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Kęstutis Grigaliūnas, 1941, 2011


Memory, Evidence, Resistance: Contemporary Lithuanian Photography’s Engagement with the History of Repressions in the 20th Century

Peaceful life in newly independent Lithuania has created conditions to forget and heal the collective trauma of the 20thcentury. Yet the changing rhetoric of Russian Federation and its renewed military action against Georgia in 2008 made historical memory relevant again. Among the first artists to address this issue was Kęstutis Grigaliūnas who started visiting the Lithuanian Special Archives in 2009 in search of photographs kept in KGB criminal files. With this material, he organises exhibitions and publishes books covering every year of Soviet occupation from 1940 to 1953. Indrė Šerpytytė, based in the United Kingdom, has noticed that buildings formerly used by the Soviet authorities to interrogate and torture Lithuanian partisans have merged into everyday life without any signs of memory. Thus, she created the series (1944 – 1991) Former NKVD – MVD – MGB – KGB Buildings in 2009. A Ukrainian artist Valentyn Odnoviun, who has moved to Lithuania ten years ago, has photographed prison cells in the Baltic States, Ukraine, Poland and Germany in 2015–2016 for his series Surveillance. Meanwhile, the British photographer Richard Schofield, based in Lithuania, travelled around the country in 2017 and photographed all the synagogues, thus exposing the scale of destruction and forgetting in his series Back to Shul. The lecture will focus on these photographic series to discuss the potential of photography as a tool of memory, evidence and resistance against imperialist propaganda.

Dr. Agnė Narušytė

Vilnius Academy of Arts

Agnė Narušytė, is a professor at the Department of Art History and Theory of the Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts, and an art critic. She specializes in the history of photography and curates exhibitions. Since 1995, he has been writing regularly for the Lithuanian cultural press and publishing articles in scientific journals and various photographic publications. She is the author of, among others: monograph "The aesthetics of boredom in Lithuanian photography". Currently, he is researching memory discourse in photography, anthropological and philosophical aspects of contemporary photography together with Dr. Margarita Matulyte wrote a book on the history of Lithuanian photography, and is the editor of the weekly "7 meno dienos".


13.10.2023, 5 P.M., NOMUS - New Art Museum, Jaracza 14, Gdańsk
Free entrance
No booking needed

Valentyn Odnoviun, Prison Cell Door Spyhole. KGB Prison, Tallinn, Estonia

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