Shouldn’t the Golden Lion be cut? And if so, into how many pieces? Although hypothetical, the question still demands an answer, since there is an astronomical debate around this year’s Lithuanian Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale and it has left no one indifferent.
Historically, the Lithuanian state selects artists for a ‘symbolic exhibition’ by allocating prizes and grants to further the practice of Lithuanian artists. Such an act could be understood as a programme for the transmission of cultural products, whereby the state acts as a curator whose exhibition hall is without walls, and whose exhibition remains on show for decades. What would happen if one could physically assemble such an exhibition? What would it look like? How could one visit it?
The portrayal of such a showcase is Darius Mikšys’ (b.1969, Kaunas) most ambitious organisational feat to date. Simultaneously a meeting, salon, and exhibition, Behind the White Curtain consists of 173 artworks by artists who have received the State Grant from Lithuania’s Ministry of Culture over the last two decades (1992–2010), and is an attempt to portray Lithuanian art as a phenomenon, process, and subsequent mirror of itself. Behaving like a real-time performative installation, Behind the White Curtain depends on the visiting public to enliven the exhibition, according to their specific interests and preferences, and contribute to a constantly evolving placement of works both behind and beyond the curtain.
Funding and Support:
The Lithuanian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale is financed by the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture, Cultural Fund and supported by Hermes group, Stumbras, Birštono mineraliniai vandenys, Vilniaus diena.
54th International Art Exhibition
La Biennale di Venezia
1 June–18 September 2011
Behind the White Curtain
Artist: Darius Mikšys
Commissioner: Kęstutis Kuizinas
Organiser: Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius