presented by MARTIN PARR
Born in 1952 in United Kingdom. Lives and works in Bristol.
Photographer, collector and exhibition curator.
Guest curator of the Rencontres d'Arles in 2004.
Rimaldas Viksraitis is a Lithuanian photographer who works in and around the villages where he lives, photographing a way of life that is fast disappearing. In his world, any apparent dysfunctionality, propelled by the liberal consumption of home brew, appears to be an asset, because people seem to be having such a great time. He goes to the parties, he sits and drinks and talks with his subjects. Their lives are not overcome by the gadgets of modern life, which so often eradicate any meaningful communications between families. You can tell he is enjoying himself and at ease with his subjects. Viksraitis’ sitters also seem to enjoy taking off their clothes. I assume this is helped by the home brew and rather warm temperatures, or perhaps they are all having frequent sex? Against this backdrop, numerous animals seem to be part of daily life. They surreally pop up everywhere; they too seem to fit in effortlessly. They share the family’s domesticity with the greatest of ease. The resulting images, displayed (or published) here, are slightly insane and wonderfully surreal. They are quite compelling, and if I spoke Lithuanian I would love to join in the party. However, as this will never happen, Viksraitis provides us with a ring-side seat, with all the emotion, the drink and the ensuing madness.
Martin Parr, November 2008.
As you drive along the main roads in the country, by the roadsides or out in the fields you can see farmhouses crowned with storks’ nests, looking as if they had been hoisted into the tops of towering trees. It is only a short time ago that villagers used to gather at these farmhouses well before sunrise to sell pails of milk to the farmers. Among them were always a few old people who managed to help support their children or grandchildren, then earning a scanty livelihood in the cities, with the few cents they earned. Now that we have the European Union, these morning gatherings are a rarity, eliminated by the new laws governing milk production. Today if you open the farmhouse gate you are most likely to find invalids—nowadays more and more frequently referred to as the disabled. It is truly poignant to watch them chopping wood, or to see a timid old woman pushing a wheelbarrow filled with the harvest of her garden and watching the young people, inquisitive and lively as lizards, who fill the village with their uproar and clatter. These are the characters in my photographs: they bear their cross without grumbling about their lot. This is life on the farm.
Rimaldas Viksraitis is represented by Anya Stonelake / White Space Gallery, London.
Framing by Circad..