Artist Lecture: Agnė Narušytė on Rimaldas Vikšraitis
Saturday 1 October, 1-2pm
National Glass Centre Pod
FREE / Please book tickets below
Join art historian and critic Agnė Narušytė for an enlightening talk exploring artist-photographer Rimaldas Vikšraitis’ exhibition ‘Daily Rituals of Work and Play’, his artistic practice and the wider Lithuanian photographic landscape.
This talk coincides with the opening of Rimaldas Vikšraitis’ exhibition ‘Daily Rituals of Work and Play – The Collective Life of a Village 1975-2012’ on display in NGCA Main Gallery between 1 October 2022 – 15 January 2023. The exhibition spans nearly 40 years of Vikšraitis’ artistic practice, from early unseen archival material and 8mm films through to 70 photographic works, a large number of which are being shown for the first time.
Daily Rituals of Work and Play has been curated by Janina Sabaliauskaitė.
This project is in partnership with the Lithuanian Culture Institute and supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
Rimaldas Vikšraitis, Vienkiemio godos / Farmstead Dreams, 2004, photograph. Courtesy of the artist and Kaunas Photography Gallery.
Imagination against Reality in the Photographs of Rimaldas Vikšraitis
“I love them. I love them too much!” – this is what Rimaldas Vikšraitis (b. 1954) says about the people he photographs. Perhaps. But this statement opposes what we see in his images: naked men and women engaged in obscene sexual performances, drunken adults with children in squalid environments and heads of pigs on the dinner table. The word that comes to one’s mind is rather “degradation”. Vikšraitis has been photographing rural life in Lithuania since the 1970s. Against the background of humanist photography, which focused on beautiful feelings, his images look like brutal records of social reality that the Soviet propaganda tried to hide. The epochal changes that started after 1991, however, do not seem to have reached the countryside and even stripped it of purpose, which is revealed in the series Grimaces of the Weary Village and Farmstead Dreams. Slaughtering pigs in one’s courtyard with all the family participating was the norm and has remained so until today in some places. Drinking was the way to get through the meaningless life in the collective farm and has remained so for those who have not adapted to the new reality. Yet not everything is so gloomy in Vikšraitis’s photographs. In the crumbling world, one still has one’s self as the last resort. Vikšraitis stages performances of naked bodies over the ruins; he laughs at himself, becomes an animal, a sculpture or whatever comes to his mind and thus expresses the absolute freedom of imagination. “Some people are afraid of my photographs,” he says. “But I don’t regret being a photographer.”
About Dr. Agnė Narušytė
Dr. Agnė Narušytė was awarded PhD in art history at the Vilnius Academy of Arts in 2005. She has worked as a curator at the Lithuanian Art Museum, the photography page editor at the cultural weekly 7 meno dienos. Now she is professor at the Vilnius Academy of Arts and researcher at the Lithuanian Culture Research Institute. Her monographs include: The Aesthetics of Boredom: Lithuanian Photography 1980–1990 (Vilnius Academy of Arts Publishers, 2010), Lithuanian Photography: 1990–2010(Vilnius: baltos lankos, 2011, in Lithuanian), Camera obscura: The History of Lithuanian Photography 1839–1945 (together with Margarita Matulytė, Vilnius: Vilnius Academy of Arts Publishers, 2016, in Lithuanian), Post Ars. The Score(collaboration with artists Aleksas Andriuškevičius, Robertas Antinis, Česlovas Lukenskas and Gintaras Zinkevičius, Vilnius: M puslapiai, Contemporary Art Centre, 2017, Lithuanian and English) and Chronometers: Imagining Time or Chronopolitics, Heterechrony and Experiences of Acceleration in Lithuanian Art(Vilnius Academy of Arts Publishers, 2021, in Lithuanian).