The Present Meets The Past: Acclaimed Lithuanian Photo Artist Offers A Unique Glimpse At The University Life
Acclaimed Lithuanian photographer Antanas Sutkus began documenting the people of Vilnius University in the late 1950‘s, when he became a student himself. Six decades later, young photo artist Artūras Morozovas, who calls Sutkus his teacher, was photographing the academic community. In this way, the present meets the past in the images of the University.
“Sutkus’s University is a world without routine: it has room for concentration but not boredom, intelligent laughter but not apathy or laziness. It is intensively inhabited, housing the scenography of old buildings with modern and at the same time-periodic physiognomy and plasticity”, Natalija Arlauskaitė, professor at Vilnius University, writes about the exhibition of photos by Sutkus and Morozovas, which takes place at Vilnius University.
“Of course, this is one of the versions of the university idea, the university legend, told in the tone of admiring socromanticism”, Arlauskaitė adds.
In 1958, when Sutkus started studying at the University, the era of the youngest and longest-serving Vilnius University rector prof. Jonas Kubilius began. Soon the paths of the young artist and the prominent scientist crossed.
Having learned that Sutkus was traveling around the Dzūkija region and photographing the local people, rector prof. Kubilius insisted on traveling with him. Photos taken by Sutkus show the rector explaining mathematical theories to the ordinary people by drawing on the sand or simply talking about life.
During the university years, Sutkus, who later was awarded with the Lithuanian National Prize of the Culture and Art,
was documenting the moments of his personal life, too. Photo “Marathon on University Street”, capturing his then girlfriend, was taken from the 3rd floor of the dormitory.
“I was strapped and held by the feet, leaning over the balcony railings. I only had 10 seconds to shoot”, the photographer remembers. Later this image became one of the best known photos by Sutkus.
The new generation photographer Morozovas, who underlines the importance of humanism in photography, took a series of portraits of the current Vilnius University lecturers. The academics were photographed in their usual environment, while Morozovas himself engaged in conversations about science to make the lecturers forget about being in front of the camera.