Celebrate for Change

A review of the new photo exhibition at the MO Modern Art museum

On the news website emergingeurope.com Craig Turp-Balazs writes about the new photo exhibition at the MO Modern Art museum in Vilnius. The show analyzes the theme of celebration and looks at how festivities help people process change.

The exhibition asserts that we participate in state, ideological or religious, mass or personal celebrations, but also asks how often do we think about their significance? The works of Lithuanian photographers and contemporary artists of various generations from the MO Museum and other collections present one of the most characteristic features of Lithuanian photography – celebration.

MO Museum Director Milda Ivanauskienė said the museum has one of the largest photography collections in Lithuania. She explains that the exhibition emphasizes the changes we experience during celebrations and the changes brought on by celebrations. While we are still in pandemic mode, a time of transition and transformation, the broad interpretation of celebrations and their ability to inspire change becomes even more relevant.

The Celebrate for Change exhibition takes an unconventional look at weddings, midsummer festivals, independence days, anniversaries. What do all these events have in common?

“All celebrations share a common trait: they either help us experience change, or they themselves encourage that change to happen. It doesn’t matter whether these changes occur in our personal lives or within our countries, their structure always remains the same,” said the exhibition’s curator Tomas Pabedinskas. “The celebration can serve as a resistance to restrictive political systems, social structures and cultural norms. During celebrations, we also create new principles of public life and get rid of traditional behavioural norms or social roles.”

Photography immortalizes festivities but also becomes a part of them. The ritual of photography establishes relations between participants of the celebration, and the photograph seems to guarantee their longevity. Photography often determines the form of the celebration itself, the appearance and behaviour of its participants, and the celebration is turned into a “photogenic” performance.

The Celebrate for Change exhibition will run until February 2022.

                                                                                                                                                       News from emergingeurope.com

Photos by Rytis Seskaitis, courtesy MO Modern Art Museum/Go Vilnius.