Loading Events

“Lithuania. Two Centuries of Photography”

new exhibition at the International Cultural Centre in Krakow

International Cultural Centre in Krakow
June 16,2023 - September 24,2023

June 16, 2023 September 24, 2023

Lithuania is a country of photographers and poets. Photography enjoys a special status there, being a phenomenon of its own. The exhibition opening on June 16 at the ICC Gallery will tell a story about Lithuania, its inhabitants, and selected motifs shaping their identity.

Lithuanian photography has a well-deserved place in the global canon. Diverse and creative, it often affects the viewer evoking powerful emotions. Its unique style, which has emerged over the years, stems from the cultural, historical, and geographical conditions of Lithuania.

Pioneers and individualists

Lithuanian photographers have always focused on individuality. Open to new challenges and innovations, they boldly sought their own artistic voice. They experimented with various concepts, photographic techniques, and montage, which is why their work is often surprising and original.

The works selected by an international group of curators – Adam Mazur, Natalia Żak, and Vilma Samulionytė – are displayed at the exhibition in such a way as to show the interdependence between successive generations of artists and the transformation of specific motifs. Starting with the 19th-century investigations of the pioneers of photography, moving through the 20th-century classics of the genre, and closing with contemporary photography, the exhibition narrative outlines a wide panorama of Lithuanian photography. Renowned photographers, such as Józef Czechowicz, Stanisław Kazimierz Kossakowski, and classic artists of the “Lithuanian school of photography”, Antanas Sutkus, Romualdas Rakauskas, and Romualdas Vikšraitis, are juxtaposed with a younger generation of photographers, such as Tadas Kazakevičius, Indrė Šerpytytė, and Paulius Petraitis. Atmospheric photos show a country immersed in tradition, but also open to the present. The exhibition highlights the connections between Lithuanian and Polish photographic cultures. Jan Bułhak’s views of Vilnius are displayed next to the works of contemporary artists: for instance, the Lithuanian-Polish duo Eglė Kulbokaitė and Dorota Gawęda, as well as Robert Kuśmirowski’s specially commissioned photographic installation. 

From the clouds to reality

In Lithuania, nature is the most important vehicle of timeless values, hence some of the works focus on the beauty of nature. The photographs illustrate the slow changes in the landscape and the persistence of places of worship and memory important for this country, also related to Lithuanian mythology. A recurrent motif is the contrast – both visual and thematic – between light and dark, nature and human presence, heritage and modernity.

Lithuanian artists often focus on emotions, contemplation, and nuances. Their photos are profound, introspective, yet also they seek stories that are universal and understandable to diverse audiences. Works of many artists address the issue of searching for the national and individual identity. They often turn their attention to the social and political aspects of life, especially from the period of the political transition after the collapse of the Soviet Union. By documenting everyday life, tradition, and cultural changes, they try to capture the unique atmosphere of Lithuania.

Exhibition viewing in slowmode

The exhibition design at the ICC Gallery encourages visitors to view the display at a slow pace. Thanks to this, it is possible to contemplate individual photos and look at details, subtleties, and contexts. This viewing mode allows visitors to appreciate the special qualities of Lithuanian photography, such as their poetic atmosphere, tranquillity, melancholy, focus on beauty and inspiration in everyday, usually overlooked situations. The authors often use natural light, trying to capture the right moment to invest the photographs with profoundness and mood.

Photography at the ICC

“Lithuania. Two Centuries of Photography” is yet another exhibition that tells the history of Central Europe through photography, much like our earlier shows, such as “Photobloc. Central Europe in photo books” (2019) and “More than Bauhaus. German photography between the wars and Polish parallels” (2021). It is accompanied by an elaborately designed catalogue in Polish and English, featuring essays by outstanding experts in this area. The exhibition is organised within the framework of this year’s celebrations of the 700th anniversary of Vilnius and is part of Krakow’s rich programme of events addressing the cultural heritage of our neighbours.

The exhibition will be on view at the ICC Gallery from June 16 to September 24, 2023.

This project was organised in partnership with the Lithuanian Photographers’ Association. The exhibition was supported by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage and the Municipality of Krakow, as well as by the Lithuanian Council for Culture.

ICC Programming

Agata Wąsowska-Pawlik, Łukasz Galusek


Adam Mazur, Vilma Samulionytė, Natalia Żak

Curatorial assistant

Monika Rydiger

Exhibition design

Anna Wisz


Karolina Wójcik

English translation

Jessica Taylor-Kucia

Visual identity and catalogue design

Kuba Sowiński

Financial support


The exhibition is part of the project “Poland and Lithuania. Common heritage, common values” co-financed by the Minister of Culture and National Heritage.

The project is supported by the City of Krakow



Exhibition media patrons

TVP Kultura, TVP Wilno, Zwierciadło, Kurier Wileński, Contemporary Lynx, Szeroki Kadr

Permanent media patrons:

TVP Kraków, Radio Kraków, Radio Kraków Kultura, Kraków Culture, Herito

Rynek Główny 25, 31-008 Kraków, Polska
Kraków, 31-008 Poland
+ Google Map