The ARS BALTICA Triennial of Photograhic Art has been initiated by the federal state of Schleswig-Holstein in 1996 to promote innovative artists from the region and to deepen the critical dialogue on art and photography between artists, curators, institutions, and society.
All of the realised editions dealt with historical, cultural, social and aesthetic issues that were relevant at their time. The first Triennial "The Return of the Past – The End of Utopia?", curated by Enno Kaufhold, focused on the role of a historical consciousness for the image production, whereas the second edition "Can you hear me?", curated by Kathrin Becker (1999-2000), investigated visual communication in the context of globalisation and the rapid development of information technology.
Since 2003 the curatorship of the Triennial was taken over by teams, involving curators from different regions in Europe. With the exhibition "What is Important?" (2003-2004) Dorothee Bienert (Berlin), Lars Grambye (Copenhagen) and Lolita Jablonskiene (Vilnius) investigated different strategies of artists who avoid representative images and use photography to point to the apparently unimportant.
The fourth Triennial "Don't Worry – Be Curious!" (2007-2008), prepared by Dorothe Bienert, Kati Kivinen (FI) and Enrico Lunghi (LU), presented works that deal with social problems and global fears, but at the same time convey a positive and often humorous mood that makes the observer want to scrutinize his or her own patterns of thought.
The project addresses people of al ages of all the ten countries involved. The Triennial usually involves between 10 and 25 artists from all 10 countries in the Baltic Sea region. The number of visitors varies from venue to venue and depends among other things on the local context.
Stadtgalerie Kiel (Germany) and other venues in the Baltic Sea Region, e.g.
Andrejsala, Riga (Latvia) * Arsenal, Poznan (Poland) * CAC, Vilnius (Lithuania) * KUMU Art Museum, Tallinn (Estonia) * Kunsthall Bergen (Norway) * Malmö Konsthall (Sweden) * Museet for Fotokunst – Brandts Klædefabrik, Odense (Denmark) * NGBK, Berlin (Germany) * Pori Art Museum (Finland)
This German-Polish exhibition project (start: 11 June 2010) which is supported by ARS BALTICA is shown at Stadtgalerie Kiel (Germany).
"ARS BALTICA is not a bureaucratic construction for political posturing, but a concept that stands for unconventional and committed collaboration in real cooperative projects." (Rainer Haarmann, former ARS BALTICA Coordinator, 1997)