On Saturday, Biennale President Paolo Baratta announced the winners of the Golden and Silver Lions. One of the categories was for Best National Presentation, which went to Christopher Schlingensief’s posthumous German pavilion, but the judges gave an honorable mention to the Lithuanian pavilion. According to Baratta’s statement, their reason was “its conceptually elegant, and productively ambiguous framing of a nation’s art history.” Art Observed was on site for the performative installation.
Exterior of the pavilion, image courtesy e-flux.
More text and images after the jump…
Central to this year’s pavilion was a hot debate about how state funding for artists should and could be used, and what kind of visual traces it leaves. It is a topic familiar to many contemporary artists who survive due to support from grants and stipends; artist Darius Mikšys wanted to explore Lithuania’s particular solution to this issue. In the exhibition, he asks important questions: Because Lithuania provides prizes and grants to artists for their continuing practice, should the state be understood as the curator? Should the exhibition be understood as symbolic, as an exhibition without walls? Are governments responsible for the transmission of cultural products? What would this kind of exhibition look like?
As a solution, Darius Mikšys (b.1969, Kaunas) created Behind the White Curtain, a meeting, salon, and exhibition of 173 artworks by artists who have received the State Grant from Lithuania’s Ministry of Culture over the last two decades (1992–2010).
– J. Lindblad