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NOBA Nordic Baltic contemporary art platform

The opening ceremony of the international contemporary art fair ArtVilnius’22 took place at the Litexpo exhibition and conference center on Friday evening. This year’s best were also awarded there.

Starting from Friday morning, the jury, headed by the chairwoman of the Lithuanian Interdisciplinary Artists’ Association and the head of the cultural complex SODAS 2123 Danutė Gambickaitė, selected 7 best galleries, the best artist, the best young artist, and the best installation of the fair.

The jury, in addition to Gambickaitė, also included the curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow Monika Koziol, art critic, photographer, and exhibition organizer Virginijus Kinčinaitis, curator of the ArtVilnius’22 Project Zone, art critic, and writer Valentinas Klimašauskas, and art curator and visual studies researcher from Ukraine Lesia Kulchynska.

The chair of the jury D. Gambickaitė noted that this year at ArtVilnius’22, galleries paid special attention to the culture of the display. They tried not only to present their works to fair visitors, collectors, and buyers but also to organize an exhibition and creatively display their works. “Most of the spaces at the fair are about the issues of the day, about what we are living, what is happening in our time,” said Gambickaitė. “It is evident that these themes give the fair its uniqueness, reaching out to the viewer, who can identify, think together about the present, seek answers, and ask questions. All of this seems to rouse us out of our stupor.”

The jury singled out the VAA gallery Akademija for its minimalist expression. According to D. Gambickaitė, Akademija, which exhibited an installation by one artist – Ramūnas Alminas, stood out for its culture of display, its clean and minimalist expression, its well-thought-out exposition, and its attention to detail.

The jury had no hesitation in including the VAA textile gallery Artifex, which presented the work of artist Dovilė Gudačiauskaitė, among the best. “We were amazed by Dovilė’s work, she is an amazing artist, maybe a little underrated,” said the chair of the jury. “We would like to point out how strongly this artist works with the re-creation and reuse of material and memory. The teddy bears made from old blankets evoke memories of one kind or another for many of us, and the work is extremely reflective of this year’s theme of ecology.

The Ukrainian gallery Art14 was singled out by the jury for its high-quality exhibition and its valuable work that speaks about current issues in today’s context.

The best gallery award has traditionally gone to the French gallery Galerie Nivet-Carzon. “An excellent, coherent, informative, and performative exhibition,” is how the jury chair described the Parisian gallery. “At first glance, you can see a controlled order and coherence in the disorder and chaos. The artists presenting their work in the gallery are very young but deal with topical issues. It is really surprising how such young people have put together such a coherent and high-quality exhibition.”

Best gallery – Galerie Nivet Carzon. Photo: Andre-Vasilenko

The jury praised the Artists’ Association Gallery for the synergy of different media – graphics, sculpture, and objects, for a high-quality, well-balanced exposition, and for the work that is open to different interpretations.

The Rooster Gallery was again in the ranks of the best this year. “We couldn’t leave it out, I think it’s very important that the leading galleries value young artists and present them with high quality. This is important both for the art field and for education,” said D. Gambickaitė.

The VAA exhibition halls Titanikas were awarded for their artistic sense of time. The work of artist Kęstutis Grigaliūnas was very unexpected for the jury – at first sight, the playful exposition – a diary of the lockdown – seems to make sense of time, linking play and the weight of death.

Eglė Paulina Pukytė was named the best artist of ArtVilnius’22 for the diversity of her artistic expression. In the opinion of the jury, the artist presented by the VAA gallery 5 Malūnai is extremely dynamic and different, always talking about topical issues and problems of the present, and her expositions are full of various expressions. “We liked Eglė Paulina’s critical look, the fact that she does not beat about the bush, she is not afraid to talk about things as they are,” summed up the chair of the jury.

Artwork by Eglė Paulina Pukytė at Art Vilnius

The award for the best ArtVilnius’22 installation for the personal transformation of experiences into universal and topical themes went to Žygimantas Augustinas’ installation The Lack of Serenity. The sound installation presented in the exhibition Takas attracted the attention of the first visitors to the exhibition. “Lullabies coming out of a Soviet loudspeaker in the context of the present are creepy,” said D. Gambickaitė. “It is a very powerful installation, reminding us once again of the threat and urging us to stay awake.”

The prize of the fair’s Maecenas, the law firm Cobalt, was awarded to the best young artist of ArtVilnius’22, Jonas Aničas. “Jonas’ work is also very strongly influenced by themes that are important for ecology – the reuse of materials. Using monumental materials, the artist does not lose playfulness,” said the chair of the jury, D. Gambickaitė, about the young artist’s work.

Jonas Aničas with his artwork.

ArtVilnius’22 is financed by the Lithuanian Council for Culture, under the patronage of Vilnius City Municipality, with Lewben as the Exclusive Partner, and Cobalt as Maecenas.