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Kaunas art biennale TEXTILE 05 is already the fifth international textile art event that reanimates this Lithuanian city famous in the past for its industrial textile traditions. Every two years almost all exhibition spaces in Kaunas are joined together into one fabric by the uproar of textile patterns. This year’s exhibition TEXTILE 05 presents artworks of 172 artists from 34 countries. This time they come from all five continents of the world. The idea of the exhibition – open invitation – determined a diverse exposition. Respectable and competent members of the jury were invited not to select participants, but to announce winners and prizemen.    

This year we abandoned the idea to have a theme name for the biennale that used to determine a certain direction of all works, but the invited artists were not left without a guide. Ideologically the exhibition TEXTILE 05 is divided into three categories that are defined by the words PLACE, TECHNOLOGY, and CONCEPTION.

The definition PLACE invited artists who aim to reveal the peculiarities of the dialogue between a work of textile and a specific space, to analyze the dependence of an artistic idea and plastic expression on the relation with a specific site. Since most of textile works from this category were created and installed in a certain architectural space or a public place, it was suggested that the participants send in large-scale photographs that would reveal the harmony of the textile work and the specific site.


TECHNOLOGY is one of the factors of textile identity in the context of contemporary art. The main question raised by artists in this category is this: how does technology influence textile art, and how is technology influenced by the art of textile? In this category probably for the first time in the Kaunas biennale works of textile design carried out with the help of the highest world standard industrial means – works of Lia Cook, Cynthia Shira, Junco Sato Pollack, Reiko Sudo, etc. – next to pieces realized with unique innovative techniques are exhibited.


The works in the CONCEPTION category have to do with the conceptual use of textile materials or techniques and expression of meaning using archetypal, tactile or structural textile connotations. There are quite many great examples of this category in the exhibition, that link textile (one of the first factors of human as well as artistic activity) with the phenomenon of human existence by the means and ways of contemporary art. There are many pieces in the international exposition where artists link the essence of their works with ethnic tradition or search for the identity of a personality and for a private space that was accented by textile from the primeval times. Social and political problems are emphasized, and many authors debate on subjects of masculinity / femininity.


The Kaunas art biennale TEXTILE 05 is made up of two parts. Next to traditional exposition of open invitation (145 artists from 30 countries that are evaluated by a jury in three categories), for the first time we present a curatorial exhibition of the most prominent world textile artists. The collection (artworks of 27 artists) was gathered by foreign curators that are concurrent with the pulse of contemporary textile. The curators chose authors and pieces also according to the categories PLACE, TECHNOLOGY and CONCEPTION formulated by the organisers of the exhibition.

The collection of European artists was presented by Silja Puranen, a textile artist and the president of the TEXO organisation (Finland), the winner of the last Kaunas textile biennale “The good and the wrong sides” (2003). The head of the Kyoto international contemporary textile art centre Keiko Kawashima took care of the Japanese collection. A well-known textile artist from the USA Jon Eric Riis gathered an artistic collection from his country. The mentioned collection is a reflector and reflex of a very wide spectre of contemporary textile. The curators set down their motives for choosing and selection criteria in the introductory articles of the catalogue.  

The main idea of the Kaunas art biennale TEXTILE 05 is the attempt to analyse the expression means and potential of contemporary textile art. This exhibition seeks to disclose the power of site specifics that forms textile, artistic solutions of the creation and usage of new technologies, and search for conceptualism in textile material and plasticity. The categories of SPACE, TECHNOLOGY and CONCEPTION became the key for the decisions of curators and jury members of this exhibition. We hope they will also become the key in the visitors’ evaluations.


Virginija Vitkienė

Organiser of the exhibition