Alleksandras Macijauskas and Rimaldas Viksraitis: Borderliners at Ffotogallery

By Pippa Birchall | 25 February 2013
Exhibition preview: Borderliners, Aleksandras Macijauskas and Rimaldas Viksraitis: Ffotogallery, Cardiff, until March 23 2013

A black and white photo of a woman holding her hand up in an eastern European county
Rural Markets no. 319 Alytus (1970)© Aleksandras Macijauskas
Two of the most famous Lithuanian photographers, Aleksandras Macijauskas and Rimaldas Viksraitis, have come together to capture the decline of village life in Lithuania in the years leading up to and following the break-up of the Soviet Union.

The pictures reveal the fate of people who have failed to adapt to post-Soviet era transformation and, even now, continue to struggle in a westernised new Europe on the borders of the modern world.

Viksraitis has worked in and around the villages where he lives to capture Lithuanian rural life, which is disappearing at an alarming rate. The photographs are strange, frightening and darkly humorous.

Between 1969 and 1987, Macijauskas created the groundbreaking photographic series Rural Markets, combining social realism with early avant-garde principles with the use of diagonal angles and close-up views for a dramatic effect.

A black and white photo of a naked man next to a rooster and a woman holding a pig
Grimaces of the Weary Village (1998)© Rimaldas Vikšraitis
Macijauskas grew up in Kaunas, Lithuania and is a self-taught photographer who has been recognised at the high level for his achievements as a photojournalist and independent photographer.

Viksraitis has even acknowledged Macijauskas as his influence for his artistic career.   Having graduated from the Vilnius Technical School No. 47 with a specialism in photography, Viksraitis went on to work as a photographer for ten years in the city of Sakiai.

He has also been awarded a State stipend from the Ministry of Culture of the Lithuanian Republic.

Sadly, most of the people captured in these photographs have passed away. But the stories keep repeating themselves in the aftermath of the disintegration of the Communist era.

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