KAUNAS PHOTO festival presented this year’s programme at the press conference at M. Žilinskas Art Gallery, M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art on the 28th of June. Director Mindaugas Kavaliauskas introduced the themes of festival’s 14th edition and announced that President Valdas Adamkus, who has always been actively involved in ecological debate, is a patron of the festival this year.
KAUNAS PHOTO 2017 open call has attracted more than 200 submissions from over 50 different countries around the world. From the portfolios submitted, eight were selected to be part of the KAUNAS PHOTO exhibition programme. One of the TOP 8 will be announced as KAUNAS PHOTO STAR award winner and will be given an opportunity to have a solo show at the Kaunas Photography Gallery. The winner will be announced on the 1st of September. The authors selected from the open call are: Turi Calafato (Italy) “A Day at the Beach. Summer in Sicily“ (currently being exhibited at the introductory KAUNAS PHOTO exhibition „Beach Season“, Päivi Koskinen (Finland) „Monday“, Mayumi Suzuki (Japan) „The Restoration Will“, Jan Caga (Czech Republic) „Danube- The Blue River“, Tymon Markowski (Poland) „Flow“, Yan Wang Preston (UK) „Mother River“, Pierfrancesco Celada (Italy) „#instagrampier Hong Kong“ and John Trotter’s (USA) series about the lack of water in Colorado river.
Mindaugas Kavaliauskas also invited these artists to exhibit at the festival: Christine Osinski (USA) „New York City’s Archipelago“, Christian Åslund (Sweden) „Glacier Comparison“ providing clear climate change evidence through juxtaposing pictures from a century ago and pictures made now, Federico Rios Escobar (Colombia) „FARC“ about The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, Eugenijus Barzdžius (Lithuania) „Vask“ series about launderettes in Copenhagen, Russ Flatt (New Zealand) „Take Me to the River“ work about a paradoxical law in Vermont banning public nudity, yet allowing it if one has left the house naked in the first place, Jussi Puikkonen (Finland/ Holland) „Finnish Sauna“ and others.
Fruitful collaboration with the Polish Institute in Vilnius brings works by Polish photographers to KAUNAS PHOTO 2017. Exhibition will feature: Filip Cwik „Sinking Industry“ about the shipyards in Gdansk, Mikolaj Nowacki „Odra“ that he has been working on for decades, Kacper Kowalski and his aerial photographs in „Side Effects“ made flying the plane before drones entered the market.
Mindaugas Kavaliauskas states that the biggest surprise of this year’s festival, that the curator kept in secret for over a decade, is Olegas Truchanas (1923 – 1972) originally from Šiauliai who later became one of the most influential conservationists and nature photographers in Australia. President Valdas Adamkus had a chance to meet Olegas Truchanas personally and is a big fan of his work, therefore has promised to be present at the exhibition opening and share his memories about the photographer.
One of the large scale photographic projects that will premiere in KAUNAS PHOTO 2017 is the series on Nemunas river by Vitus Saloshanka (Belarus). The artist who lives and works in Germany, but constantly visits Belarus, explores the river as a geopolitical concept, and divides it into three parts: Belarus, Lithuania and Kaliningrad.
Festival director shared his excitement about the outdoor exhibitions that are dotted around the public spaces in Kaunas this year. This year KAUNAS PHOTO is showing Berta Tilmantaitė’s (Lithuania) „From the Water“ in the Chechnya square, Todd Johnson’s (Australia) „Fossils“ next to Žaliakalnis Funicular, and later on will launch Matthew Moore’s (USA) „Seascapes“ about the marine murals in the urban spaces of the USA, in Vienybės Square. In the district of Šančiai, next to State Tax Inspectorate Paolo Woods and Gabrielle Galimbertti will present photographic series about tax havens. State Tax Inspectorate’s Kaunas officer Judita Stankienė is hoping that this exhibition will show that tax system can be understood through culture, and economical education can take on a creative form. Mindaugas Kavaliauskas added that the exhibition planned is small, however there’s plenty of space for discussion.
The 14th edition of KAUNAS PHOTO will also bring foreign artists who will engage with local communities through the residency programme. Kaunas is expecting three artists: famous German photographer Andreas Müller-Pohle, who will not only photograph the bodies of water around Kaunas, but will also run chemical tests; Polish photographer Dorota Dawidowicz will bring her van that houses the wet colodian lab; Jari Silomaki from Finland will continue his ongoing poetic works by Nemunas river. There are also three residencies that will bring three more artists to the Southern Lithuanian towns and villages, supported by the Druskininkai and Prienai councils, and Viesiejai parish. These places will welcome Julia Baier from Germany, Alex Boyd from Scotland and Santiago Escobar-Jaramillo from Colombia.
After he introduced the KAUNAS PHOTO 2017 programme, Mindaugas Kavaliauskas invited the crowd to explore the inaugural KAUNAS PHOTO exhibition „Beach Season“, where visitors were treated to beach style cocktails prepared by the barman Aistis Zidanavičius. The curator introduced the exhibition: 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”. „Beach Season“ is open until the 3rd of September.
The main events of the 14th edition of KAUNAS PHOTO festival will start on the first week of September and will continue until the end of October.
KAUNAS PHOTO is the longest- running annual photography festival in Lithuania and the Baltic States. It is organised by the NGO „Šviesos raštas“ since 2004. KAUNAS PHOTO is one of the most important annual art events in the country. KAUNAS PHOTO is a member of „Festival Of Light“ organisation.
Main sponsors: Lithuanian Culture Council, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, Kaunas city council.
Patron of the festival is President Valdas Adamkus.