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Vilnius, up close and far away…

Chihiro Ito, Josha Tree National park CA USA   Chihiro Ito, Josha Tree National park CA USA Camera by Mica Scalin

Chihiro Ito, an artist active in Japan and abroad, including European Capital of Culture such as Guimarães and Paphos , will participate in a group exhibition in Vilnius, Lithuania. This exhibition is an audio-visual installation by Jonas Mekas, the father of American experimental video, Chihiro Ito, and two others.

“I don’t know if I write poems… When I shoot, I don’t make films.  I just film, film, film.  Same with my writing.  I write, write, write… Poetry here or prose… Or nothing.  It doesn’t cross my mind at all, it doesn’t matter at all.  I just write, write, write…” said Jonas Mekas.

Jonas Mekas was born in 1922 in the farming village of Semeniškiai, Lithuania. In 1944, he and his brother Adolfas were taken by the Nazis to a forced labor camp in Elmshorn, Germany. After the War he studied philosophy at the University of Mainz. At the end of 1949 the UN Refugee Organization brought both brothers to New York City, where they settled down in Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

Two months after his arrival in New York he borrowed money to buy his first Bolex camera and began to record brief moments of his life. He soon got deeply involved in the American Avant-Garde film movement. In 1954, together with his brother, he started Film Culture magazine, which soon became the most important film publication in the US. In 1958 he began his legendary Movie Journal column in the Village Voice. In 1962 he founded the Film-Makers' Cooperative, and in 1964 the Film-Makers' Cinematheque, which eventually grew into Anthology Film Archives, one of the world's largest and most important repositories of avant-garde cinema, and a screening venue.

During all this time he continued writing poetry and making films. To this date he has published more than 25 books of prose and poetry, which have been translated into over a dozen languages. His Lithuanian poetry is now part of Lithuanian classic literature and his films can be found in leading museums around the world. He is largely credited for developing the diaristic forms of cinema. Mekas has also been active as an academic, teaching at the New School for Social Research, the International Center for Photography, Cooper Union, New York University, and MIT.

Mekas' film The Brig was awarded the Grand Prize at the Venice Film Festival in 1963. Other films include Walden (1969), Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1972), Lost Lost Lost (1975), Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol (1990), Scenes from the Life of George Maciunas (1992), As I was Moving Ahead I saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty (2000), Letter from Greenpoint (2005), Sleepless Nights Stories (2011) and Out-takes from the Life of a Happy Man. In 2007, he completed a series of 365 short films released on the internet -- one film every day -- and from then continued to share new work on his website.

From 2000, Mekas expanded his work into the area of film installations, exhibiting at the Serpentine Gallery, the Centre Pompidou, Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Moderna Museet (Stockholm), PS1 Contemporary Art Center MoMA, Documenta of Kassel, the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, and the Venice Biennale.

On January 23, 2019, Mekas passed away at the age of 96 at his home in Brooklyn.

Chihiro ITO

He was born in Japan. At age 0, he started painting with his parents who were sculptors using a paper and paints on the dark wooden floor of their tiny kitchen and bedroom in Tokyo. His entire childhood and teenage years were totally focused on his dreams to become an Artist and a boxer. While he never fulfilled the later, after years of toil he cultivated his own unique style of painting and proudly graduated from Musashino Art University in 2004. That same year, Ito’s first solo exhibition was held in Tokyo. Since then, his art has been exhibited at least 10 times a year.

In 2012, he was the only Japanese painter invited to the European Capital of Culture in Portugal for his art activity include exhibitions and performances.These experiences were very challenging due to complex sociopolitics but they were also wonderful global experiences for him. In the same year, he was invited to Serbia for a solo exhibition and painting performances.

Since 2014, he had contributed to Tokyo, Asagaya Art Streets as artist and the art director. He was involved with Japanese poets such as Shuntaro Tanikawa,Gozo Yoshimasu, Shoichi Nejime, and representative artists of Japanese experimental theater in the 1970s such as Ryoichi Enomoto and Sakumi Hagiwara.

In 2018, Chihiro Ito traveled to New York with a grant from the Japanese government. There, he encountered Jonas Mekas and began to focus more on video and poetry production. His films have been honored with more than 40 film awards. He also held a solo exhibition at Haco Gallery and read poetry at an event at the Queens Museum. Ito has been strongly influenced by Fluxus, the avant-garde art movement that originated in New York in the 1960s. At times when he felt lost in his artistic activities in spite of his many exhibitions, Fluxus art helped Ito to regain his purpose. Ito continues to research Fluxus in New York.

His new work “New Flag for New People” was born from such past experiences.

In 2021, he got a City Artist Grant by New York Foundation of Arts and Robert Rauschenberg emergency grant by recorded performance movie “New Flag for New People”. This film participate Prague Biennale (Supported by the creative European program of the European Union), International media Art Festival (Supported by Republic of Serbia Ministry of Culture and Information) in Serbia where held European Capital of Culture. He was honor to participated these cultural events.

13 July – 20 Aug. 2022

Tuesday – Friday 15:00 – 19:00
Saturday 12:00-17:00

Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center
Malūnų g. 8, Vilnius 01109, Lithuania

Jonas Mekas https://jonasmekas.com/
Arūnas Kulikauskas
Chihiro ITO https://chihiroito.com/
Saulius Paukštys

Curate by:
Gintaras Sodeika

Meet Up Ecoc !



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