​What is Important?
3rd Ars Baltica Triennial of Photographic Art


Knut Asdam (NO), Bigert & Bergstrom (SE, Agnieszka Brzezanska (PL), Aristarkh Chernyshev (RU), Oskar Dawicki (PL), Miklos Gaal (FIN), Ilkka Halso (FIN), Isabell Heimerdinger (DE), Elsebeth Jorgensen (DK), Anne Szefer Karlsen (NO), Eve Kask (EE), Joachim Koester (DK), Tatyana Liberman (RU), Wiebke Loeper (DE), Wolfgang Ploger (DE), Arturas Raila (LT), Gatis Rozenfelds (LV), Johanna Rylander (SE), Jari Silomaki (FIN), Florian Slotawa (DE), Irma Stanaityte (LT)

Dorothee Bienert, Berlin; Lars Grambye, Malmo/Copenhagen; Lolita Jablonskiene, Vilnius

Ars Baltica is a forum for the cross-border cultural exchange in the Baltic area. Working with the question and title What is Important?, the curatorial team of the 3rd Ars Baltic Triennial of Photographic Art aims to deepen the critical dialogue on art and photography between artists, curators and institutions in the region.
The structural content of the project begins by looking at what is important today for Baltic artists who use the photographic medium. Etymologically, “important” is that which is valuable enough to be “brought in”, in other words, that which the individual or a community searches out and selects for itself.
What is Important? is not a thematic exhibition, but the works chosen do relate a certain artistic attitude. While many artists were concerned with establishing photography as art in the 90s, today, art with photography is one of many artistic strategies. Artists avoid the single representative image or play with it, include the performative and the narrative in their work, and produce image kaleidoscopes or complexes. Photography is not singled out as a specific medium, but is used by the artist, as others use it. In other words, formal issues are less important than the artist’s attempt to extract segments of reality, import and appropriate them, and communicate these to others.
Paradoxically enough, the artists in this exhibition combine an interest in the apparently unimportant and the desire to evoke important narratives. The most different forms of narrative in today’s Baltic photographic art are established around the following points of crystallisation. On the one hand, there are the stories that deal with the self, or where the public colliding with the private becomes an issue, and in which subjective experience and playful narratives replace the focus on the body typical of the 80s and 90s. On the other hand are the stories in which locations around and beyond the self are a central issue, and where the subjective importance of places supersedes the detached viewpoint on sites, characteristic of the early 90s. Concentrating on the local, the private, and the personal point of view, the artists attribute particular importance to individual territories, not yet absorbed globally or medially.



Stadtgalerie Kiel (DE): 12.04 – 01.06.2003
Mecklenburg Kuenstlerhaus Schloss Plueschow (DE): 29.06 – 27.07.2003
Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen (NO): 10.10 – 15.11.2003
Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius (LI): 23.01 – 29.02.2004
Tallinn Art Hall, Tallinn (EE): 16.07 – 13.08.2004
Pori Art Museum, Pori (FIN): 18.09 – 21.11.2004
Malmö Konsthall, Malmö (SE): 11.02 – 17.04.2005

Installation view with Bigert & Bergström work, "The Waiting Room," 2002. Mecklenburg Kuenstlerhaus Schloss Plueschow, 29.06 – 27.07.2003
Installation view with Bigert & Bergström work, "The Waiting Room," 2002. Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen, 10.10 – 15.11.2003
Installation view with Bigert & Bergström work, "The Waiting Room," 2002. Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, 23.01 – 29.02.2004
Installation view with Bigert & Bergström work, "The Waiting Room," 2002. Pori Art Museum, Pori, 18.09 – 21.11.2004

Related Works