The performative presentation of the book “(In)dependent Contemporary Art Histories. Artist-run Initiatives in Lithuania 1980–2022” (3rd volume).


The Pavilion’s Book Weekend on 3 December will host the launch of the third volume of the publication on Lithuanian contemporary art, which is becoming a history in its own right as it has been in the making for the past decade. Richly illustrated 624-page publication “(In)dependent contemporary art histories. Artist-run initiatives in Lithuania 1980–2022” allows to travel back in time from the 1980s to the present day and experience how Lithuanian artists have lived, worked and organised a wide range of activities. It is practically the only history of Lithuanian contemporary art published to date. During the presentation visitors will have the opportunity to get a closer look at the processes of collecting and writing the stories. The book is published by MENE in cooperation with the Lithuanian Interdisciplinary Artists‘ Association (LIAA).

This is the third attempt (Volume I was published in 2011, Volume II in 2014) to compile a collection of stories about the genesis and development of contemporary art in Lithuania from the cold 1980s and the restoration of independence to the present day. The history unfolds in critical texts and first-hand accounts by art critics and artists – the artists, critics and curators who initiated the events and art happenings. The texts are richly complemented by visual testimonies – documentation of forty-two years of works. The book is captivating with subjective stories of artistic and curatorial Artist-run initiatives in various Lithuanian cities and abroad. The geography is very wide – one can travel from Ukmergė to New York, from Kaunas to Kartena, from Lentvaris to Alytus, from Narvaišiai to Klaipėda, or from Lenon’s Island to Jonava. The book not only holds the interviews of the usual contemporary art initiatives, but also interdisciplinary architectural SIKON activities or even politicised activists.

The original team of compilers of the third volume (Vytautas Michelkevičius and Kęstutis Šapoka) has been supplemented by the art historian Karolina Rybačiauskaitė, thus further expanding the list of artists’ names and themes. The positions of the compilers in the introductory text “Conversations Between the Editors” reveal the tensions not only in the Lithuanian art field, but also among the compilers themselves as they try to define what can still be considered an “independent initiative” and whether such initiatives are still possible. By interviewing artists or talking amongst themselves about what has been happening in the discourse of Lithuanian contemporary art, the compilers are creating narratives of living history.

This book contains a wide variety of text genres that not all art history books would necessarily accept. There are duels of terms (Lina Michelkevičė and Redas Diržys with Kęstutis Šapoka), as well as ornamented texts by artists (Artūras Raila’s “Orphans and Skulls, Mushrooms and Beehives, or the Rise of the Matriarchy in Lithuanian Live Art, 1998-2018”).

The idea for this series of publications was conceived in 2010, when the twentieth anniversary of independent Lithuania was being celebrated, and there was a need to look back, to reflect on the past years, and to start collecting first-hand accounts of artistic events – from the mouths of the enterprising artists themselves, as well as from the curators and art critics.

The book presentation talk will be moderated by an art historian Skaidra Trilupaitytė on 3 December at 7 p.m. and will be attended by artist Aistė Kisarauskaitė and the two book’s compilers Vytautas Michelkevičius and Karolina Rybačiauskaitė.

The program of the event at “Paviljonas” (Pylimo st. 21B, 01141, Vilnius):

Performative conversations about the book with the compilers and artists. | Saturday, 3 December, 7 p.m.

“(In)dependent Contemporary Art Histories. Artist-run Initiatives in Lithuania 1980–2022”.
(3rd volume, editors: Vytautas Michelkevičius, Karolina Rybačiauskaitė, Kęstutis Šapoka), LIAA & MENE, 2022
Participants: Vytautas Michelkevičius, Karolina Rybačiauskaitė, Aistė Kisarauskaitė.
Moderator: Skaidra Trilupaitytė.
More about the book and excerpts at:…/

Performances | Saturday, December 3, 8 p.m.

7:50 – 8:20 p.m. Audrius Šimkūnas loopENa
It’s that looped sound that remains when you close a forbidden book and blow out the candle.
loopENa is a dramatically grown and conjured up electric play for a couple of loopers, a geiger counter and a whispered ramaline.

8:20 – 9:00 p.m. Arma Agharta with Arnas Mikalkėnas. BEKELE
BEKELE is Arnas Mikalkėnas (electronic and acoustic percussion) and Arma Agharta (synths, electronics, voice).
The duo released their debut cassette this year and invite to a fusion ritual off-road walk.

Conversations with artists, curators and art critics

Česlovas Lukenskas, Rūta Drabavičiūtė-Lukenskienė, Ramūnas Paniulaitis, Arūnas Kulikauskas, Aleksas Andriuškevičius, Darius Čiuta, Redas Diržys, Sigitas Krutulys, Benas Šarka, Juozas Milašius, Audrius Šimkūnas, Armantas Gečiauskas-Arma Agharta, Vita Zaman, Mantas Kazakevičius, Tomas Danilevičius, Reda Aurylaitė, Rolandas Marčius, Skaistė Marčienė, Ignas Gleixner, Saulius Paukštys, Rytis Bartkus, Stasys Banifacius Ieva, Inesa Brašiškė, Gerda Paliušytė, Lina Rukevičiūtė, Laurynas Skeisgiela, Milda Dainovskytė, Justina Zubaitė, Tomas Lučiūnas, Simonas Nekrošius, Živilė Lukšytė, Marius Juknevičius, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė, Aistė Kisarauskaitė, Aistė Ulubey, Kristina Savickienė, Robertas Narkus, Evelina Šimkutė, Juozas Laivys, Lina Praudzinskaitė, Jurgita Žvinklytė, Tomas Karklinis, Laura Garbštienė, Elena Juzulėnaitė, Stanislovas Tomas, Gintaras Čaikauskas, Sabina Daugėlienė, Margarita Kaučikaitė, Matas Šiupšinskas, Šarūnas Petrauskas, Svetlana Šuvajeva, Ilja Budraitskis, Vytautas Michelkevičius, Kęstutis Šapoka, Karolina Rybačiauskaitė.

Texts by:

Lina Michelkevičė, Redas Diržys & Kęstutis Šapoka, Karolina Sadlauskaitė, Karolina Rybačiauskaitė, Jurij Dobriakov, Raimundas Eimontas, Laima Kreivytė, Artūras Raila

Publisher: MENE / LTMKS, Vilnius, 2022, 624 psl., in Lithuanian and English with index

Editors: Vytautas Michelkevičius, Karolina Rybačiauskaitė, Kęstutis Šapoka

Designer: Laura Grigaliūnaitė

Translators: Austėja Masliukaitė (conversations), Tomas Čiučelis (texts)

Lithuanian text editor: Dangė Vitkienė

Lithuanian text proofreader:  Asta Bartkevičiūtė

The project is funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture