The project This is Vilnius started back in 2014 as the author’s personal blog on Facebook, and today it has more than 8,000 followers. The project aims to capture the city of Vilnius, to tell alternative stories of the city, and to raise public awareness of the fine-art/investigative/documentary genre of photography. The personal exhibition by photographer Andrejus Vasilenko displayed at the National Library in 2018 was the first presentation of the project in the city of Vilnius.
The images of Vilnius as seen in Lithuanian photography are often confined to the old city architecture and its development. A. Vasilenko’s project “This is Vilnius” aims to create the portrait of Vilnius as a multifaceted and constantly evolving city. Although the artist’s photographs mostly depict architecture, urban landscapes and static compositions, they leave no room for a hierarchical separation between the city centre and the periphery in terms of both geography and politics. “This is Vilnius” becomes an open question rather than a statement in A. Vasilenko’s exhibition hosted at the National Library. The chosen works combine a unique look, from the photographer’s point of view, into the contrasting architecture of Vilnius districts or often brutal urban developments, with a personal exploration of the relationship between form, colour and light. That is why the images depicted in the photographs range from, e. g. a lilac tree in bloom seen through the window of A. Vasilenko’s room or unusually bright evening lights cast on a typical apartment building in one of Vilnius micro-districts, to static images of politically significant places such as the current-day Reformatai Park architecture which will soon belong to the past following the upcoming reconstruction despite the protests from city residents that continues till this day. Although A. Vasilenko’s photographs portray Vilnius as a constantly evolving city, it is as personal as it is universal, and its definition as well as romanticism, humour and melancholy derived from it depend not only on long-term social and cultural changes but also on the everyday individual urban experiences and seasonal changes.
Andrejus Vasilenko (born 1985) is a Lithuanian photographer who currently lives and works in Vilnius. His works have been exhibited in various contemporary art centres including the Whitechapel Gallery in London and Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius. A. Vasilenko won a creative residency at Diaphane, a photography centre in Beauvais, France, for his project “This is Vilnius” at Kaunas Photo Festival 2017.
To see the exhibition click here.