EXPO CHICAGO 13–16 April, 2023
Meno Parkas Gallery | Special Exhibitions | Booth 455


Meno Parkas is proud to take on the responsibility of becoming the second gallery to represent Lithuania at the tenth anniversary edition of EXPO CHICAGO as part of Special Exhibitions. For more than 25 years a non-profit institution Meno Parkas Gallery has been passionately committed to promoting Lithuanian artists and contemporary art forms in Lithuania and abroad. The gallery creates projects for young people, platforms for implementing large art projects, and encourages local and international collaborations.

For the art fair Meno Parkas selected to show the works of three prominent Lithuanian artists: painter Agnė Jonkutė (b. 1974), sculptor Žilvinas Landzbergas (b. 1979), and photographer Gintautas Trimakas (b. 1958). These works speak to the relevant topic of our time – ecology, in its broadest meaning and at all scales – in nature, in human relationships, and within ourselves. Today, in the situation of war in the middle of Europe, which is the most extreme form of disaster – from human to ecological, with humanity in yet another recession, extreme powers rising, the delicate and sustainable things are put off for better times. It can make You mute as if not much one can do. It may sometimes make You doubt your moral backbone – if I stop thinking about it all will it cease to exist? Whose responsibility is it – mine, ours, yours, which country’s, or whose representative in power? Where does the change begin? Where does my responsibility begin?

We dedicate the exposition to gentle ways of seeing and handling the fragile phenomenon of life. The keywords of the exhibition could be uniqueness, subtlety, and freedom. There are little to no visual narratives in this exposition – artworks in themselves, the way they are created reflect the better way to be – respect the boundaries, release the imagination, and let the world and its freedom flourish.

On the central wall of the booth stretches the horizon of Agnė Jonkutė’s landscapes – two paintings and a series of experimental unique photographs. Agnė states: “I am a painter. From the very beginning of my creative path, I have been searching for ways to capture a landscape without it becoming my interpretation, without imposing my own vision or gesture. The theme of land or landscape has emerged and has not yet disappeared from the stories told by grandparents – about my mother born in Siberia, about their exiles.” Her family was forcibly evicted by the soviets. “My mother was born there, that land took her father – my grandfather, which I have never met. The land that I have not seen but have heard much about: its mountains, Lake Baikal, flowers... Searching or imagining that unseen land is important for capturing self-concept or defining the place where I am today.”

Gintautas Trimakas is one of the most important photographers and artists of the Baltic countries. By rejecting digital photography, the artist invites us to resist the flow of frenetic life, and by creating uniques, he suggests that everything around us cannot be multiplied, and if destroyed, cannot be revived. His work offers a cosmological analysis of objects, his environment, and himself. In this way, he aims to open the viewer’s perception to what is not ostensibly on view. Emphasis is placed on the authenticity of photography, and the spiritual essence of the picture itself. At the EXPO CHICAGO, the part of series DIRECT POSITIVE (unique silver gelatin prints) is presented. These photographs borrow the technique of direct paper positive, invented in 1839 by one of the pioneers of photography Hippolyte Bayard (1801–1887). This is a technique which paradoxically contradicts the nature of analogue and digital photography as a means of mechanical reproduction. It is impossible to reproduce or multiply a photographic image created by the direct positive method because there it yields no photographic negative or digital storage medium for repeated use. An image captured as a direct positive is a unique and singular work. The photographs were created in half plate format with a British wooden Ross bellows camera and a 19th-century lens on outdated industrially produced 20th-century silver bromide, chloride, and iodide photo paper using the reverse developing process.

Žilvinas Landzbergas’s artworks picture things you can seemingly recognize but cannot name: objects from your subconscious mind, childhood, perhaps a fairy tale. Drawings are often not only the birthplace of the large-scale artwork idea but also full-fledged pieces of art themselves. According to the artist, while raising his kids, he noticed how they draw – creating the world instead of copying it, so as a perfectly trained professional, he puts an effort to reach this state of mind. Although his drawings are not images of nature, they behave like nature. The artist constantly asks about the relationship between man and wildlife, between culture and nature, through the motif of the fairy tale and its logic. “Our imagination could have a very powerful impact on capitalism as we would no longer need things, we could create things in our imagination and use them, we could share through the principle of storytelling, which is one of the oldest genres,” says the artist. Landzbergas chooses simple materials – arte povera is close to his heart. This is his own way to speak about consumerism and the possibility of escaping it. By not avoiding social criticism, the striking situationist seeks to involve the viewer in an autonomous reality, in a system of his own creation, in which alternative rationality prevails. His idea is that human beings have never been very modern, liberated or rational, they have always been hybrids, cross-breeds, and part of nature.

Exactly through the work of these artists, we are reminded of the fragile connections between people, countries, and the nature that surrounds everything. How inevitably interconnected we are as a whole and that we each have a personal responsibility for the choices we make and the steps we take. Gallery Meno Parkas invites the viewer to listen to the world and feel the silent laws of being.


Partners / Sponsors: The Consulate General of Lithuania in Chicago, Narbutas USA, Lithuania Council of Culture.