Even in an ever more global world that changes with increasing speed, humans and their basic situations have remained constants. There are still rich and poor people, happy and unhappy ones, lonely people and successful. The contact between people, a personal encounter remains the point of departure for accepting and understanding other countries and cultures. Because everybody 'has a cathedral in him' (Antanas Sutkus), his own life story that does not permit a schematic consideration. We just have to see and discover it.Read More
The Lithuanian photographer Antanas Sutkus is interested almost exclusively in people. He remains initially a reserved chronicler who takes time for his motifs, waits for the 'decisive moment' (H. Cartier Bresson), or is patient enough to wait until his opposite gazes into the camera freely and openly. Antanas Sutkus was born in 1939 in Kluoniškia, Lithuania, and now lives and works in Vilnius. In Soviet times, he was forced to limit himself to people in his vicinity. In 1965, Jean Paul Sartre visited Lithuania, and part of his programme was a visit to Nida. Only Sutkus got Sartre's permission to photograph him. The result was his probably most famous photograph: Jean Paul Sartre photographed from behind, lonely in a dune of the Courland Spit, as if he were wandering through the desert. Only in the 1970s could begin to travel, to Hungary, Yugoslavia, Italy, and Finland.
With Sutkus, every photograph seems like a part of a long story, the frozen moment in a film that has been running for a while already. A man stands in a building entrance, drawing on a cigarette and looking into the camera. He is about to leave, and it seems as if we could see the dark plan in his head. The lonely girl looks at us, smiling enigmatically, who knows what she is planning. The old man sits by the street on a rock, looking into the distance, still full of energy, but without any illusions. Sutkus frequently photographs young women and children, he is enchanted by them, and his photographs capture this enchantment.
The Lithuanian curator and art critic Raminta Juraneite writes about these photographs: 'They seem to be full of sounds and smells. These are not staged photographs, but neither are they photojournalism or documentary photography. Antanas Sutkus studies and analyzes the character or the appearance of the decisive moment.'
In Soviet times, pictures of poor, sick, lonely people were not allowed in public. Many of his photographs had to remain unpublished. He has stopped taking photographs, but he now publishes pictures from his archive from time to time. Galerie Albrecht is pleased to be able to show 33 select photographs. The negatives of these black-and-white photographs are from the 1960s and 70s.
Antanas Sutkus studied journalism in Vilnius, where he settled himself as a freelance journalist at the end of the 1960s. In 1969, he established together with other Lithuanian photographers the 'Lithuanian Association for Photography', and here served as its president for many years. He has received numerous international awards. His photographs are in many museum collections: in Vilnius, Paris, Helsinki, New York, Chicago, Boston, Zurich, Dresden, London, Odense, Stockholm, and others.
Text courtesy Galerie Albrecht.