at Improper Walls gallery space*
*the conference will be recorded
11th Of April
7 PM talk by organizers
7:30 PM opening evening and drinks
12th Of April
4 – 7:30 PM presentations & discussion
The aim of the BAL project kickoff conference is to research the development of art and culture in the Baltics and the Balkans regions after the end of the respectively socialistic regimes in both regions and establish a network between art and culture institutions.
By signifying the importance of the high influence from the west and the deformation of the eastern European art and culture tradition and heritage, establishing such a network cultivates an intercultural dialogue and accelerates the exchange of good practices in the discourse of East and West Europe’s art and culture intersection*relation.
Ugnė Paberžytė is a curator and museologist based in Vilnius, Lithuania. In 2017 she joined MO Museum, a private institution that holds one of the largest collections of modern and contemporary Lithuanian art. Ugnė is part of the museum’s core team responsible for the strategic development of the collection, exhibition program and publishing. Most recently she curated exhibitions BAXT reflecting on the situation of the Roma community in Lithuania and Celebrate for Change exploring the depictions of various celebrations in Lithuanian photography from the 1930s to today.
Lithuanian Art Scene 1990-2022
During the last thirty years the Lithuanian art scene has undergone significant changes. Regaining independence in 1990 finally allowed artists to freely explore conceptual art forms that were officially banned in the Soviet Union. The 1990s were marked by the establishment of new public art institutions and alternative artist-run organizations. Lithuania joined the EU in 2004 which significantly eased the access to the global art market and funding opportunities. This prompted the creation of private galleries, collections and the largest art fair in the Baltic states, ArtVilnius. The past five years have seen the revival of the museum scene with a significant turn towards audience engagement and empowerment.
Branislav Dimitrijević is Professor of History and Theory of Art at the College of Art and Design in Belgrade. He teaches and writes internationally on art and culture of socialist Yugoslavia; avant-garde art, contemporary art and exhibition histories. His books include: Consumed Socialism – Culture, Consumerism and Social Imagination in Yugoslavia, 1950-1974 (2016), Dušan Makavejev’ s Sweet Movie (2017), Against Art – Goran Djordjević, 1979-1985 (2014), On Normality: Art in Serbia 1989-2001 (2005), and others. Since the mid-1990s he has been active as a contemporary art curator primarily interested in exploring site-specificity and context-specificity. His curatorial projects include Good Life (Geozavod, Belgrade, 2012, w. M. Hannula) and No Network (2011), the first edition of the Time Machine Biennial in the nuclear bunker in Konjic.
The demise of the socialist bloc in 1989 brought about an optimistic social imagination stimulated by the liberal ideological rhetoric of freedom, democratisation, normalisation and westernisation. However, already the war in Yugoslavia of the 1990s announced an entirely different world, that of violent and clientelist privatisation, nationalism and autocracy that are characteristic of the so-called “illiberal capitalism” of today. A brief retrospection of tendencies in contemporary art in the Balkans in the last 30 years could illustrate this shift from optimism, to fake optimism and finally to pessimism in social imagination and the role of art in the construction of this imagination.
Jelena Đureinović is a historian interested in memory politics and cultures in the 20th century, with a particular focus on Yugoslavia and the post-Yugoslav space. She works as a postdoctoral researcher and scientific coordinator at the Research Platform for the Study of Transformations and Eastern Europe at the University of Vienna. She holds a PhD in History from Justus Liebig University in Giessen. Her book The Politics of Memory of the Second World War in Contemporary Serbia: Collaboration, Resistance and Retribution was published with Routledge in 2020.
Memory in Yugoslavia and the Post-Yugoslav Space: Between (Post-)Socialism, Nationalism and Populism
The talk will focus on the memory in Yugoslavia in the post-Yugoslav space, providing a historical and socio-political perspective on the subject. The (post-)Yugoslav memory cultures and politics will be placed in the more general conceptual frameworks of the notion of memory. The talk will bring the post-Yugoslav space into connection with the broader context of post-socialism.
Arvydas Grišinas is a researcher at Kaunas University of Technology and the author of “Politics with a Human Face: Identity and Experience in Post-Soviet Europe” (Routledge, 2019). He has been a Post-doctoral researcher at Yale and a Visiting Researcher at Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen Wien. His interests combine Visual Culture, Political and Anthropological research in the context of Post-Soviet Europe.
The talk discusses the emergence, meaning and function of specific political images in post-Soviet Lithuania. From a national flag, to notions of “self” and “the other”, to the narratives of struggle, independence and heritage, the post-Soviet political culture is filled with symbols, images and narratives that constitute the intuitive direction of politics itself. It is through understanding this intuitive language of images, myths and representations that we can also better understand the deeper processes behind the Lithuanian post-Soviet transformation.
Justina Špeirokaitė, Miloš Vučićević, Urtė Špeirokaitė, Julija Karimžanova
Stadt Wien & Lithuanian Council for Culture