This year Klaipeda Photography Festival has opened its exhibitions online
and can be visited until December 13. The festival presents exhibitions by Arunas Kulikauskas “The Last One”, Violeta Bubelyte “Mono-play Differently”, as well as a retrospective of Ukrainian photographer Oleksandr Chekmenev “Forgotten Land.”
(1969, Luhansk) — one of the important representatives of contemporary Ukrainian photography. A large part of his body of work is a unique archive of Ukraine's life (especially its Eastern regions) from the 1990s, in all the roughness of the social and political situation of the decade. However, Chekmenev is interested not only in the abstract ‘epoch’ — these are its heroes that are important to the author. He portrays them in a straight-out documentality, which is combined with a sincere interest towards the stories of people, and understanding of their characters and habits (projects Street people, 1994-1999, Ambilance, 1994-1995, Passport, 1995, etc.).
Among the artworks presented by Chekmenev at the exhibition "Forgotten Land" the main place was taken by one of his key series — "Lilies" (1999). “Lilies” — the series of black and white staged portraits of the patients in the psychiatric clinics of the town of Ovruch, Zhytomyr region. The author rejects the traditional manner of talking about mental disorders, avoiding their demonization and replicating stereotypical formulas of medical violence, traumatized corporeality, or looking for the signs of pathology in one’s appearance. He is primarily interested in that immutable humanness, immanent to each of his heroes. This fragile feeling is represented in the pure and naivety attribute — a bouquet of artificial lilies. That flower, which appears in every shot, also became a motif for the endpaper created by the artist Andriy Yermolenko. This series became the material for the new book published by the Museum of Kharkiv School of Photography (MOKSOP), which is already available for ordering