Artists: Knut Asdam (N), Bigert & Bergstrom (S), Agnieszka Brzezanska (PL), Aristarkh Chernyshev (RU), Oskar Dawicki (PL), Miklos Gaal (FIN),
Ilkka Halso (FIN), Isabell Heimerdinger (D), Elsebeth Jorgensen (DK), Anne Szefer Karlsen (N), Eve Kask (EE), Joachim Koester (DK), Tatyana Liberman (RU), Wiebke Loeper (D), Wolfgang Ploger (D), Arturas Raila (LT), Gatis Rozenfelds (LV), Johanna Rylander (S), Jari Silomaki (FIN), Florian Slotawa(D), Irma Stanaityte (LT)
Curators: Dorothee Bienert (Berlin), Lars Grambye (Copenhagen) and Lolita Jablonskiene (Vilnius)
The 3rd Ars Baltica Triennial of Photographic Art presents current artistic positions employing photography from the ten countries adjacent to the Baltic Sea. The structural content of the project begins by looking at what is important today for Baltic artists who use the photographic medium. Etymologically, ‘important’ is that which is valuable enough to be ‘brought in’, in other words, that which the individual or a community searches out and selects for itself.
‘What is Important?’ is not a thematic exhibition, but the works chosen do relate a certain artistic attitude. While many artists were concerned with establishing photography as art in the 90s, today, art with photography is one of many artistic strategies. Artists avoid the single representative image or play with it, include the performative and the narrative in their work, and produce image kaleidoscopes or complexes. Photography is not singled out as a specific medium, but is used by the artist, as others use it. In other words, formal issues are less important than the artist’s attempt to extract segments of reality, import and appropriate them, and communicate these to others.
Paradoxically enough, the artists in this exhibition combine an interest in the apparently unimportant and the desire to evoke important narratives. The most different forms of narrative in today’s Baltic photographic art are established around the following points of crystallisation. On the one hand, there are the stories that deal with the self, or where the public colliding with the private becomes an issue, and in which subjective experience and playful narratives replace the focus on the body typical of the 80s and 90s. On the other hand are the stories in which locations around and beyond the self are a central issue, and where the subjective importance of places supersedes the detached viewpoint on sites, characteristic of the early 90s. Concentrating on the local, the private, and the personal point of view, the artists attribute particular importance to individual territories, not yet absorbed globally or medially.