A Postcard from Wooden Kaunas
Justinas Stonkus – a photographer of cultural life and a creator of the photography project about the concept of modern masculinity. In his latest project, he is presenting the aesthetics of wooden architecture of Kaunas.
The majority of residential buildings built in Kaunas between the 19th and 20th century were wooden. Today there are a few thousand wooden buildings that have remained and are recognised by art critics and heritage specialists, however, there are only some tens of such buildings included in the Register of Cultural Property. Many of these properties are currently in a poor condition, and their architectural value is often lost during processes of renovation.
Photos taken by Justinas Stonkus will be showcased in the form of postcards detailing the wooden heritage of Kaunas, with the hopes of raising the cultural significance of wooden architecture, encouraging architectural, cultural tourism, as well as discussions related to the future of the wooden architecture heritage in Kaunas.
"A Postcard from Wooden Kaunas"
Creative endeavours can act as a bridge between the residents of wooden houses and the heritage specialists, encouraging constructive dialogue. Moreover, it is hoped that such an artistic expression may attract the attention of an everyman to the wooden heritage of Kaunas. The aim of the project is to observe, analyse and document the ever-changing wooden heritage of Kaunas, as well as evoke an emotional response and a desire to help preserve this heritage. The photographs will reveal the effect of time on the elements of architecture. Not just the well-restored, unique examples are captured – there are also cases when the architecture is transformed to suit the needs of the public. Such changes are often quite fatal: the original structure is altered, the decorative elements are taken away, and the wooden facades are replaced with those of cheaper, synthetic materials requiring less maintenance. What is more, the photographs explore the connection between people and architecture. Reflections in many of the photos are used to portray the different dimensions of a building, as well as its’ relation to the past and the present in the changing urbanistic environment. The colourful shots well represent either the authenticity of the color palette of wooden architecture or, in cases when buildings were renovated, the specific design tastes of their owners. The very texture of wood and paint, untouched by man or nature, is highlighted through bold contrasts of light and dark.
The project is funded by Lithuanian Council for Culture. Information and Dissemination Partner: “Kaunas 2022 European Capital of Culture”.
Photos by J. Stonkus, 2020.