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The Inaugural Edition of the Lithuanian Biennial Dedicated to Performing Arts Unfolds in Vilnius

Embracing its vibrant artistic scene, Lithuania introduces a novel biennial centered in Vilnius, offering an insight into the city's cultural fabric


Keithy Kuupsu, Courtesy of VB23


Concluding on August 6th, the debut Vilnius Biennial of Performing Arts underscores Lithuania's vivid artistic and cultural milieu, building upon noteworthy antecedents. It's worth noting that Lithuania earned the prestigious Golden Lion at the 2019 Venice Biennale with "Sun&Sea" (the performance set on an artificial beach). Furthermore, Lithuania's contribution to the arts extends to Jonas Mekas, a luminary figure encompassing roles of a director, poet, artist, and co-founder of the Film Culture magazine, alongside his brother Adolfas. Jonas Mekas also played a pivotal role in establishing the Anthology Film Archives.


Adam Christensen, Courtesy of VB23


Among Vilnius's dynamic cultural institutions, the MO Museum stands out. Initiated by Lithuanian scientists and philanthropists Danguolė and Viktoras Butkus, this museum, conceived by architect Daniel Libeskind, serves as a "cultural gateway," bridging the past and the future. Moreover, the CAC, the largest contemporary art center in the Baltic States, propels Lithuanian contemporary art's development and global integration. The Rupert Center for Education and Residencies offers a unique project space for unconventional contemporary art exhibitions and workshops. In tandem with these museums, annual events including a design festival, three film festivals, and the international contemporary art fair, Art Vilnius, contribute to the city's vibrant cultural landscape.


Gimbutas Street Band, Courtesy of VB23


Within this dynamic backdrop, the Vilnius Biennial of Performance Art (VB23) emerges as a fresh international event, dedicated to contemporary performance art. Organized by the Vilnius City Gallery Meno Niša as an official component of Vilnius's 700th-anniversary program, VB23 is led by Diana Stomienė and curated by Neringa Bumblienė. The program featured eighteen performances by both international and Lithuanian artists, with many commissioned and produced by VB23. The organizers elucidate, "Our primary focus is Vilnius as a city, but it is also a city within itself—a human-crafted environment shared with diverse life forms, where myriad stories, myths, activities, interests, desires, and visions intersect, coexist, and intertwine. The city is likened to a living organism, experiencing birth, growth, and sometimes demise, as seen so proximally in the current events near Vilnius, in Ukraine. The city serves as an artificial yet animated construct governed by certain rules, and pathways that some life forms follow while others diverge, giving rise to new ones. The city envisions an intricate web of both visible and invisible threads, laden with tensions. Ultimately, the city functions as both a platform and a stage."


Pedro Barateiro, Courtesy of VB23


Vilnius Biennial of Performance Art (VB23) - Featured Artists:


The biennial showcased the works of a range of artists, including Pedro Barateiro, Eglė Budvytytė, Marija Olšauskaitė, Adam Christensen, Dorota Gawęda, Eglė Kulbokaitė, Liam Gillick, Anton Vidokle, Eye Gymnastics (Viktorija Damerell, Gailė Griciūtė), Kris Lemsalu, Robertas Narkus, and Emilija Škarnulytė. In addition, an open call brought forth the contributions of Teo Ala-Ruona, BRUD (comprising Juan Pablo Villegas, Virginija Januškevičiūtė, Post Brothers, and others), as well as collaborative projects by Aleksandra Janus, Weronika Pelczyńska, Monika Szpunar, Rūta Junevičiūtė, Keithy Kuuspu, Jacopo Miliani, Pontus Pettersson, Justė Kostikovaitė, Laima Kreivytė, Eileen Myles, Yulia Krivich, Marta Romankiv, and Weronika Zalewska.


Eye Gymnastics, Courtesy of VB23





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