The 11th Kaunas Biennial There And Not There will open on 15 September 2017 and will question the notion of monument: what, when and why should a monument be or not be.
While opposing the populist practice of removing-erecting and conservative traditionalism, prevalent in the memory discourse of public art in Lithuania, the Biennial will stimulate and legitimise new, contemporary, conceptual, and relevant ideas and strategies of remembrance.
The exhibition will take place in public spaces of the city. The 11th Biennial curator and artist Paulina Pukytė has invited artists from Lithuania, Germany, Slovenia, Great Britain, Japan, the Netherlands, South Africa, and Poland to make site-specific installations for Kaunas.
The Kaunas Picture gallery will host three supporting exhibitions. Coming Or Going (curator Laima Kreivytė) will show how Lithuanian artists have engaged with existing, former and potential monuments in the past two decades in Lithuania. What Are Monuments Made Of (curator Udi Edelman) will present a collection of videos by international artists dealing with monuments.
The Biennial is also very happy to show, for the first time in Lithuania, a project by Sophie Calle, the world renowned and one of the most important conceptual artists of today.
Romualdas Požerskis, 1989 02 10. Restoration of Freedom monument
On 16 and 17 September open talks and discussions on monuments and commemoration will take place, with celebrated guest speakers such as James E. Young, Jochen Gerz, Horst Hoheisel, and others (curator of the Oral Programme Dr. Rasa Antanavičiūtė).
The biennial, of the key events in Kaunas, has been organized since 1997. 'We seek to make Kaunas biennial the significant event for contemporary art in Kaunas, Lithuania and Europe, which reflects analytically the art processes currently taking place all over the world, by bringing up the priorities of creative collaboration and openness in the processes of art creation and its perception’, says its manifesto. Every event of the Kaunas biennial is created from scratch, i.e. by changing the structure, the conditions of participation, the character of exhibitions, the conception, also by involving [new] partners, curators, artists and people working in different areas of culture for a common purpose: communication through the expression of art and creative processes.
Darius Žiūra. Installation Monument to Utopia, Kaunas Biennial'2015 .Photo by Donatas Stankevičius
The purposes of the Kaunas Biennial are to encourage the dynamics of contemporary art in Kaunas, its region and on the international level by organising international, group and personal exhibitions in Lithuania and abroad, publishing art reviews, publications, and catalogues; Through educational programmes and collaboration projects to create a discursive environment and ensure maximum access to culture for various age and interest groups in Kaunas.