On the 24th of August at 16 pm the exhibition „Steading-like Life“of Rimaldas Vikšraitis will be opened. The presentation of book „Steading-like Life“, published by Union of Lithuanian Art Photographers also will be held.
© Rimaldas Vikšraitis
This is how life may be
I have no doubt that Rimaldas Vikšraitis will never be chosen as a nominee of “LT identity“ – the list of personalities promoting the name of Lithuania worldwide. However, I am nonetheless positive that the production of this photographer is most worthy of the honourable award token – the drop. The photographs taken by the artist, who comes from the provinces, speak about a small man left in a total state of neglect – a drop not disgorging into any rivers of culture but rather invisibly exhaling in the mist of globalization. When looking at a loser left in absolute oblivion and knocked up by poverty, despair and alcohol, one cannot help showing “a drop” in the corner of the eye which, sad to say, symbolizes something very remote from beautiful life and perfect sensations of living.
Of course, it is not appropriate to represent the identity of Lithuania by an empty bottle of vodka standing on a dirty dining table, a pighead in a chapped enamel bowl or filthy dirty bodies lying sprawled on the floor. Or could a civilized state and its future be possibly represented by kids standing around the tabouret, whereon their “celebrating” parents have dashed their offspring’s birthday cake with stacking candles looking rather feral than festive? However, Vikšraitis does not bother about how we look in the eyes of the world, he lives in his own countryside without turning his back on it, on the contrary – he dives into the very depth of the cesspool. By revealing the landscape of countryside reality rugged with tragicomic grimaces, the photographer oftentimes outsteps the limits of ethics and cynically pulls his punches on the moral of the society right in the pit of the stomach. Such straight and shocking photography is unique in Lithuania.
Vikšraitis’s work is definitely pronounced and meaningful, however, what touches me most is his manly social position. Only a mature democratic society is able of keeping its ears open to the most resolve messages of the artist exposing the deepest sores and of comprehending the problem of impending self-destruction which nowadays is a burning issue not only to Lithuania. This is how was with America, too, when the nation managed to keep its ears open to the message of Lewis Hines, one of the first and most famous creators of social photography in the world, who dared to reveal the degrading background behind the country’s image – he photographed children and immigrants exploited in mines and factories, street markets and agriculture as well as immigrants who had searched for shelter and happiness but eventually found themselves deep down in infinite misery. America not just heard its photographer’s social outcry but responded to it by a number of concrete programs. I hope that the photography of Vikšraitis will outreach the conscience of those holding the reins of government and the Church.
Yes, gentlemen, this is how life may be, and it is right here.
Photographer, Nominee of National Award