Art lovers and professionals should mark June 7-10 on their calendars as ArtVilnius’18, an event drawing in over 22,000 visitors each year, invites them to the ninth edition of one of Eastern Europe’s biggest contemporary art fairs. This year the event, hosted at Litexpo exhibition space in Vilnius, is putting together a programme to mark the centenary of Lithuania’s independence restoration and focusing on the vibrant art scene of the Baltic States.
ArtVilnius’18 is featuring 55 galleries and showcasing 200 artists from 20 countries (Lithuania, Latvia, Belarus, Poland, Estonia, France, Denmark, Italy, Russia, the US, Ukraine etc). “Celebrating the centenary of independence is an important event for Lithuania, therefore we we want to mark the occasion with a special programme for ArtVilnius’18, presenting best galleries from the Baltic States, new art collections brought by our regular and new partners,” says Diana Stomienė, the director of the art fair.
This year, visitors will have an exclusive opportunity to discover the Baltic region’s art scene and its best-known names. Six galleries are representing Estonia: Foku, Haus gallery, Okapi galerii, Positiiv galerii, Avangard gallery, Kogo gallery. The contemporary art platform Noar is bringing a programme celebrating Estonia’s independence centenary: works by last year’s Baltic Young Artist Award winner Katrīna Čemme, a project by “Estonia’s Banksy” Edward von Lõngus.
Marko Maetam, who has represented Estonia at the Venice Biennale numerous times, is bringing his solo project to the fair. Four important galleries are representing Latvia’s art scene: Maksla XO, Agijas Sunas art gallery, Alma Gallery, Tifana Art Gallery.
Lewben Art Foundation, set up by the art fair’s exclusive partner Lewben Group, is teaming up with the fair for the fifth time and presenting a selection that includes Reza Aramesh’s sculpture work and an installation by Andrea Crespo and Vadim Fiskin. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Kraków (MOCAK) is returning to ArtVilnius with an international programme by artists from Poland, Israel, Norway, Romania and Ukraine and a focus on video art. The roaster includes Nikita Shalenny from Ukraine, the winner of ArtVilnius’15 best installation award, and Poland’s avant-guard filmmaker and video artists Józef Robakowski.
The annual international exhibition of sculpture, installation and performance, The Path, is introducing 28 artists from nine countries (Lithuania, Spain, Finland, Denmark, Germany, Latvia, France, Ukraine, Russia). “This year, The Path’s jury received applications from over 100 artists, so picking the best ones was no easy task,” according to Sonata Baliuckaitė, the artistic director of ArtVilnius’18 and one of the curators of The Path.
ArtVilnius’18 project zone is hosting solo projects by Svajonė and Paulius Stanikas, Gintaras Makarevičius, Jurga Barilaitė. A number of art institutions will also have a presence at the fair: Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center, which is bringing a never-before-exhibited piece by George Maciunas of FLUXUS fame, the Contemporary Arts Centre, MO Museum, Vilnius Academy of Art and the M. K. Čiurlionis National Art School.
Litexpo, Lithuania’s prime 12,000-square-meter exhibition space, will serve as the venue for ArtVilnius for the ninth time. The fair is also continuing its tradition of electing the year’s best galleries and artists. An educational programme is designed for visitors of all ages, as are numerous workshops, panel discussions, lectures about the art market and arts in the Baltics.
Both visitors and participants at ArtVilnius note that the fair is a special meeting point characterised by great atmosphere and many memorable moments year after year. It is by design that ArtVilnius takes place in June when the city of Vilnius and its UNESCO-listed historic oldtown are at their most beautiful and charming.
The event is partly funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture. Vilnius City Municipality is the patron of ArtVilnius.
Main photo – Niña Yhared, project “Via Baltic“, presented by OKAPI Galerija