Vilmantas Marcinkevičius. Žvilgsnis. 2003,
drobė, aliejus, 200x180
Neringa Žukauskaitė. Mūzos. 2003, medžio raižinys,
Dovilė Norkutė. Berniukas su laišku. 2000,
drobė, aliejus, 180x100
Galleries Storm the Largest Art Fairs
by Rūta Mikšionienė
Since their appearance
in the country over a decade ago, private art galleries have been aware
of the need to participate in the largest art fairs. Back then they
hoped to change art selling and buying patterns in Lithuania and to
make money they needed to buy exhibiting space. Yet local artists keep
selling their productions from their studios, as they find it unprofitable
to enter into a contract with one gallery. The function of the galleries
remains that of a free showcasing space.
However, some Lithuanian galleries have found the courage and ways to
bring the work of their artists to some of the influential art fairs.
Kauno Langas went to Düseldorfs The Art
Multiple as early as 1995. Yet the hopes to get an invitation
to Cologne in 2000 failed because of the focus of the gallery on traditional
art. The Vartai of Vilnius, although it also features mostly
painting and graphic arts, became the first Lithuanian gallery to participate
in Colognes Art Fair, preceded by successful participation at
Ghents. Besides selling some works, the Vartai gallery
earned something more lasting, connections and numerous invitations
to other important art forums. The IBIP Projects, operating in Vilnius
and London, showed and sold some installations at Basles, while
a group of textile artists presented their production at Moscows
Art Fair, with tremendous success.
In choosing their strategies, galleries in Lithuania face several dilemmas.
Despite some renaissance of traditional forms, the international art
scene keeps to be dominated by contemporary art forms, like video and
photography. Lithuanian galleries feature primarily traditional art
and are not sure if they should succumb to dictatorship fashion and
their focus? It would be especially difficult given the fact that they
work with traditional, yet very good artists. Another challenge is money
needed to take their artists to the worlds art fairs: their profits
form art sales are far from what they need, while the states policy
does not provide for support of art through private business. The recently
publicized idea of a Vilnius art fair does not seem feasible either.