Ire Lenes
From 4 to 30 November.
Monday to Friday from 5 to 8 p.m.
Download your free ticket here

An atmosphere of detachment and nostalgia glides over the landscapes, the faces and the everyday scenes of Archipiélagos (Archipelagos). Through these images, Ire Lenes takes a deep look into the political and social aftermath of the fall of the USSR and how its minorities adapted to the drastic turnaround in their lives.

What brings an archipelago together is the very thing that separates it: water. Similarly, what unites the people of the neighbourhood of Naujoji Vilnia, in the east of the Lithuanian city of Vilnius, is what separates them from the rest of the country: the Russian language.

On 11 March 1991, after the Singing Revolutions, Lithuania became the first republic to gain its independence from the Soviet Union. The Soviet symbols disappeared drastically and Russian was no longer spoken. But what happened to the people who were not ethnically Lithuanian, the mixed populations that resulted from the internal migrations of a broken country?

Ire Lenes explores that which is not evident, that which lies beneath. Her images allow us to understand that invisible social fracture and come closer to the difficulties that face the Russian-speaking minorities (Russians, Lithuanians, Belorusans and Poles) in an environment that looks askance at everything that comes from Russia.

Archipiélagos also reflects on the concepts of belonging and nation. I am ‘tutejszy’ (from here), says Vanda with her gaze set on a land that we cannot see. And those three words hide a complex, elusive reality: the neutral ethnic self-identification of the rural peoples where they speak a mixture of languages from the east and north of Europe. The word speaks to us of the bond to the land beyond borders and nationalities.

Archipiélagos Archipiélagos

Ire Lenres

Ire Lenes (1981) is a documentary photographer, sociologist and has a master’s degree in international relations.

She started her education in the PIC school of photography, and later in PhotoEspaña. Her photographic outlook is characterised by investigating the weight of the sociological aspects in her protagonists and their relations with their environment and history. In Sartre’s words: ‘What is important is not what happens to us, but how we respond to what happens to us.’

Since 2016 her work has focused on investigating the ethnic minorities of the Baltic cities after their independence from the Soviet Union.
Archipiélagos is one of her most renowned projects and has been shown in Madrid, Albarracín, Cadiz, Zaragoza, Xàbia and Denia among other places. In 2019 it was published by Cuadernos de la Kursala.

Her work has received numerous awards including the ING Talent Award (2021), OnPhoto Soria (2021), PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris (2019) and the DKV scholarship in the Seminario de Fotografía de Albarracín 2017, among others.

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