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Gintautas Trimakas
About the author
  • Born in 1958 in Vilnius.
  • Studied at Vilnius Civil Engineering Institute (1980–1986).
  • Member of the Lithuanian Union of Art Photographers since 1989.
  • Works owned by private collectors in Lithuania and abroad.
About the Artworks
In the 1970s and 1980s, Gintautas Trimakas took an interest in photographing closed spaces and used items.
The photographer's attention would get attracted by the bathroom in the old villa of Łódź Modern Art Museum guesthouse, or else by an orientally-ornamented wrap thrown on the backrest of a chair at the artist Andrzej Strumiłło's place. Just like with the other dwellings where Trimakas stayed for different periods of time, the attention is focused on individual details of the household environment: a tile stove with metal bindings, a wooden room divider, a bulky piano or an old radio receiver. All of these objects, extracted from the environment, are presented in a fragmented way, making them appear monumental. These large, flat, static and stretched compositions, created with the help of photomontage, radiate quietness.
Every object “portrayed” in series “Planes Elsewhere” (1986–1989) is individual and irreplaceable. They testify to the habits and lifestyle of their former owners, and associative intimacy is preserved. In another series, Trimakas takes the opposite direction and chooses items that do not possess any pronounced qualities. His paired photographs witness small, easily replaceable objects: a tea sieve, a tin plate, an electric switch, a water tap, a piece of soap, a cloth towel, a vegetable or a fruit. The background is empty, all the things are positioned in the centre and it is difficult to say whether they lie on a plane, hang on the wall or float freely in space. Sometimes they are even hard to identify. This misleading impression is reinforced by the titles: “Standing and transparent I–II”, “Standing and eatable I–II”, “Lying vegetable I”, “Standing from the metal I–II”. Similarity, symmetry and repetition are dominant tools here. Trimakas succeeds in both exploring the materiality of things and giving their image a dematerializing nature. Thanks to the play of light and shadow and a combination of concealment and transparency, simple everyday items turn into mysterious, spiritual objects. These sensitive item studies are very different from the works of Alvydas Lukys who photographed similar finds, highlighting the sculptural nature of isolated objects. In Trimakas' photographs, the search is for signs of decay and loss and their focus on miniature changes is closer to the works of Alfonsas Budvytis.
The theme of recurrence and difference is also important in many other works by Trimakas, such as “Planes for Oneself” (1993), “Unsent Letters to Scotland” (1995), “Torso is a Body Part” (1995–1996), the photographs of the Baltic Sea and its shore “Palanga in the Year 2000” (2000), “Counting the Sky” (2008).
In series “Torso is a Body Part” Trimakas photographed women known to him, preserving the anonymity of the pictures. The faces are not visible, but the clothing indicates the women's characters, ages, hobbies and tendencies towards one or another habit. It is also a chronicle of street fashion and lifestyle in a city like Vilnius at the time, and persiflage (mockery) at the expense of “high fashion” photography. References to fashion photography, however, are only superficial: despite being faceless, these models look full-bodied and with vivid characters. Trimakas has exhibited this series of female torso photographs in two ways: in the city as posters on poster pillars and in exhibition halls as a collection intended for leafing through. Such presentation of the photographs seemed particularly disturbing, as though the fragments of the women's bodies were placed out there for voyeuristic observation.
This is because here, the character and body studies are more interesting than those found in fashion photography, where the body is depersonalised. In fashion, the model is a “live hanger for clothes”, an idealized and lucky creature, whereas no one would have the idea to look up to the women in Trimakas' works. They are too imperfect and down to earth, despite being anonymous. The dressed torsos are far from turning into soulless still lifes.
In the series of marine landscapes (1995), Trimakas chooses a perspective from the shore and a simplest travel camera. The sequence of landscapes is irritating because of the ambiguity and haziness of the images. The location, time of year or time of day are difficult to identify. At the same time, here the use is made of unfamiliar imagery of seascapes. Since 1996 Trimakas' photography exhibits ever stronger features of post-conceptualism. In works such as “Black Angel” (1996), “Liberated Point of View” (2001), “Pervert” (2002) and “About Grey” (2002) the author increasingly approaches abstraction.
Over time, Trimakas is increasingly experimenting with a pinhole camera in the studio as well as outdoors. Begun in 2006, his series “City. A Different Angle” appeared after criss-crossing Vilnius, Cologne, Klaipėda and Lvov by bicycle with a camera mounted on it that would take pictures automatically. Here, a random and repetitive character of the images is being nurtured. As Trimakas puts it, “I'm just the author of the concept, while the pictures are being taken by the bicycle: I attach a pinhole camera to its luggage rack and it records what it 'sees'. The subject of the photos is the 'Sky' of the places when I park my bike. I turn the camera on in certain places: when I stop to have a chat with friends, to have a cup of coffee, to do the shopping, etc. These are ritualistic everyday actions that I record in this way. The spot where I stop becomes important. Or, to be precise, I photograph where I stop because it is important. I do this deliberately, emphasizing the chance occurrence that repeats itself, it doesn't matter what it is... I have come back to the conceptual decision of 'not seeing' what I photograph. A bicycle and a box with a negative help you rid yourself of clichés formed by the trade.”
The latter works by Trimakas have also encouraged younger photographers Tomas Razmus, Jurgita Remeikytė and Gytis Skučinskas to experiment with a pinhole camera as a way to slow down the gaze, meditatively identify oneself with the environment and thence abstract its images.
Raminta Jurėnaitė
All works by this artist
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