On July 25th, 4 p.m. The opening of the exhibition “The Muse of the Greenhouse” will take place in Kaunas Photography Gallery, it is a part of the international project “Woman’s Work”. The exhibition curated by Jana Kukaine (Latvia) presents artists Irena Giedraitiene (Lithuania), Clare Gallagher (Northern Ireland), Jaana Kokko (Finland) and Elīna Brasliņa (Latvia).
The exhibition is built around the notion of the greenhouse and its multiple social, political and economical meanings. It strives to embrace both Soviet legacy and today’s patterns of private gardening, as well as to address the issues of migration of seasonal workers to which the current population of Eastern Europe (including the Baltic states) has been particularly subject to.
Yet, growing food is one of the most intrinsic activities of sustaining life – the patience and care work it requires resembles the practices of maternal work and thus brings in the perspective of parenting and the labour of love. Furthermore, during the Covid-19 pandemic for many urban inhabitants a greenhouse had become the place of retreat, solace and resilience – accordingly, these insights have also become part of the exhibition.
A set of bodily sensations associated with greenhouse enacts a life circle – from seeding, germination, blossoming, ripening and harvest to decay and extinction, thus highlighting human vulnerability, mutual interdependence between the human and the natural and the fragility of life itself. Finally, the figure of Muse as included in the title of the exhibition, hits on the ambiguous presence of women in arts, the unpaid labor of emotional and sexual maintenance they routinely perform and the never-ending challenges of balancing professional and familial obligations.
“A Woman’s Work” is a two-year project, led by Ffotogallery and funded through Creative Europe, that uses photography and digital media to address social issues through artistic collaboration and exchange across borders, and the co-production of exhibitions, publications and online resources that challenge the dominant view of gender and industry in Europe. Ffotogallery has teamed up with cultural partners in Lithuania, Ireland, France, Finland and Germany to present to audiences new work focusing on the changing face of women and work in Europe, with a sharing of professional experience and practice using both physical and online platforms. europeanprospects.org/a-womans-work
The exhibition runs through August 30.
Exhibition architect – Donatas Stankevičius, exhibition gardener – Marijus Taletavičius.
The exhibition is supported by the EU program “Creative Europe”, Lithuanian Council of Culture and Kaunas City Municipality.