On Thursday the 8th edition of Art Vilnius opened its doors in Vilnius' Litexpo. The four-day exhibition runs until Sunday, 11 June. It is an annual event that brings together some 55 galleries, representing 200 artists from 20 countries. The exhibition includes renowned Lithuanian contemporary artists and galleries.
Lithuania's Culture Minister Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson Photo © Ludo Segers @ The Lithuanian Tribune (1)

In addition to the art show that spans five exhibition halls, there is also a gallery night on Friday 9th June where eight art galleries in Vilnius stay open until 23H. During that event, visitors will also be able to meet and mingle with artists.

The presence of many of Lithuania's artists is also one of the major attractions of Art Vilnius. The accent this year is on video installations courtesy of Francesca Ferrarini. There are also a substantial number of events and interactive art installations, as well as performances. Even the winner of the sculpture installation, Raimonda Serekaite's work called '#Selfie' is as one may expect, very interactive, provided you bring your mobile phone.

During the opening presentation, Lithuania's Culture Minister Liana Ruokytė-Jonsson expressed her love for contemporary art. She was glad that Vilnius welcomes every year in June the European art community to an event with a reputation that stretches well beyond Lithuania's borders. The Minister said, "We are happy not only for the global collection but also new forms of search. The work carried out by the organisers of the art fair is really impressive".

The jury's chair, art critic Virginijus Kinčinaitis described that in art, "sometimes the world seems kaleidoscopic, but in Art Vilnius, these roads, trails and paths converge and become one big event.''

He announced the prize for the best artist as going to Mindaugas Navakas for his sculpture 'Tower G'. Raimonda Serekaite was awarded the best prize for her sculpture/installation, '#Selfie'. The prize for the best young artist was awarded to Povilas Ramanauskas who received an award in the amount of 1000 Euro.

The jury shortlisted seven art galleries as being the best. Without awarding a prize to the best, the 7 galleries are: Trivium in Vilnius, Meno Parkas in Kaunas, 'Dusetų Art Gallery, Argentum in Vilnius), Kuldiga artist residences in Kuldīga, Latvia, Stalowa in Warsaw and Foku in Tallinn.

There is more than young talent. 'Outtakes From the Life of a Happy Man', is a film showing in Hall 5, room 5.3 made by the famous New York based, Lithuanian artist Jonas Mekas. Mekas is celebrating his 95th birthday and the godfather of avant-garde cinema is honoured at Art Vilnius by The Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center.

The title of the movie is a fitting for, what must be the best-known and celebrated Lithuanian artist, who 70 years ago endured hardship surviving labour and displaced people camps in Germany before arriving in the USA and setting out to change cinema forever.

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