Lithuanian Culture Institute
Lithuanian Culture Guide, Visual Arts

Algirdas Šeškus

Algirdas Šeškus, 84 1848 956 (1984), digital scan from black-and-white 35mm negative, dimensions variable. Courtesy Algirdas Šeškus and Galería PM8

The work of the photographer Algirdas Šeškus (born 1945) can be characterized by its strong interest in the structure of the image. His other areas of interest include artistic intention, the lack of correspondence between a work’s meaning and the photographic event itself, and decontextualization. In his practice, the artist constantly pursues a balance between artistic nihilism and the fetishization of creative action, between the underground and the official art scene, between individuality and the sense of community.  

Algirdas Šeškus’s photographs are like a hidden film that needs to be activated. This film can transport the viewer to different fragments and moods of life: simple and orderly everyday moments, eroticism, strangeness, mystery, fear, loneliness – all these states of mind can fit within a single photograph. The reality he depicts is vague and bland, often resulting in a rather disorganized composition. At first glance, the non-peculiar content captured in his works is reflected in the dim, muted tones of the photographs themselves. According to the artist, photography needs to be returned to its roots – to the moments when the very act of taking a photograph becomes a work of art in itself. His photographs from the 1970s and 1980s freeze fragments of an intimate and mysterious sensual life – distant and quietly opposing the official canon’s depiction of Soviet reality. 

Algirdas Šeškus studied at the Vilnius Art Institute in 1968-1970. He completed a cinematography course in Moscow and since 1979 worked for many years as a television and radio operator. In 2014, he was awarded the Lithuanian National Culture and Art Prize. His recent projects include a personal exhibition entitled ‘TV’ (2017) at the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius, and participation in ‘Documenta 14’ in Kassel and Athens in 2017. The artist’s works are included in the public collections of MoMA in New York and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid. 

The artist is represented by PM8 Gallery (Vigo, Spain):