The Fifth Contemporary Art Fair ARTVILNIUS – with Art Coming into our Life
The Baltic largest contemporary art fair ARTVILNIUS’14 was for the fifth time hosted by the Lithuanian Exhibition and Congress Centre LITEXPO in Vilnius. This year the art fair was proud to present a considerably greater number of participants: 65 galleries from 18 countries of the world (as compared to 50 galleries from 11 countries participating last year). Throughout the five days of the fair, gallerists, artists and collectors were not only enthusiastically exchanging their contact information, establishing new contacts and planning joint projects for the future, but also actively engaged in sales. In a commercial sense, ARTVILNIUS’14 did not yield to the last year’s fair – more than 140 artworks were sold for more than 600,000 litas and some works are still under negotiation. The list of selling authors includes both Lithuanian art classics such as Vytautas Kasiulis, Adomas Galdikas, Andrius Puipa, Leonas Lagauskas and young authors like Eglė Karpavičiūtė and Laura Grybkauskaitė. As usual, the Ukrainian gallery TSEKH attracted great attention from collectors and viewers. Prize winners of the art fair also enjoyed worthy success: Bobutas skarela by Eglė Ridikaitė (“Grandma’s kerchief”, presented by VDA Taxtile Gallery ARTIFEX), winner of the Best Artist award, and works of Igor Savchenko (presented by Y-Gallery, Belarus), winner of the Best Photograph, were successfully sold. The jury panel chose Wolkonsky Gallery (Munich, Germany) as the Best Gallery; the Best Young Artist’s award went to sculptor Andrius Pukis (nomination and EUR 1,000 prize by Law Firm RaidlaLejins&Norcous, maecenas of the art fair). The biggest commercial success was enjoyed by Lithuanian galleries Aukso Pjūvis, Menų Tiltas, Arka, Artifex, Mobile Gallery Gaidys, Klaipėda Gallery with the highest sales of artworks. Foreign participants could not complain of the lack of attention, too: artworks were bought from such galleries as IAGA (Romania), Karavan (France), Unlimited Grain Gallery (the Netherlands), Trifelgrisen ( Sweden), Galeria Stalowa (Poland), SODA (Slovakia), Ural Vision Gallery (Russia). Among the selling authors were Rūta Jusionytė, Alonas Štelmanas, Eglė Ulčickaitė, Eglė Karpavičiūtė, Audronė Petrašiūnaitė, Edvardas Racevičias, Linas Liandzbergis, Egidijus Rudinskas, Danas Aleksa, and others.
As usual, visitors were also actively engaged in the evaluation of artworks. They had an opportunity to give their votes in favour of one or another artist. Visitors’ involvement is an important “additive” increasing the attractiveness of the art fair, whilst artists have an opportunity to be rated by the audience. This year, the most visitors’ votes went to Saulius Vaitiekūnas (gallery Terra Recognita), who presented probably the most spectacular work of the art fair – Žalia giria, balta jūra (Green Forest – White Sea). The visitors’ most favoured gallery was POST Gallery (Kaunas).
Special attention was also caught by the project hall displaying artworks from private collections: the Lewben Art Foundation presented Kęstutis Zapkus, Žilvinas Kempinas, Patricija Jurkšaityte, Ray Bartkus, Aidas Bareikis; Antanas Sutkus’ photographic exhibition “Women”, curated by Eric Schlosser (creative director of the art fair) and Jeff Coven, installation “And I don’t know how to slow it down” by the Stanikas, Svajonė and Paulius, and Flux‘in‘air radio broadcasts by Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Centre.
The art fair was visited by a total of nearly 19,000 visitors. Among buyers there were collectors from Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Russia, Sweden, Germany, France, Estonia, and other countries. The art fair was visited by many well-known businessmen, politicians, and artists. According to Mrs. Diana Stomienė, directress of the Art Fair ARTVILNIUS, “There are close relationships between art and business all over the world: representatives of the business world often become art collectors and invest huge amounts in this area. I am glad to see this tradition getting stronger and art exhibitions attracting growing attention from business people in Lithuania”. This year, the art fair maecenas Raidla Lejins&Norcous and sponsor UAB Krasta Auto organised a social evening for business customers during which the BMW’s latest model was presented.
Diana Stomienė, the initiator and long-time organiser of the art fair, says that the sponsors and partners who believed in the project and who are growing in number, as well as the professional work of art fair architects Processoffice who did a lot to create the overall image of the art fair and its visual attractiveness, greatly contributed to the encouraging results of the art fair. Certainly, the primary guarantee of fair’s success has always been interesting and high-quality gallery expositions, as well as the high artistic level of the works presented. This year, the organisers of the art fair were again assisted by volunteers and trainees from the Vilnius Academy of Arts.
In his introductory speech for the catalogue, Eric Schlosser, creative director and curator of the art fair, said: “ARTVILNIUS brings to your door artworks from around the world, with one desire that you let them in, let them become part of your life”. The significant increase in the number of participating galleries and visitors is the evidence of the growing role of art fair in the Lithuanian cultural life, of Vilnius gradually, but insistently, anchoring on the international map of art fairs, and of the art fair assuming its unique face. More and more people are ready to let art in! And this is the basic aim of the art fair.
Organisers of the Art Fair: Lithuanian Art Gallerists’ Association; director of the art fair – Diana Stomienė; creative director – Eric Schlosser, coordinator – Sonata Baliuckaitė, architects – Rokas Kilčiauskas, Olga Voišnis, Processoffice
Patron of the art fair – Vilnius City Municipality
Main sponsor of the art fair – Lithuanian Council for Culture
Main partner of the art fair – Lithuanian Exhibition and Congress Centre LITEXPO
Maecenas of the Art Fair – Law Firm RAIDLA LEJINS&NORCOUS