Vilnius Gallery Weekend is starting: 34 art spaces, exhibition in an observatory and relevant discussions

On October 22, Thursday, the 5th Vilnius Gallery Weekend will begin in the Lithuanian capital. Over the four days of exhibition tours the viewers are welcome to experience the diversity of Vilnius’ art spaces, visit the exhibitions currently on show, and meet the artists. The organisers of the event suggest starting the route in the old observatory of Vilnius University, where the art field’s imaginary acquires an experimental architectural interpretation.

This year, the city’s traditional event is curated by the art critic Dovilė Tumpytė and the artist Dr Akvilė Anglickaitė. In addition to having designed a route connecting more than thirty art spaces, the curatorial duo has proposed a cosmic perspective on the Vilnius art scene. ‘In the beginning of summer we asked the art spaces to think of a celestial body they could identify with, and starting this Thursday we invite the visitors to see how the architect Aistė Ambrazevičiūtė interpreted this imagination exercise. In this way we seek to creatively expose the art spaces’ mutual ties and the scale of the capital’s visual art scene,’ the curators say about the installation displayed in the old VU observatory (presently the White Hall of the VU Library).

Besides the experimental architectural installation created specifically for the current edition of Vilnius Gallery Weekend, this year’s event is also distinguished by its discussion programme. On Thursday, the first day of the Weekend, the focus is on the state of today’s art, the issues it is concerned with, and its relationship with the present, the world, institutions, and the audience. Friday is dedicated to discussing the role of art criticism, while on Saturday active participants of the art field and educators will ponder what intersections of art and education could be the most productive in fostering a culturally mature society.

Lasting until Sunday, Vilnius Gallery Weekend will feature the openings of ten new exhibitions. Thus, the organisers encourage the visitors to take advantage of not only visiting these events, but also discovering the smaller project spaces such as Nulinis laipsnis, Studium P, Editorial, VITRINA & Bench, and others. Neon pieces by the artist Gintaras Didžiapetris, originally exhibited in Cyprus and Lithuania’s shared pavilion at the 2013 Venice Art Biennale, will illuminate the walls of the building in which the Montos Tattoo project space is located. An installation by Kazimieras Sližys will be available for viewing through the window of the apiece showcasegallery. Meanwhile, the Lithuanian Interdisciplinary Artists’ Association, which had initiated Vilnius Gallery Weekend back in 2016, anticipates visitors at its newly opened SODAS 2123 culture compound, which hosts the Design Foundation, Trivium, and Atletikaart spaces. A special screening of artist films will be held in the latter.

The Vilnius Gallery Weekend route will also extend through the rejuvenated Radvila Palace Museum of Art, the house-museum of the artist and collector Kazys Varnelis, as well as private galleries – The Rooster Galleryand Vartai. The National Gallery of Art has put together a rich programme too. The organisers of the Weekend highly recommend visiting the updated halls 9, 10 and 11 of the NGA’s permanent display. There will be an opportunity to not only become acquainted with the national collection of works created in the four recent decades, but also hear firsthand stories by artists. On Saturday, Julijonas Urbonas, the artist selected to represent Lithuania at the Venice Architecture Biennale next year, will talk about his controversial Euthanasia Coaster(2010), while on Sunday there will be a screening of selected Lithuanian video art works.

Due to the current epidemiological situation, participation in the Vilnius Gallery Weekend events, which include not only discussions, but also concerts, meetings with artists, guided tours and workshops, is possible only with advance registration. Nevertheless, according to the organisers of the event, the bigger number of featured art spaces will make it possible to optimise the flows of exhibition visitors. In any case, every visitor of Vilnius Gallery Weekend is asked to strictly follow the personal hygiene guidelines: use hand disinfectant, wear a protective mask covering the nose and mouth, and stay home in case of feeling unwell.

Vilnius Gallery Weekend programme:

The project is initiated and organised by the Lithuanian Interdisciplinary Artists’ Association in cooperation with PI Mene. The project is partly supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture. Project sponsors and partners: JCDecaux Lithuania, Kazys Varnelis House-Museum, Vilnius Academy of Arts, MO Museum, Vilnius University Library.