Reel to Reel -to Jonas Mekas-

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Chihiro ITO
Reel to Reel to -Jonas Mekas-
April 26 – May 25

Chihiro ITO Instagram:

Jonas Mekas’ work has inspired many artists. But an even richer creative legacy lies in the artist’s archive, which was researched by Japanese interdisciplinary artist Chihiro ITO in New York for links to his country’s culture . His artistic research lasted six months and is summarised in the exhibition “Reel to Reel to Jonas Mekas”.

The exhibition features artefacts collected by Jonas Mekas Studio, the archive that takes care of Jonas Mekas’ legacy in the USA and worldwide, which are reinterpreted and re-actualised by Chihiro ITO. The exhibition consists of cross-media works combining fragments of films, zines, books, photographs and collages. Jonas Mekas himself is a frequent protagonist, travelling from story to story.

Chihiro ITO was born in Tokyo and studied painting at the prestigious Musashino University of the Arts in Tokyo. He has participated as a guest artist in the European Capitals of Culture in Portugal, Cyprus, Serbia and Lithuania. In 2018, Chihiro ITO received a grant from the Japanese government for a creative trip to the United States, which, the artist says, changed his life.

In New York, he met Jonas Mekas. “Although our acquaintance and our time together was quite brief, Jonasbecame both my mentor and my friend. With his encouragement and inspiration, I continued to delve deeper into poetry and cinema,” recalls Chihiro ITO. Not only Mekas’ personality and work, but also New York – a megalopolis famous for its ideas and intercultural interaction – inspired new explorations.

In 2023, Chihiro ITO was invited to take part in a residency first organised by the Jonas Mekas Studio and funded by the Monira Foundation and the National Endowment for the American Arts. “This residency was different from those that focus exclusively on the creation of a work. Thanks to Sebastian Mekas, I had access to the entire archive of the Jonas Mekas Studio for six months. I was free to explore and create using the material I discovered there. I was amazed at the deep connection I discovered between Jonas’ journey from Lithuania to the USA as an immigrant and my home country of Japan,” says the artist.

In the exhibition, which presents the Reel to Reel series, named after one of Jonas Mekas’ archive files discovered, Chihiro ITO explores the connections between Jonas Mekas, Japan, New York, Lithuania, poetry, haiku, his friends and the moments captured in the archives. Chihiro ITO’s work preserves the plasticity and simplicity of Jonas Mekas’ thought. The Japanese artist deliberately chooses simple means and DIY aesthetics, where the idea and its cross-cultural resonance are not the most important thing, but rather the sophisticated form and visual effects.

Image Gallery: 


Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center - Vilnius , Lithuania


Tuesday, April 26, 2022 - 12:00 to Wednesday, May 25, 2022 - 17:00



Tuesday, April 26, 2022 - 12:00 to Wednesday, May 25, 2022 - 17:00
  • Malūnų g. 8,
    01109   Vilnius
    54° 40' 52.2336" N, 25° 17' 39.66" E