“The Waterful Kaunas” – the last focus of KAUNAS PHOTO 2017 season

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KAUNAS PHOTO festival invites to see the last outdoor exhibition of this year season. The exhibition “The Waterful Kaunas” is on display at the center of Kaunas (Laisvės av. and S. Daukantas street) and it will be visible till 2018 March. The exhibition is the result of artist residency in Kaunas by these photographers: Andreas Muller-Pohle (Germany), Dorota Dawidowicz (Poland) and Jari Silomaki (Finland).

Mindaugas Kavaliauskas the director of KAUNAS PHOTO festival invites for the guided tour of the exhibition which will be on 24 of Octber, at 6pm. 

14th edition of KAUNAS PHOTO 2017 is dedicated to exploring the theme of water from multiple angles. The topics of water impregnated the artist residencies, held for the first time in Kaunas as a part of KAUNAS PHOTO festival. Andreas Müller-Pohle (Germany), Dorota Dawidowicz (Poland) and Jari Silomäki (Finland) accepted to depict the relationship between Kaunas, its dwellers and the water through their own stylistic approaches, and techniques, previously developed in their signature series. They covered waterscapes from Kaunas Sea to the Lampėdis lake, from the Confluence of the Nemunas and the Neris – to the global issues of floods.

© Andreas Müller-Pohle “Waters of Kaunas”

Andreas Müller-Pohle and his assistant Jhoane BaternaPateña came to Kaunas to photograph and videograph the major Lithuanian rivers – the Nemunas and the Neris and the adjacent waters – Kaunas sea and Lampėdis lake. With his distinct style of water in photography, Andreas Müller-Pohle does not picture waterfronts from a distance. Rather, he submerges the camera and allows pictures to contain both underwater and coastline views. Such merged natural and urban landscape evolved into new and unexpected iconography of Kaunas.

In 2005 using this method, Andreas Müller-Pohle created an epic project, depicting the Danube river from the Black Forest (Schwarzwald) to the Black sea, joining the views underwater world and coastline landscapes. Those pictures were enriched by chemical research of water naming the concentration of nitrates, phosphates, heavy metals and other chemical findings of samples of water taken from each picture point. Similarly, but using vertical compositions, a series of pictures about Hong Kong waterfront were created.

In 1979, Andreas Müller-Pohle founded “European Photography”, independent magazine, dedicated to contemporary photography and new media, which he edits ever since. He wrote a number of articles on the theory of photography. In 2001 he was honored with European Photography, Reind M. De Vries Prize. Photographic works by Andreas Müller-Pohle have been widely published and exhibited across the globe and are kept in numerous private and museum collections.

Using wet-plate collodion photography, the most common technique of the 19th century, Dorota Dawidowicz continued her series “Just Relax!” in Kaunas, exploring waterfronts, beaches and inviting the encountered people to become a part of the creative process. Regardless the drawbacks of the slow, weather-sensitive technique that is demanding for models’ ability to freeze during the exposure, Dorota’s photographs look pretty spontaneous, as if they were not created with an old fashioned view camera, but some kind of portable camera with a retro filter. “Just Relax!” pictures taken in Lithuania present Kaunas as a city of water pleasures.

© Dorota Dawidowicz “Just relax!”

Dorota Dawidowicz is interested in portraiture and documentary photography. She uses a large format view camera. A process of creation of one picture can take a half an hour or longer. The exposure time of the wet plate can last a few seconds, therefore, instead of using the camera shutter, the photographer simply removes and puts back the lens cap. This is when the model must remain frozen. The image on a plate is created in following steps: plate overlay with collodion liquid, sensibilisation (in complete darkness, in a tent, set up as a field laboratory), exposure and development (in darkness again). The usage if this resurging technology is also particular its result – the obtained image is unique and, in Dorota’s method, flipped (as if using mirror). This latter feature brings some intrigue while trying to read letters or logos or recognise the familiar places of Kaunas.

© Dorota Dawidowicz “Just relax!”

Dorota Dawidowicz was born in 1983 in Warsaw, where she lives and works until now. In 2010 she graduated from Warsaw School of Photography. She has held several solo exhibitions and participated in collective exhibitions in galleries, such as Gallery Pauza (Krakow), Skwer (Warsaw), Entropia, Wejście, “B&B”, “Korytarz”, Sandomierzu BWA, Limited Editions, POSK (London). Her works were published in magazines: Digital Camera, Polityka, Szeroki Kadr and others.

In the past two decades this name has been known in the world of art for the photographs with calligraphic writings of thoughts, feelings, news, stories and experiences. This dialogue of image and texts bridges the present with the past and the future, shrinks or enlarges distances, smashes the emotional experiences into banality, confronts the tranquility with stormy elements, and exposes important things to the artist’s self-irony and sense of humour.

© Jari Silomäki “My Weather Diary”

On the afternoon of August 28, 2017 Jari Silomäki arrived in Kaunas. Here he continued his project “My Weather Diary”, started in 2001. Creating one picture per day, he plans to complete the series in 2051. The first stop and acquaintance with Kaunas happened on the panoramic spot on the Milikoniai hill, overlooking the Vilijampolė district. During the two-weeks-long artistic residence, Jari took pictures every mday, using a middle format square frame camera, his visions, senses and thinking about what life in other parts of the world was like. The most beloved place of Kaunas for Jari became the banks of the Neris river and the Kaunas sea, where he spent most of his time, watching beaches to become empty, the few roaming the waves of Kaunas sea. He says that his photographs are made of 80 % of hard social work and only 20% of quest for shape, light and colour.

© Jari Silomäki “My Weather Diary”

The theme of KAUNAS PHOTO festival and its residencies is water. In Jari’s photographs, water is not always visible, but almost always, thought about. The artist has documented that while people in Kaunas were enjoying the warm end of summer and the mild autumn, islands of the Caribbean and the Southern Coast of the USA were devastated by hurricanes and floods.

Jari Silomäki is in constant search of means of expression to tell and reveal stories of an individual, who is also a member of society. Jari Silomäki is enrolled in doctoral studies at Aalto University in Finland. He has held numerous exhibitions in Finland and beyond: in Hungary, China, Great Britain, Italy, Norway and elsewhere. He lives and works in Helsinki.

KAUNAS PHOTO is the longest-running annual international photo art festival in Lithuania and the Baltic States. Since it’s first edition in 2004, it’s been organised by the NGO „Šviesos raštas“ and is regarded to be one of the most important continuous art events in the country. KAUNAS PHOTO is a member of „Festivals of Light“ organisation. The founder and the director of the festival is Mindaugas Kavaliauskas.

KAUNAS PHOTO is supported by Lithuanian Culture Council, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, Kaunas City Council. Exhibitions by Polish artists made in colloboration with the Polish Institute in Vilnius and Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw.

President Valdas Adamkus is the patron of the festival.