marmion was born in France and now lives in London.

​He has been a passionate photographer since he was offered his first camera at the age of 11 - a Kodak Instamatic. He has always been attracted by humanist, travel and documentary photography. He has travelled and sailed extensively and has shown some of his work about Asia and South America in several exhibitions in Paris.

François is also a freelance consultant but has decided to dedicate as much time as he could to photography.

 

 

 

 

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