The 9th international contemporary art fair ArtVilnius’18 included 55 galleries and 250 artists from some 20 countries. With Focus-Baltic its main theme, the event attracted particularly many participants from Latvia and Estonia.
Over the four days of the event, 22,800 visitors came to see the art on display at the Litexpo exhibitions and congress centre and purchased artworks for EUR 350,000, although added to the final tally should be all the deals to be concluded after the fair. However, it is already clear that ArtVilnius’18 outdid last year’s edition.
Lithuanian collectors take interest in foreign artists
Visitors at ArtVilnius’18 took enthusiastic interest in the offerings of Latvian and Estonian galleries. Latvia’s Maksla XO and Agijas Suna Art Gallery, the fair’s regulars, concluded many deals, as did the newcomer Avangard Gallery from Pernu, Estonia. The fair was equally successful for France’s Galerie des Petits Carreaux, which sold 10 paintings, and the Piktogram gallery from Poland, both first-time participants at ArtVilnius. International regulars also reported good results: Galleri NB (Denmark), Immaginaria Arti Visive Gallery (Italy), Kovcheg Gallery (Russia), Tsekh (Lithuania/Ukraine), Karavan Gallery (France). Visitors at the fair purchased works by Ivars Heinrihson, Maria Safronova, Léa Bénétou, Peeter Allik, Leonhard Lapin, Francesco Maria Testa, Lidia Vitkovskaya and others.
ArtVilnius’18 was particularly successful for Lithuanian galleries. “Most Lithuanian galleries have been participants at the fair for many years, so art buyers memorise and return to them. I am equally happy that the galleries’ displays were truly organic, well considered, the gallerists engaged in intense conversations with visitors and would-be buyers,” says Diana Stomienė, the director of ArtVilnius.
This year, collectors from Germany, Italy, France, Latvia, Russia and Poland made their way to Vilnius and were interested in both Lithuanian and foreign artists. Stefan J. Uibel from Germany came to ArtVilnius for the first time and said he was surprised by the range of its programme. “This was my first time visit and I have to thank you for the marvellous time in Vilnius. The fair is artistically and organisationally at a very high level. This year’s focus on the Baltic States has a number of surprises that are commonly not seen at Berlin art fairs and galleries. And I am happy with new artwork in my collection,” Stefan J. Uibel said after the fair.
Journalist Sergei Timofeyev of Arterritory.com in his review noted not just the purchases and galleries at ArtVilnius’18, but also its broad and solid additional artistic programme, something he compared to a high-level art festival that would be of some significance not just for the Baltics, but internationally as well.
The Rooster Gallery, Meno Niša, Aukso Pjūvis, Terra Recognita, The Room, Sla307 Art Space, Panevėžys City Art Gallery, Arka gallery, Baroti galerija. LDS, Menų Tiltas, Marija and Jurgis Šlapelis Museum Gallery, A galerija, Vilkamirgės galerija, Kauno langas, Contour Art Gallery and others sold many artworks to collectors and art lovers at ArtVilnius’18. The buyers were interested in works by artists of the older generation: Rimantas Dichavičius, Jonas Mekas, Violeta Bubelytė, Vilmantas Marcinkevičius, Vytenis Lingys, Pranas Gailius, Kristina Norvilaitė. The younger-generation artists fared equally well: Jolanta Kyzikaitė, Andrius Zakarauskas, Eglė Karpavičiūtė, Vita Opolskytė, Gustas Jagminas, Monika Plentauskaitė, Dalia Juodakytė, Rūta Povilaitytė and Jonas Aničs (The Path display).
Unique present for Vilnius from ArtVilnius’18
Water Lilies, the future project to be realised in the public spaces of Vilnius, a unique present for the city, was presented at ArtVilnius’18. The art work should be put on display by the end of this year near the old Vingriai springs, close to the new MO museum of modern art. The project’s initiator is Irmantas Norkus, managing partner at the Cobalt law firm, the artist Severija Inčirauskaitė-Kriaunevičienė is the author and Tomas Grunskis is the display’s architect.
Award winners and audience favourites of ArtVilnius’18
The following galleries were selected the best by the ArtVilnius’18 jury (in alphabetical order): Alma (Latvia), Contour Art Gallery (Lithuania), Foku (Estonia), Galerie des Petits Carreaux (France), Kogo (Estonia), Piktogram (Poland), The Rooster Gallery (Lithuania). Ivars Drulle from Latvia, represented by Alma gallery of Riga, was picked the best artist at ArtVilnius’18. The best sculpture/installation award went to Vladas Urbanavičius whose sculptural installation Combination 1 / Combination 2 was part of The Path exhibition. The best young artist (under 35) of ArtVilnius was traditionally awarded a prize of EUR 1,000, established by the law firm Cobalt, the event’s Maecenas. This year, it went to Rimas Sakalauskas, represented by Meno Niša gallery in Vilnius.
ARgenTum, the Vilnius Academy of Art gallery, was selected the best by the fair’s visitors. Its display showcased works by the metalwork artist Vytautas Mockaitis (1958-2011). The audience’s favourite artist award went to Kęstutis Svirnelis, a returning artist at ArtVilnius. The winners received monetary prizes established by the fair’s sponsor Volfas Engelman. The big novelty at ArtVilnius’18 was the best female artist nomination and monetary prize established by Soroptimist International Vilnius first club. The Estonian artist Laura Kuusk, represented by Foku gallery, merited the award for the consistency of her display and overall oeuvre. The winner was selected by the fair’s jury which also picked winners in other categories on the first day of ArtVilnius’18.