Teitelbaumas. Vienatvė. 2002, aliejus, drobė, 120 x 100
Catalogue and Display
Catalogue is nowadays
a primary means of documenting and recording an exhibition. In order
to establish their position, the key art institutions publish catalogues
and other art books.
Catalogues reflect current tendencies in curated exhibitions and mirror
existing types of exhibitions. Texts published in catalogues appear
to be either a parallel project, which augments the display, or a different
from curators viewpoint on the event. An exhibition lacking a
catalogue is almost like an incomplete work, therefore a catalogue can
be interpreted like the last, summarizing exhibit.
The first good quality catalogues accompanied all annual exhibitions
of the Soros Contemporary Art Center. The past decade saw interesting
catalogues published for all major exhibitions set up by the Contemporary
Art Center. Catalogues-monographs of individual artists and the series
of small books Contemporary Lithuanian Artists, renewed in 2001
by the Lithuanian Artists Association, represent a different type
of publications on art.
One can easily reconstruct these exhibitions-projects that were recorded
in catalogues. The first conceptual exhibitions of the late 1980s revived
the artistic process from stagnation. Curators revisited and "reconstructed"
the image of Lithuanian art at the turn of the 20th century. The revolutionary
exhibitions, curated by the art critics Raminta Jurėnaitė,
Alfonsas Andriuškevičius, Rasa Andriušytė, Elona
Lubytė and others, have acquired almost a mythical aura. Yet the
breakthrough role of these events is almost understated by their thin,
black and white catalogues.
In spite of the fact that conceptual shows and international projects
have been growing in scale and popularity, not a single type of traditional
exhibitions has become obsolete. Even overview exhibition has survived
the scathing criticism to persist into the next decade.
The 1999 exhibition by the Contemporary Art Center Lithuanian Art
in 1989 1999 pursued an ambitious goal to show the art of the
decade as "a dynamic process of change". Most of the invited
artists exhibited their signature works. The catalogue, featuring numerous
art critics, attempted to reflect the shifts in Lithuanian art over
the decade. Both the display and the catalogue stressed the leading
Contemporary Art Centers role in the evolution of artistic ideas.
As a reaction to the 1999 event, in 2000 the Lithuanian Artists
Association initiated another major overview exhibition Tradition
and the Future. It focused on works in traditional mediums and demonstrated
a disappearing division line between fine and applied arts.
Recently we have seen independently published collections of Lithuanian
art coming out of press versus catalogues of actual exhibitions. The
book 100 of Contemporary Lithuanian Artists (2001) crowned ten
years of activity by the Soros Contemporary Art Center (now Contemporary
Art Information Center). This "collection" introduced several
generations of selected artists and their works. In its nature it reminds
curated exhibitions by offering a vision of contemporary Lithuanian
art. The representational album published by the Lithuanian Artists
Association in 2002 has a structure based on traditional separation
into genres and branches of art. Both publications aspire to offer the
collection of "the best".
The key art institutions keep on searching for different ways to lend
more significance to their activity. The 8th Baltic triennial of international
art is unprecedented size-wise. The LAA has gathered the courage to
revive the tradition of overview exhibitions. Most exhibitions routinely
focus on recent past and their task is to probe for important processes
and to discover artists and their works. Catalogues will do the conservation