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Online | Meeting with NEXT 2021 ‘Seeking the Latest in Photography!’ Award winner Visvaldas Morkevičius

Meeting with the Riga Photography Biennial – NEXT 2021 ‘Seeking the Latest in Photography!’ Award winner Visvaldas Morkevičius will take place on July 22 at 18.30 online on Riga Photography Biennial and ISSP Gallery Facebook platform (https://fb.me/e/11FOSzALA). Meeting will be held in English and is free of charge.

In 2021 the Riga Photography Biennial – NEXT ‘Seeking the Latest in Photography!’ Award is presented for the fourth time. The goal of the award is to discover and appraise the creative efforts of young artists who demonstrate the power of the image in their works, offering an original point of view and conceptual depth, suited to the times. It highlights emerging Baltic artists whose works are already dominated by these qualities. Since 2019, the award has been presented within the Biennial’s off-year programme NEXT in cooperation with the ISSP Gallery.

In 2021, the international jury presented the main award to Visvaldas Morkevičius for his series ‘Looking Forward to Meet Me’ which is realized as a (narcissistic) introspection; an artist’s self-analysis transformed into a visual and spatial work. The title of the project is a projection of a future moment, an impending encounter with oneself. While the collection of works within the project includes one self-portrait, the photograph remains almost imperceptible as it is framed underneath a stained glass pane. The project is thus a portrait ‘in becoming’ that relies on art history symbols, tropes borrowed from classical mythology, psychoanalytic interpretations, and personal memories. As a result, the project creates a collage of myriad connections and associations that defy arbitrary boundaries of representation as portrayal. ‘Looking Forward to Meet Me’ rejects the canonical quality of objective likeness that the genre of this project is defined by, and delves into the process of self-awareness, recognition and understanding.

Commenting on their decision, the jury noted: “Morkevičius’ work is a playful interpretation of self-analysis, built with great creativity. His practice shifts on to the borderline of photography using a brilliant mixed media approach. Through this Morkevičius creates a multi-layered visual scenario where the viewer is invited not just to view the artist’s portrait, but also be on the lookout for their own. The project, conceived in recent months, is a mirror of contemporary social and cultural issues, talking about self-knowledge, introspection and self-acceptance.” Morkevičius also received the VV Foundation prize – an opportunity to take part in the PAiR Residency in Pāvilosta.

Visvaldas Morkevičius (1990) is a Lithuanian artist who uses the photographic medium to widely explore portraiture. He, in his own terms, “collects realities” by observing the daily surroundings of his subjects, and uses self-analysis in order to look into the possibilities of self-portraits. By using diverse lo-fi and hi-fi aesthetics and working with materials from classical analog photography to modern digital tools, Morkevičius manipulates the sense of time in his works and its perception. Works by Morkevičius have been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions around Europe, are held in museum and private art collections such as MO Museum, Lewben Art Foundation, SEB Bank Art Collection.

NEXT 2021 ‘Seeking the Latest in Photography!’ Award’s jury: curator at the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art Saara Hacklin (FI), curator, writer and curator of the 14th Baltic Triennial Valentinas Klimašauskas (LT), art critic, art historian and curator Adam Mazur (PL), curator and editor at YET Magazine Elena Vaninetti (IT), artistic director of Photo Basel Audrey Hoareau (FR), curator and project manager of the Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM) Laura Toots (EE) and artist, curator, writer and ISSP Gallery representative Evita Goze (LV).

NEXT 2021 ‘Seeking the Latest in Photography!’Award winner’s Visvaldas Morkevičius exhibition ‘Looking Forward to Meet Me’ is on view at ISSP Gallery until August 11.

The Riga Photography Biennial – NEXT is an international contemporary art event focusing on the analysis of visual culture and artistic representation. NEXT focuses on young and promising artists from the Baltics, Nordic countries and Europe who are still in the early stages of their careers. By introducing young and promising artists and curators, the NEXT programme offers visibility and provides a platform for artists and curators to announce themselves to a wider context.

NEXT 2021 ‘Seeking the Latest in Photography!’Award partners: Mērķprogramma “KultūrELPA”, State Culture Capital Foundation, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia, Riga City Council, VV Foundation, NoRoutine Books (LT), Nordic Council of Minister’s Office in Latvia, Printing house ‘ADverts’, SIA “Krāsu serviss”, Arterritory, Satori, LSM, Blok Magazine (PL), Punctum, Literatūra ir menas (LT), Latvijas Radio, Radio NABA

Riga Photography Biennial – NEXT 2021 programme: www.rpbiennial.com