Baltic New Art. The Powers Behind Art Trends

31 January, 2024, Daiva Juonytė / Kaunas Full of Culture | News, Topic of the month

More observant townsfolk have already noticed the new art space located in the modern office complex. Baltic New Art Agency founded by three Kaunas locals, made a rather prominent debut in the cultural life of Kaunas. At the end of 2023, the agency organized an exhibition of paintings and objects by an important underground figure, experimenter, and painter Auris Radzevičius-Radzius. After visiting it, we want to talk to people who intend to bring something new to the city’s culture. As Vytis Papečkys, one of the co-founders of Baltic New Art, says, the goal of the organization is to organize exhibitions and activities of a wide range, involving various groups of townspeople in the process. 

Vytis, how did Baltic New Art come about? What expectation turned into a need for another art space in the city?

The idea was born in the company of friends and like-minded people. First, we saw a niche for an art agency to emerge in the city. The city is expanding and growing, and people’s cultural needs are increasing, so we decided it is a favorable time to develop the Baltic New Art project while understanding the current geopolitical situation, which affects both topics and feelings. We have also seen and heard from artists, especially young ones, that there is a lack of adequate representation and publicity.

You got settled in the heart of Kaunas at the multifunctional BLC2 business center, a modern office complex.  

We found ourselves in the internationally recognized building on Vienybės Square quite by chance. Or perhaps the powers that curate the art trends were willing. When a colleague heard that the premises in the BLC2 center became available, we did not hesitate to contact the administration which views art projects positively and understands the art’s value and resonance. They kindly provided exclusive spaces for the exhibition. In them the artworks opened up rather uniquely. For our part, we are proud to be located in the most modern office building in Kaunas, which generates large flows of visitors and has a unique exhibition space.

Photo by Jonas Petronis

How is the city accepting you as an art agency and your exhibition space?

Kaunas is a relatively conservative city. New things take time for people to get used to. Also, the people of Kaunas are quite picky, so it is nice to observe their good taste and to contribute to its cultivation. We believe in the city’s potential; many good initiatives are taking place here and the trends are currently positive. It is especially gratifying that the works of the artists we represent find a suitable home for them, and we gain the trust of clients and artists.

What are the current moods and processes of the gallery? What stage of development are you at?

We are now finishing our first exhibition Vaizde yra grybų (the image contains mushrooms) which showcases the works of the late Auris Radzevičius-Radzius and which received many positive reviews. We are preparing for new exhibitions and improving the online store. We are also expanding the list of artists and artworks. Currently, you can purchase works of more than 20 artists, including the unique SinThesis Gang which consists of seven artists (Andrius Makare Makarevičius, Inga Noir Mrazauskaitė, Dalia Juodakytė, Goda Lukaitė, Artūras Arcė Rožkovas, Kristina Asinus, and Saulius Kreišmonas), Miglė Kosinskaitė, Jovita Aukštikalnytė-Radzevičienė, Kristina Basurova and others.

What is your relationship with art, culture, and the city?

The whole team: Artūras Povilas Treikauskas, Deividas Preišegalavičius, and I were born and raised in Kaunas. We are glad that Karolina Savičiūtė, a young and talented public relations specialist and curator, recently joined us.

We love our city; we want to contribute to its growth and subtle flourishing. I became more interested in art during my studies in Germany. I also work in the beauty industry. I travel a lot, so I never miss an opportunity to visit galleries wherever I go, to explore different art clusters. Of course, there is plenty of room for improvement, but we are growing together with the city…

At Baltic New Art you organize lectures on different aspects of the representation of the body in art, body art, and the beauty standards of the whole body and face, which are reflected in paintings and reality, you conduct art education for children of different ages along with their parents. What are your plans?

We want to organize even more diverse exhibitions and conduct educational activities, lectures, and art presentations for individual groups of visitors. We want to contribute to the development of the artistic taste of Kaunas residents and the city’s guests.

And what is important to you when organizing exhibitions?

The first thing is the author, the artistic value, and the uniqueness of their works. We also evaluate how the works could best be seen in our spaces; we try to look for unconventional solutions, to discover different features of the artist that would get the visitors interested and inspire them to look at the art from a slightly different angle.

How do you see the cultural and art field of Kaunas?

It is a broad topic, but Kaunas is an interesting and unique city. There are many initiatives in Kaunas at present; the cultural life of the city is growing. The abundance of events and exhibitions illustrates that perfectly. The younger generation also contributes a lot to that. For it, art and culture become an integral and inseparable part of life.

How would you like to be seen by your visitors?

Most of all, we would like visitors to pay attention to the high artistic value of our artworks. I would also like to establish a long-term relationship with visitors, clients, and artists, instead of a brief one. We aim to balance artistic quality with commercial aspects. It’s challenging, but that’s how it is with art.

This issue’s topic is Debuts. What are you most excited about – or scared about – when making a debut?

What motivates and encourages us to move forward is the fact that culture and art are gaining more and more importance in the city, the country, and our own lives. We are anxious to find the most suitable place to fulfil the needs of art lovers. The intrusion of new media into our lives, as if trying to displace traditional art forms and thinking, creates challenges. But the changing perception of beauty is nothing but beautiful.