What is Important?

What is Important?

Ars Baltica Triennial

April 8, 2003

3rd Ars Baltica Triennial of Photographic Art

What is Important?

3rd Ars Baltica Triennial of Photographic Art

Stadtgalerie Kiel, April 12th – June 1st 2003

press conference: Thursday, April 10th 2003, 11:30 a.m.

opening: Friday, April 11th 2003, 7 p.m.

by the Minister of Education, Science, Research

and Culture of Schleswig-Holstein


Stadtgalerie Kiel, Andreas-Gayk-Str. 31, D-24103 Kiel

T +49(0)431/901-3400, stadtgalerie@LHStadt.kiel.de

What is Important?

3rd Ars Baltica Triennial of Photographic Art

Artists in the exhibition:
Knut Asdam (N), Bigert & Bergström (S), Agnieszka Brzezanska (PL), Aristarkh Chernyshev (RU), Oskar Dawicki (PL), Miklos Gaál (FIN), Ilkka Halso (FIN), Isabell Heimerdinger (D), Elsebeth Jorgensen (DK), Anne Szefer Karlsen (N), Eve Kask (EE), Joachim Koester (DK), Tatyana Liberman (RU), Wiebke Loeper (D), Wolfgang Ploeger (D), Arturas Raila (LT), Gatis Rozenfelds (LV), Johanna Rylander (S), Jari Silomaeki (FIN), Florian Slotawa (D), Irma Stanaityte (LT)

Curatorial team:
Dorothee Bienert, Berlin; Lars Grambye, 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 crystallization. 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.


A catalogue with 160 pages and approx. 150 illustrations is being published, available at a price of Euro 17,50. The publication will appear in English and is conceived as a discussion forum on art and photography in the Baltic region, and is therefore designed as ring-book-file that can be added to or altered during the exhibition tour. The catalogue encloses text contributions by the artists and curators as well as by Ekaterina Degot, Helena Demakova, Lukasz Gorczyca, Jonas Ekeberg, Anders Härm & Hanno Soans, Mika Hannula, Lars Bang Larsen, John Peter Nilsson, Jonas Valatkevicius and Jan Verwoert.

Associated events:

The following events will take place on Saturday, 12 April from 12 a.m.- 6 p.m.

* Installation by Wolfgang Plöger in the cinema “Die Brücke”, Holstenbrücke 8, Kiel, open 11a.m.-1 p.m.

*12 a.m.- 5 p.m. lectures and discussions at the Stadtgalerie, with Bigert & Bergström, Joachim Koester, Anne Szefer Karlsen & Johanna Rylander, Florian Slotawa

*5 p.m. Performance by Oskar Dawicki


Stadtgalerie Kiel, Andreas-Gayk-Str. 31, D-24103 Kiel

T +49(0)431/901-3400, stadtgalerie@LHStadt.kiel.de

Opening hours:

Tue, Wed, Fri 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Thur 10 a.m.-7 p.m.,

Sat, Sun 11 a.m.-5 p.m., 1st May and 29th May 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

closed on Good Friday and Easter Monday

Next venue

June 22nd – July 27 2003 – Mecklenburgisches Künstlerhaus Schloss Plüschow (opening: June 21st)

further venues: Bergen (N), Vilnius (LT), Riga (LV), Tallinn (EE), Pori (FIN)

An exhibition project by the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Culture of Schleswig-Holstein in collaboration with the Ars Baltica Berlin Office.


Exhibition and catalogue have been funded by the Kulturstiftung des Bundes as well as the Foreign Office, Berlin; the Stiftung Kulturfonds, Berlin and the following institutions in the Ars Baltica partner countries: Arts Council of Finland, Helsinki; Centre for Contemporary Arts (CCA), Tallinn; Contemporary Art Information Center (CAIC), Vilnius; Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia (CCF), Riga; Danish Contemporary Art Foundation (DCA), Copenhagen; Finnish Fund for Art Exchange (FRAME), Helsinki; International Artists’ Studio Program in Sweden (IASPIS), Stockholm; Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art (LCCA), Riga; Moderna Museet, International Programme, Stockholm; Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, Riga; Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Estonia, Tallinn; Ministry of Culture, International Relations and European Integration Department, Warsaw; Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania, Vilnius; Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Oslo; Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Oslo

For further information please contact:

* Ars Baltica Berlin Office, Dorothee Bienert, Freiligrathstr. 6, D-10967 Berlin, phone/fax: 030-694 25 05, e-mail: d.bienert@web.de

* Stadtgalerie Kiel, Wolfgang Zeigerer, phone 0431-901-3411, fax: -901-63475 e-mail: stadtgalerie@LHStadt.kiel.de

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Ars Baltica Triennial
April 8, 2003

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