Algimantas Kezys’ photography exhibition “Cityscapes”

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The world is full of beauty and meaning, so there is enough for everyone. (Algimantas Kezys)

The photographs of Lithuanian exile artist Algimantas Kezys (1928-2015) capture the modern cityscapes of North America – Chicago, New York, Vancouver. Kezys fled under extremely difficult circumstances to the West after Lithuania was reoccupied by the Soviet Union in 1944. He arrived in the United States in 1950, where he committed his life to service in the Jesuit Order as an act of gratitude to God for bringing him through the hardships of postwar Europe. Kezys combined active pastoral and community work with his budding passion for photography: as early as 1965, he held an exhibition at the prestigious Art Institute of Chicago, published his photographs in various US magazines, and albums.

Like the paintings of Kazys Varnelis (1917-2010), Kezys’ works are distinguished by striking contrasts and the interplay of shadows, with particular attention given to the compositional structure and rhythm. The artist himself has emphasized that form is much more important than content in his work. In the shadow of strict architecture, seemingly unbeholden to the laws of time, loneliness reveals itself as one of the fundamental human conditions. Each shot is the result of a feeling of surprise, of a sudden admiration for the surroundings, which is why he never returned to photograph the same place for a second time. Today, Kezys‘ rich artistic legacy constitutes a unique part of the narrative of Lithuanian diaspora and modernist photography.