Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, celebrates its 700th anniversary this year

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The 700th anniversary program is moving fast in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, welcoming residents and visitors to explore many cultural, artistic, educational and musical events.

A major exhibit at the MO Museum of Modern Art

To celebrate this special year, the MO Museum of Modern Art will open a new major exhibition on April 22, Vilnius Poker, which will be one of the highlights of the anniversary year.

The MO Museum, designed by one of the world’s most renowned architects, Daniel Libeskind and a work of contemporary art himself, won the Portimão Museum Award as the most welcoming and user-friendly museum in Europe and was nominated for the Leading Culture Destinations, aka Museum Oscars.

When launching the immersive exhibition, it will invite art lovers to experience layers of Vilnius through sound, images and text. Beginning at the end of the Soviet era, the exhibition reflects on the later periods important for the transformation of the city, divulging the subjects that were relevant both in the 1980s and today: a conscious existence, a freedom to think critically and creatively, a struggle for intrinsic human rights. and values. Passing through Vilnius on different time scales will invite visitors to explore the national and cultural identities of the city, and how it has evolved into a modern cosmopolis.

The concept of the exhibition was entrusted to director Oskaras Koršunovas, one of the most prominent theater directors in Lithuania, whose work is well known to European audiences. A multidisciplinary team was called upon to bring the concept of the exhibition to life and invite visitors to immerse themselves in the key themes of Vilnius’ history: freedom, memory, identity and multiculturalism: a scenographer Gintaras Makarevičius, the critics of art Dovilė Barcytė and Algė Gudaitytė, a composer Antanas Jasenka, a light artist Eugenijus Sabaliauskas and a designer Liudas Parulskis. Combining art, film, literature and music, the team invites visitors to reflect on what kind of character Vilnius is today and what character it will be in the future.

The works of art by Lithuanian artists presented in the exhibition will cover the period from the 1960s to the present, illustrating the evergreen ideas of freedom, contemplation, individuality and the perpetual struggle against metaphysical evil.

A novel depicts Vilnius before the fall of the Soviet Union

The exhibition revolves around one of the most significant texts in Lithuania of the last decades and a central point in the construction of the myth of Vilnius, the novel Vilnius Poker by Ričardas Gavelis, published in 1989. After its publication , the novel has become a symbol of breaking free from the Soviet era and achieving creative freedom. The author deconstructed Soviet reality, choosing sharp angles to discuss jazz, architecture, the arts, citizen anthropology and multiculturalism.

“The novel depicts Vilnius as a complex, chaotic and dreamlike city, with nothing specific or real. This was the starting point for the creation of the exhibition, conceived as a universal tale, not limited to a place or time. Vilnius Poker at the MO Museum is an experience for each viewer’s self-reflection in relation to history, memory, identity, time and place of existence,” said Milda Ivanauskienė, Director of MO Museum. .

According to Koršunovas, the different exhibition spaces guide the visitor through a metaphorical Vilnius.

“We walk through the exhibition like a labyrinth and have the freedom of a broad interpretation of the novel, so we chose artists who would not illustrate the spaces, but interpret them”, commented the director.

The Vilnius Poker Expo will be open throughout the anniversary year, from April 22, 2023 to January 28, 2024.

Catherine Mills Avatar