The Best of Artvilnius’23 Contemporary Art Fair Were Awarded PrizesOctober 15, 2023
The opening ceremony of the 14th International Contemporary Art Fair ArtVilnius’23 took place on Friday evening at the Litexpo Exhibition and Conference Center. This year’s best were awarded at the event.
The opening ceremony of ArtVilnius’23 was attended by Lithuanian Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys, Vilnius City Mayor Valdas Benkunskas, and the Head of the Lithuanian Exhibition and Congress Center Litexpo Jonas Sakalauskas.
Having started on Friday morning, the jury, headed by art historian and curator of contemporary art exhibitions prof. dr. Raminta Jurėnaitė, selected the 7 best galleries of ArtVilnius’23, the best exhibition artist, the best young artist, and the best installation of the fair.
The international jury, in addition to Professor R. Jurėnaitė, also included the program director of Kim? Contemporary Art Center in Riga Zane Onckule, art historian, curator, and coordinator of the MOCAK Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow Mirosława Bałazy, gallery manager of the Georg Kargl Fine Arts gallery in Vienna Melanie Wagner, and founder and director of the Crème de la Crème Haute Parfumerie boutique chain and art collector Andrius Remiševskis.
Prizes for the best artists and installation
The jury of ArtVilnius’23 recognized the artist of Užupis Art Incubator Julija Skudutytė as the best young artist of ArtVilnius’23. The jury noted the artist’s distinctive work, which combines realistic everyday motifs with fantasy elements to create intimate, sensitive narratives. The artist was awarded a prize of EUR 2,000 by the fair’s Maecenas, law firm Cobalt.
The jury awarded the title of the best artist of ArtVilnius’23 to Latvian artist Pauls Liepa. “He is one of the most outstanding artists of the exhibition,” said the chairwoman of the jury R. Jurėnaitė. “His work combines classical printmaking techniques, woodcuts, and metaphors of building plans, manuscripts, and archives. The seemingly minimalist works have many nuances and connotations. It is art that balances between geometric abstractions and conceptual art in a unique and sensitive way.” P. Liepa was awarded the Crème de la Crème Prize of EUR 3,000.
Monika Žaltauskaitė-Grašienė’s object Moon Sea, installed in the exhibition space Path, was named the best installation of ArtVilnius’23. Jacquard is a favorite technique of the artist. Her work at the fair, says Jurėnaitė, is monochrome, graphic, delicate, moody, very poetic, and unexpectedly in harmony with the jacquard weaving technique. The author of the best installation was awarded a prize of EUR 2,000 by the fair’s sponsor, Scandinavian fintech company Vipps MobilePay.
Seven best galleries
The 7 best galleries of ArtVilnius’23 were also announced on the opening night. The jury members appreciated their vibrant programs and well-crafted, well-thought-out exhibitions.
The VAA gallery 5 Malūnai “bribed” and convinced the jury with interesting works capturing performances by artists Dainius Liškevičius, Laima Kreivytė, Monika Dirsytė, and Česlovas Lukenskas. “Each of these documents could be a completely independent work,” said R. Jurėnaitė. Māksla XO, one of Riga’s most renowned and popular contemporary art galleries, has been awarded for its well-thought-out, elegant, conceptual, and best artist-representing program.
This year, Vilnius gallery Meno Niša, which has been highlighted by several juries over the years but was declined the award, was among the best. “This flawed practice needs to end,” said the chair of the jury, R. Jurėnaitė, who stressed that Meno Niša has a very interesting combination of renowned and young artists, whose careers the gallery seems to mature.
The commission also highlighted Vilnius gallery MOrka. “This is not a boring gallery,” said the chair of the jury. “It’s as if it’s trying to show artworks that are unrelated to each other, but the deliberate display of contradictory things is wonderfully charming. The image of bad guys enriches the art scene.”
The Room Gallery, with its modest premises in Užupis, has, in the opinion of the jury, prepared an impeccably good and distinctive program for ArtVilnius’23, combining abstraction and figurative art, creating series, and generalizing dreams. “This gallery has succeeded in clearly defining its face,” said Jurėnaitė.
Vilnius’ The Rooster Gallery was noted for its ability to reflect new trends and directions in painting. For keeping an eye on the art scene and trying to stay in touch with what the art world is living. The jury also appreciated the choice of the VAA Telšiai Art Gallery to show sculpture works that reflect the strength of sculpture art in this region.
The art fair continues on Saturday and Sunday
The center’s three main halls and the outside area of 12,000 square meters hosts 70 art galleries and institutions and 300 artists from 18 countries. The organizers and curators of ArtVilnius’23 have prepared a program for the visitors of the international contemporary art fair, the main focus of which this year is performativity.
The main program of ArtVilnius’23 galleries and stands will be located in halls 5 and 3 of Litexpo. The international exhibition of sculptures, installations, and performances The Path, curated by artist and head of the VAA Sculpture Department doc. Vytenis Burokas features 16 artists from Lithuania and abroad this year. Curator of contemporary art and writer Valentinas Klimašauskas has named the program of this year’s ArtVilnius’23 Project Zone Today, Yesterday, Tomorrow. The program is dedicated to events, to the possibility and impossibility of repetition, to today, which is influenced by yesterday and will undoubtedly affect tomorrow.
ArtVilnius’23 is organized by the Lithuanian Art Gallerists’ Association.
The fair’s director is Diana Stomienė and the artistic director is Sonata Baliuckaitė.
ArtVilnius’23 is funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture.
Under the patronage of Vilnius City Municipality.
The Maecenas is the law firm COBALT, and the main partner is the Lithuanian Exhibition and Congress Center Litexpo.