IMAGE COURTESY OF KLAUS RICHTER
www.klausrichter.at / @klausleorichter
“From the series Bajorai. Bajorai is an essayistic exploration of one village in Lithuania. My aim is to tell part of its story; about its past and present by combining photographs that I took in the last two years, scans of old photographs of the family albums from the people of Bajorai and a written text in the form of an essay inspired by interviews from the people and impressions of Bajorai”, says the artist. The decay odor becomes palpable when looking at the pictures of Bajorai. They portray objects that will soon be gone, in which the process of decomposition has already taken hold. Attention is drawn to materiality as well as transience by juxtaposing photographs where textile is the main component with reproductions of photographs from old family albums of the people of Bajorai that are printed on textile. In an essayistic form, the series approaches issues of trauma and an unresolved past while it speaks of forgotten people who inhabit a marginalised sphere of Europe, as well as of today’s Lithuanian society.
There are more then 40 villages called ‘Bajorai’ in Lithuania. It translates as ‘Noblemen’. In the case of this village nobody could tell me with certainty when and why the village got its name. One neighbour though has heard that the name reaches back to the times when Lithuania was under the rule of the Russian Tsar. In that time certain villages were freed from paying taxes but in return the oldest son and the strongest horse of each farm had to serve in Russia.
I gathered material by interviewing certain families of Bajorai (also all the old photos are from the family albums of those people). Based on the interviews I wrote a text, that mainly focuses on the family stories of the people. The text also tries to forge a bridge between now and then.”
Editor’s comment: Great use of both lighting and texture to bring out a narrative mood. It’s almost as if the light is opening up a door to a present that is slipping away – which compliments perfectly with the context of a marginalized, disappearing community that Klaus describes in is statement. The composition, with the crosses on the thirds and the repetition of them in the window frames, is also excellent.