Autumn Photography News in the Baltics
- Omar Victor Diop
The critically acclaimed Senegalese contemporary artist Omar Victor Diop’s striking photographs capture modern African sensibilities, and often focus on a recasting of history, the representation of diasporic experiences and global politics of black resistance.
Combining photography with other art forms, Omar Victor Diop’s remarkable body of work includes fine art, fashion, design, and portrait photography. Using artistic self-portraiture as a key tool to engage with complex representational politics, community embodiment and ideas of self-fashioning, his practice is characterised by meticulously staged, dramatic imagery in which the artist himself appears as the main visual protagonist and interlocutor.
Three of Diop’s most important groups of works, Allegoria, Diaspora and Liberty, will be exhibited together for the first time and will be accompanied by previously unseen works from the Windrush series, which Autograph commissioned from the artist for the exhibition.
- Estonian Nature Photo Library (Eesti Looduse fototeek)
This exhibition The Estonian Nature Photo Library marks the first-time opening of the editorial photo archive of the long-running magazine Eesti Loodus.
In 2023, the Museum of Photography will focus on nature photography in its various forms. The exhibition will showcase classical nature photography featuring animals, birds, and plants. It will also delve into urban nature, conceptual nature, nature conservation, and offer a historical perspective on Estonian nature.
For the first time, the Museum’s main exhibition for the theme year of nature photography will present the extensive editorial photo archive of the long-standing magazine Eesti Loodus. This significant collection, which holds great importance in the history of Estonian nature photography, spans three floors of the Fotomuseum and includes original magazines and original photographs. Visitors will have the opportunity to view graphically stunning black-and-white nature photographs from the 1950s to the 1980s, created by some of the most published nature photographers of that era. Additionally, there will be slides that served as the foundation for the magazine’s high-quality color photographs.
- Luca Berti, Nordic blue
Luca Berti’s mesmerising and timeless photo exhibition is about the relationship between man and nature in the Nordic Countries, depicted through one the oldest analogue photography techniques – cyanotype. Luca Berti, an Italian photographer living in Denmark, is known as a master of slow photography. He travels around the Nordic countries on a bicycle, takes pictures with a large-format camera and uses only analogue techniques for developing his work. The opening of the blue-toned exhibition adds a new layer to the author’s work, as these works have never been seen publicly before in this format and style.
- Tallinn Photomonth
Featuring work across all disciplines, the Tallinn Photomonth looks at developments in art and society in a world increasingly mediated by cameras, screens and images.
Tallinn Photomonth ‘23 names New York-based Ilari Laamanen as the curator of Trance, the biennale’s Main Exhibition, which this year takes place at Tallinn Art Hall’s Lasnamae Pavilion. The biennial will also include an Artists’ Film Programme curated by Piibe Kolka and Genevieve Yue and an extensive Satellite Programme across several of Tallinn’s most acclaimed institutions, galleries and cultural venues.
Art fair Foto Tallinn will continue to take place as a collaboration between the Estonian Union of Photography Artists (FOKU) and the Estonian Contemporary Art Development Center (ECADC) during the biennial off-years. The 11th edition of the fair is expected to take place at Kai Art Center in the Fall of 2024.
- Ly Lestberg, Always The Present
Artist Ly Lestberg presents site-specific exhibiton, series of installative text- and photocollages dealing with unforeseen leaps in time and crossing of borders. Because knowing that there is always the present puts our lives on a game board where everything is connected to everything.
Ly Lestberg reveals the background of the site-specific exhibition: “Since I was a child, I have been fascinated by all kinds of dictionaries, because it is there that there is an infinite number of word explanations and comments, behind which an infinite number of paradoxes are hidden. What then lies between the pair of opposite words (war : peace) and the place where the airy border runs through time (story) from which the essence of both words can be felt at the same time?
- Jörn Frenzel, Going and stopping
The photographer’s favorite themes so far, family and his Baltic German roots, have become more abstract in this exhibition. Photos taken of loved ones also act as a general sign of the impulses of movement accompanying life and the changing charm of everyday moments. The patterns of movement have been abstracted into symbols by an analog camera, with the slightly blurry and distracted nature of the photos taken, conveying both the momentary passivity of the standstill and the mood of ignorance accompanying the progress.
When shooting with an analog camera, you have to trust the process. “In analog photography, you don’t see the result immediately, you have to wait,” explains Jörn Frenzel. “When you have 36 frames (or 12 frames for 120 film), those individual images are precious. As an architect, I have learned to cope with many external constraints while creating and designing. I have adopted them. In the same way, analog photography imposes limitations, which I welcome when I shoot.”
- Daphne van de Velde, Of Me and You
The ongoing project Of Me and You visualizes the boundary experiences of intimacy, the vulnerable, tender body and its desire and longing. Through her work, Daphne van de Velde tries to understand intimacy, but it remains elusive because it is so tearing, we want to both merge and disconnect at the same time. All that is required to move from indifference to love is the courage to have our hearts broken. A fight or an act of love in her work is therefore never quite clear what the body is involved in.
Making the skin physically palpable, the body’s border with the outside world and the other, can be described as the visual language of her work. She explores the longing for contact in a world where people increasingly live in their own space. More and more, we use the skin to avoid revealing the intimate, or to prevent the other from intruding. How do we deal with our containment of ‘self’?
With her body, she explores the border as a transition zone between the internal and the external. Photography paper functions as a substitute for skin, the skin that meets, touches, physically reacts, protects and isolates. She experiments with the flat surface of her photographs, manipulating it to construct a fragile ruin-like photosculpture.
- Uncoverings. The Search for Identity in Lithuanian Photography
One of the largest presentations of Lithuanian photography continues to travel and will be opened at the Pranas Domšaitis Gallery of the Lithuanian National Museum of Art on 3 August. Exhibition Uncoverings. The Search for Identity in Lithuanian Photography“ has already been presented at the Hanmi museum in Seoul in 2021 and the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts in 2022.
According to the curators of the exhibition Ugnė Marija Makauskaitė and Justina Augustytė, the exhibition aims to acquaint its visitors not only with the history of Lithuanian photography, but with Lithuanian history at large. ‘For this reason, the main topic of the exhibition revolves around the aspect of identity as a tool to understand the oeuvre of presented artists. The exhibition itself consists of three parts that follow both chronological and thematic guidelines: ‘Identity as Reality’, ‘Identity as an Object’ and ‘Identity as a Concept’. Although the timeframe remains obscure, each part is primarily focused on main aspects of each period,’ say the curators.
The exhibition presents works from the rich and continuously growing collection of the Lithuanian National Museum of Art, supplemented by works borrowed from artists. In order to reflect the development of Lithuanian photography, the exhibition includes works by artists from different periods – from the almost canonical, iconic photographs of the so-called national “gold mine” to the works of the young generation of emerging artists.
- Beyond the Frames: Korean Art Photography 1920s–2020s
To commemorate the Year of Friendship between Lithuania and the Republic of Korea, for the first time in the Baltic States, an exhibition presenting Korean art photography Beyond the Frames: Korean Art Photography 1920s–2020s was inaugurated at the Radvila Palace Museum of Art of the Lithuanian National Museum of Art.
“The ongoing cooperation between museums in Lithuania and South Korea continues to create opportunities for both societies to deepen their understanding of one another. The highly successful Lithuanian photography exhibition in Seoul and the current Korean photography exhibition in Vilnius showcase distinct cultures and outstanding works of art, invite us to reflect on the parallels of historical experiences from a contemporary perspective, and allow Lithuanians and Koreans to see each other’s faces,” says Dr Arūnas Gelūnas, Director General of the National Museum of Art.
Curator Sunyoung Kim has selected over 100 works from the Museum Hanmi collection, representing a comprehensive panorama of South Korean art photography spanning the last century. The exhibition not only offers a chronological overview of the evolution of photography but also delves into the innovative creative strategies employed by photographers in response to historical, social, and political circumstances.
- Līga Vēliņa, Armands Andže, A Place That Exists and Doesn’t Exist Simultaneously
The Latvian Museum of Photography is currently showing an exhibition by Līga Vēliņa and Armands Andže, as well as Armands Andže’s installation 29 Landscapes. A Place That Exists and Doesn’t Exist Simultaneously is a multimedia exhibition that addresses the theme of memory by combining traditional analog photography with the latest technologies. Looking at the fragmentary and fragility of memories, inspiration is found in Marcel Proust’s series of seven novels In Search of Lost Time – in which he reproduces memories as a process in which the present and the past intertwine in an inextricable, unified journey. The experience of memories is a complex, subjective state that reflects the meanings assigned by the narrator to places, things and events. The described places in a specific form, evoking specific feelings, exist only in the narrator’s memories, therefore they exist and do not exist at the same time.
Installation 29 Landscapes explores how the perception of the landscape is influenced by cultural and social factors, as well as the subjective experience of each individual. This collection of 29 silver gelatine dry plate photographs explores the human relationship with the landscape, both natural and industrial. The landscape carries everything that has happened in it – it is psychologically perceived from the lens of personal or collective experience and memory. The photographs attempt to deal with the interaction of man as a being with the landscape, the impact of the landscape on the collective subconscious of mankind, as well as the consequences of human activity in the landscape.
- Arnis Balčus, Scene
From 15 September to 16 November, the ISSP Gallery will host Scene, an exhibition by Arnis Balčus focusing on today’s alternative youth subculture. The exhibition will open on 14 September at 6 PM with a concert by three punk bands – ŠŅK, Defekts, and Depustūtes.
The “scene” is a music-rooted community in Riga that reached its peak after the pandemic, when concerts by alternative music bands at clubs and venues such as Depo, Republika, and Lastādija became an important platform for young people to socialise and express themselves creatively. This exhibition, which has Balčus’ photographs at its core, is not only a documentation of this phenomenon, but also a platform for the subculture itself: the exhibition will also feature the work of young people and various events with their participation, including a concert and a poetry evening.
The exhibition speaks more broadly about the challenges facing today’s young people. Behind the glamorous make-up and aggressive music lie problems of contemporary youth life: the desire for self-fulfilment, the search for meaning, identification problems, mental illness, as well as complex relationships with each other, not without conflict, suicide attempts and violence. The body is in most cases the only thing they have power over, and it becomes not only a way of asserting their identity, but also a tool of protest. Alongside music and art, self-scarring, tattooing, gender fluidity, sexual self-determination, anti-social behaviours are also ways of protesting against a sense of doom and seeming impossibility of change..
The exhibition programme will also include an evening of poetry by young punks, tours of the exhibition with sociologist Jānis Daugavietis and artist Arnis Balčus, and the opening of the book Scene.
- Sandro Miller, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters
From 26 August to 29 October 2023, Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters, a series of works by the internationally renowned American photographer Sandro Miller is on view in the Cupola Hall of the main building of the Latvian National Museum of Art in Riga.
The exhibition is organised by the Latvian National Museum of Art (LNMA) together with the Madrid-based cultural management company diChroma photography. The unique art photography exhibition is the result of a cooperation between two powerful creative personalities – American photographer of Italian descent Sandro Miller (SANDRO) and the celebrated American film and theatre actor John Malkovich. They share a years-long friendship, and Malkovich has been Miller’s model on several occasions.
In the series Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters, Sandro Miller paraphrases the images created by most outstanding 20th century classics of photography – portraits of celebrities as well as images of unknown individuals who have become famous owing to the specific photographs. The paraphrases reconstruct the compositions, lighting, poses and clothing of the models from the original, iconic photographs. However, the depicted persons – Irving Penn’s cornered Truman Capote, Bert Stern’s undressed Marilyn Monroe, Dorothea Lange’s classic immigrant mother, Richard Avedon’s man with bees, Robert Mapplethorpe’s self-portraits and many others – are replaced by only… John Malkovich. The artist duo of photographer and actor produce an exciting and critical interplay between the canonicalized images and their repetitions, providing an ironic commentary on the role of certain figures and images in the development of photography.