One of the longest-running cycles in the history of Lithuanian photography – the cycle of photographs by Algimantas Kunčius “By the Sea” – this summer will be exhibited at Švyturys Bhouse in Klaipėda. On Wednesday evening, the works of the MO Museum collection depicting the everyday life and eloquent aesthetics of the seaside views were presented to Klaipėda residents and guests.
On MO Museum and Švyturys’ initiative, for the first time, the exhibition at the gastrobar Švyturys Bhouse in Klaipėda will be available for visitors until 31 August.
Art brought closer to people
“It is an honour for us to welcome one of the most prominent Lithuanian photographers, whose works were brought here by the most outstanding art museum in our country – MO. It is a great joy that the friendship between Švyturys and MO can contribute towards the joining of the capital and the port city, and not only talented artists but also the exhibition visitors can enjoy this collaboration,” noted Rolandas Viršilas, CEO at Švyturys – Utenos Alus, whilst addressing the exhibition author Kunčius, founders of MO Museum Danguolė and Viktoras Butkus and guests who have gathered to the exhibition opening event.
“We always strive to get more people to know and experience art. Therefore, already in October when we opened MO Museum, we had the idea of an exhibition travelling to Klaipėda. The fact that this exhibition is one of the longest-running cycles in the history of Lithuanian photography proves how versatile and timeless the topic of recreational daily life is,” says Milda Ivanauskienė, Director at MO Museum.
“The exhibition at Švyturys Bhouse which is always full of people is very important for MO Museum. Until the opening of MO, we acted as a museum without walls, so we continue organising exhibitions outside museum spaces. This photography exhibition in Klaipėda brings both art closer to people and people closer to art,” asserted one of the founders of MO Museum Viktoras Butkus at the opening of the exhibition.
Capturing social relations and connection with environment
The series of photographs by A. Kunčius is a kind of study of people’s everyday life and their connection with the environment. The photography artist asserts that the cycle “By the Sea” originated from another cycle of Sundays that he had been observing since childhood.
“I was fond of holidaymaking in Palanga in August, where on Sundays after mass, people with families went straight from the altar to the seaside. I was interested in the social moments between each and every one of them – I was observing the joy and the unity of both children and grandmas whilst they were getting into the sea. I have noticed that in time people just dress differently, while the rest essentially remains the same. The sea and the sun here belong to everybody, people are free from their jobs and statuses, they all become alike. But I find it interesting that everyone has their own unique life and destiny. That is why I am hanging around watching them, recording and studying people’s everyday life, searching for my scenography,” the photographer says.
Sea is not only pleasure for author
Photographers find the environment of the pictures they take particularly important. Kunčius tells us that the sea is not only pleasure – already since childhood, children from the flatlands like he himself associated the sea with the longing and existential issues.
“For me, the sea is a mystery and infinity. Quiet or wavy, with all its aspects, it is blissful and soothing. Although as a child I was watching the sea wash the shore and return back. I was wondering why it did not pour out and flood the shore? I remember the sea also left a lasting impression on my son when he encountered it for the first time. He then stood up on the sand dune and shouted, “Wow, what a big puddle!” Kunčius says.
Algimantas Kunčius (born in 1939) is the winner of the Lithuanian National Culture and Art Prize. In his works, he unites the trends of reportage and art photography. He is a master of subtle and precise photography with a special focus on composition, lighting and a well-kept moment. At the exhibition, Kunčius’ works from the cycle “By the Sea” are presented. Having begun capturing the views of Palanga seaside since 1965, the photographer is filling this series up to now.