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DOVILĖ DAGIENĖ exhibition PLANT MEMORY

(Phytography: chlorphyll photo prints)
June 29 – July 30 
Opening – June 29, 6 p.m.

Dovilė Dagienė works with organic photographic processes and creates images by using phytography (Greek phyton - plant, grapho - write)– chlorophyll photo prints. In the author's works, which are part of the photographic series “Plant Memory”, plant leaves are used as material onto which archival photographs of Vilnius children are transferred. The photographs show reflections of childhood found in the archives of the Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History. Like leaves fallen from trees, such photographs roamed the courtyards and streets in the territory of the Vilnius ghetto following its liquidation. The shadows of the painful past, unfulfilled destinies and dreams look at us from the framed leaves of the plants. Plants thus become distinctive monuments of time and memory.

“The idea of printing photographs on plants came to my mind while I was working on the topic of plant memory. This was my study examining Jewish culture and cultural heritage. While working on it I came across the story of the botanist Jakub Mowszovicz and through that I came to the subject of plants. Mowszowicz was a botanist of Jewish origin who worked at Vilnius (Vilna) University. Before the war he defended his dissertation on the flora of Paneriai meadows. During the war the young botanist Mowszowicz had to hide in the botanical garden. I have found some testimonies and stories that during the war he brought Jewish children from ghetto to the botanical garden. It seemed important to him to show those children the garden and plants, as if to allow them to recover from the horror of that war. This story inspired me to search the archives of children’s faces. That relationship between a plant and a child is common in our culture. We often talk about children as flowers, as plants, as something that grows into the future. And here we face the horror of the war that stops that growth. And stops lives. Looking at the faces of these children was a shocking experience for me.” – Dovilė Dagienė 

The exhibition is accompanied by silver gelatine prints: mountain, meadow, and sea landscapes from the author's memory.

DOVILĖ DAGIENĖ – DODA is an artist and photographer who lives and works in Vilnius. In 2020 graduated from Vilnius Academy of Fine Arts, Photography and Media Art with DFA (Doctor of Fine Arts) degree. Research interests include memory, imagination, time, and place in photography. With her latest project on plant memory, the artist is exploring the boundaries of analogue photographic mediums.
Since 2006 she has been participating in group exhibitions and has held several solo shows in Lithuania and abroad. Her series “Boy with a Stick” has been nominated and awarded the second prize at the World Photography Awards 2015. Presented series “Suspended Light: Two Suns” from the project Here Then, There Now, was noticed by International Photography Grant 2018 Experimental category and awarded 3rd place. In 2019 she received the J. Dovydėnas Photography Prize by Lithuanian Photographers Association for the most significant humanistic and documentary photography projects, works of art and exhibitions. In 2020 artist received B. Buračas Photography Art Prize by Lithuanian Cultural Ministry. The phytographic prints presented at the international art fair Art Vilnius‘21 were noticed by the jury of experts. The gallery presenting the artist was elected among the seven best: “Two elements meet in the exposition: the art of memory – photography, and memory stamped on the leaves of plants. The boundaries of photography are expanded greatly, it is merging with phytography – plant photography, and both of them speak on subtly sensitive subjects. From the aesthetic and ideological point of view this is one of the strongest performances at the fair”, says Laima Kreivytė, the chairwoman of the jury.

The exhibition is supported by Lithuanian Council for Culture