Anya Stonelake/White Space Gallery proudly presents Lithuanian Portraits, an exhibition of works by Lithuania's most celebrated photographer, Antanas Sutkus (b. 1939 -).
A master of monochrome documentary photography, Sutkus has had a strong influence on the development of photography in the Baltic. His lucid and extraordinary images of everyday events in his Lithuanian homeland have been compared to the humanistic approach of Henri Cartier-Bresson and Andre Kertesz.
Sutkus' body of work bears witness to the country's subjection to Soviet rule, presenting a visual history of Communism in an objective but humanistic documentary style. Throughout, it is the daily trials of ordinary Lithuanians from rural villages that tell the story. Beyond recording events, Sutkus' keen eye finds history in human faces.
Portraits such as the profoundly affecting Blind Pioneer (1962) radiate pathos, the product of intense sensitivity on the part of the photographer. Indeed, Sutkus' humanistic approach, in debt to Cartier-Bresson, comes to the fore in both his images of children and old people. Treading a delicate path that is rooted in care for his subjects, the photographer manages to avoid sentimentality in recording the passage of being into life and towards death. Filled with romance, beauty and sadness, they move beyond photographic realism like stills from an unmade film. His stated aim is âto make an attempt at drawing a psychological portrait of contemporary man'. He continues âfuture generations will judge our way of life, our culture and our inner world on the basis of photographs.' The selection on show in Lithuanian Portraits are his testimony.
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