The "loops" of aspirations 0

Tomas Pabedinskas, 2015-09-18

In brief: It would be hard not to notice repetition at the International Festival of Photography "Kaunas Photo.” Not to reflect on it would mean losing the chance to notice a more general situation of contemporary photography in one example.

It is easy to find similar topics and recurrent specific creative solutions in different years of the festival. For example, at the exhibition "Dacia drivers", which this year is taking place in the open air, near the Kaunas Castle, you can see photographs by Romanian author, Horatiu Sava, in which "Dacia" owners are posing next to their cars. Using photography, author conducted a subjective research on the socialist period in Romania and his own childhood memories.

A year ago, in the same square at the Kaunas Castle, people were able to see Tomáš Pospěch, from the Czech Republic, exhibition "Castle owners", in which he revealed a peculiar Czech people's hobby to create decorative castle models.

We could continue the list of similar comparisons, but it would still not reveal anything more but similarities of exhibitions of "Kaunas Photo" festival of different years. However, the impression that repetition insensibly blends only into the photography festival, held in the provisional capital, would be wrong. Predictability and repetition of already-established trends and already seen creative solutions can be generally observed in the international scene of contemporary photography.

An eloquent example of this - American artist Jennifer B. Thoreson exhibition "Testament" at the Kaunas photography gallery. Consistently implemented concept, excellence in developing objects and situations and large-format photo prints of impressive quality - all of which perfectly meet the requirements of contemporary photography and its display. However, such criteria have already been solidified a couple of decades ago by authors like Austrian artist Erwin Wurm or Japanese artist Tatsumi Orimoto.

Thus, in a broader context, it becomes clear why the perfection of the exhibition "Testament" might seem inauthentic - exposition perfectly fulfills the expectations of the audience and curators, but it does not redefine the evaluation criteria and does not test a different visual language.

So the loops of photographers' creative aspirations create a double effect: they can lead to sensation of (photography and reality) the monotony of life and creative predictability inhibiting authentic experiences and with each repetition provoke minor creative developments that may eventually tilt the development of contemporary photography toward the new coordinates.

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