12th Kaunas Biennial | June-September 2019


dji_0006-00_05_52_14-still007-2Traveling used to be romanticised. A long journey used to be compared to the symbolic journey through life. There are numerous proverbs about journeys and traveling, both in the physical and spiritual senses. It is said that a journey is an antidote to prejudice, blind attachments, and narrow-mindedness. That the aim of traveling is to reshape your imagination after the reality you have seen. There is a Chinese proverb that a good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.

Not only is traveling romanticised. There are people who travel to discover themselves and the Other. There are people who run away from death and violence. This is how it has been since the beginning of time. During your journey, you can discover endless goodness of people, but you may also be forced to experience their blind cruelty. We learn about it from the history and memory, myths and legends. The process of traveling is inseparable from the unknown and the dangers waiting ahead. However, every piece of news about a disaster and about an arrival that is not going to happen, turns the lives of people upside down, makes them lose balance and exposes them to the fact that today’s world (and its secular person) does not want to acknowledge that the journey of all of us has just one direction…

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NETWORKED ENCOUNTERS publication series – 4 BOOKS

By the end of project NETWORKED ENCOUNTERS (2015- 2016) co-funded by EU Creative Europe, the partners Kaunas Biennial, LAB 582, Crafts Council and Arte&Arte are happy to share with you all 4 publications online. Paper books are also available via e-mail order. 


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THERE AND NOT THERE: 11th Kaunas Biennial

(Im)possibility of a monument

11th Kaunas Biennial
15th September – 30th November 2017

When Lithuania broke free from the rule of the Soviet Union a quarter of the century ago, it quickly got rid of all the monuments and sculptures that had anything to do with the communist ideology or Soviet occupation. Then, with the same hastiness, we rebuilt most of the national monuments that the Soviets had destroyed, and erected some new ones, yet of the same pre-WWII style and content. Read more

Curator of 11th Kaunas Biennial announced

Paulina_Pukyte3©Anton_LukoszeviezeWe are proud to announce a curator of 11th Kaunas Biennial Paulina Pukyte! Biennial will be held in autumn 2017.

Paulina Pukyte is an artist, writer, essayist, and cultural commentator. She lives and works in London and Vilnius. She holds a postgrad from the Vilnius Academy of Art, and a Master’s degree from the Royal College of Art in London. In 2001- 2003 and 2006 she was a guest lecturer at the Vilnius Academy of Art Kaunas Art Institute. She writes for the cultural weekly 7 meno dienos (7 Days of Art), and contributes to other publications in Lithuania; she has received Lithuanian Ministry of Culture award for her articles. She has published a collection of essays Netikras zuikis (Fake Rabbit), two fiction books: Jų papročiai (Their Habits), and Bedalis ir labdarys (A Loser And A Do-gooder), and a play Žuvies akys (Fish Eyes). A theatre production of Bedalis ir labdarys premiered at the Vilnius Small Theatre in November 2015. Extracts from this tragicomic book of dialogues and monologues are included in the anthology of Best European Fiction 2016, published by Dalkey Archive Press. In her visual art practice Paulina Pukyte uses site-specific installations, moving image, and found artefacts, twisting familiar meanings, subverting stereotypes, and questioning accustomed truths, always remaining in artistic opposition to the dominant or institutional discourse. More about curator

In her proposed concept for 11th Kaunas Biennial Paulina Pukyte invites artists and citizens to reflect the notion of monument and its relation to person, community, city. Concept of 11th Kaunas Biennial

The educational programme Know, Learn, Create and Join

“Plaukuota burna” Pailikono teatras ir grupė CHUI. Foto: Remio Ščerbausko

“Plaukuota burna” Pailikono teatras ir grupė CHUI. Foto: Remio Ščerbausko

The educational programme Know, Learn, Create and Join in for the 10th edition of Kaunas Biennial invites art professionals, students and young people, children, families, the elderly and everyone interested or wanting to know more about contemporary art to a variety of events. The programme consists of four main parts:

KNOW – art and architecture historian and critic, musician and journalist-led curated tours around the Biennial exhibitions and non-museum based installations in [post]industrial sites.

LEARN – a programme of school lessons (physics, chemistry, geography, mathematics, music, drama, etc.) taught at Biennial venues by our team of educators.

CREATE – fun and creative family-friendly weekend activities at the Kaunas central post office exhibition led by artists.

JOIN IN – a special programme of curated workshops and seminars designed for people with special needs is delivered in accordance with Lithuanian museum educators.

The programme of events is announced and regularly updated on Kaunas Biennial website. All of the events are in Lithuanian, although visitors from abroad are also welcome to join in.

For more information please contact Neringa Stoškutė (by e-mail: or tel.: +37062998182)

Visitor Information

From Agora to Syntagma

From Agora to Syntagma

Venues and opening hours

Kaunas Central Post Office
Address: Laisvės a. 102, Kaunas LT 44001 (II – VI levels)
Working hours: Tue-Sun 11 am – 7 pm
Principal exhibition Threads: A Fantasmagoria about Distance (Curated by Nicolas Bourriaud) Read more

Kaunas Biennial starts from Nicolas Bourriaud exhibition THREADS: A FANTASMAGORIA ABOUT DISTANCE

Nicolas Bourriaud


“Telegraph and telephone destroy the cosmos. Mythical and symbolic thinking strive to form spiritual bonds between humanity and the surrounding world, shaping distance into the space required for devotion and reflection: the distance undone by the instantaneous electric connection.”  Aby Warburg Threads-A3

Fantasmagory, both as a technique and an ideology of the image, could be the forgotten historical model for today’s art practices: the way artists embroider stories in a mixture of fictions and social reality, inhabiting the interstices between the real, the illusion, the image and its interpretations, seems to connect to the ambitions of the 18th century’s ‘fantasmagorists’ — their will to include the viewer into total environments that recall our installations, the way they combined scientific ambitions, esoteric knowledge and spectacular practice.

Already at the end of the eighteenth century, Philidor and Robertson, the first ‘fantasmagores’, share some traits with contemporary artists: between enlightment and entertainment, science and magic, painting and theatre, prestidigitation and political issues (Robespierre and Danton were among the revolutionary figures invocated by Robertson in his spectacles), they appear as prototypes for the contemporary artist…  Contemporary to the fantasmagories was the invention of telegraphy (from the greek word tele, far and graphein, write), the long-distance transmission of written messages without physical transport of letters. A semaphore network was invented by Claude Chappe in France, which operated from 1792 through 1846; an electrical telegraph was independently developed in the United States in 1837 by Samuel Morse. 

Threads’ ambitions are both to approach the form of fantasmagoria and to address the way today’s artists include the notion of distance in their works: in a globalized and digitalized world, how does art deal with transportation, real time communication? What is the current shape of the presence/absence dialectics? How do artists present absent realities? “Move bits, not atoms”, said the web activist Nicholas Negroponte in the 1990s.

As a metaphor, Threads also stresses the parallels between today’s art and the spectacle of fantasmagory, focusing on the similarities with this proto-movie theatre both in terms of techniques and intellectual issues, and leads the way to another possible history of art, where feature films and installations would share a common ancestor.

By doing so, it alludes to the spectral as an emerging mode of visualisation anchored in internet culture: furtive apparitions, gaseous, infra-thin or filigree-like images, pseudo-telepathy, ventriloquy or magnetic phenomena are part of a new culture of the visible aiming to reconcile science and poetry, technology and image analysis, but in a production context dominated by digital tools.

Based on this link between science, poetry and spiritualism, Threads is an exhibition about art as a system that connects itself to a different time and/or space.  The artwork as a telegraphic device, entering into contact with something happening somewhere else, in another realm, world, place or times…

Artists of the exhibition: Saâdane Afif, Arnas Anskaitis, Hicham Berrada, Walead Beshty, Roberto Cabot, Attila Csorgo, Bronė Sofija Gideikaitė, Liam Gillick, Lothar Hempel, Carsten Höller, Katja Novitskova, Pakui Hardware (Černiauskaite Neringa & Ugnius Gelguda), Katie Paterson, Amalia Ulman, Julijonas Urbonas, Kelley Walker, Darius Žiūra.  


 Attila Csorgo. CLOCK – WORK, 2011-2015. Curated by Nicolas Bourriaud


Under the patronage of H.E. Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Kaunas Biennial, the biggest contemporary art festival in the Baltic States, will begin its 10th season on September 18th with the exhibition Threads: Fantasmagoria about Distance, curated by the well-known art theorist and curator Nicolas Bourriaud.

For the celebratory season the organisers of the Biennial chose to focus on the topic of contemporary communication and direct the programme towards provoking live encounters and networking. This year the festival will present over 80 contemporary artists from the world round and will focus on collaborations between visual and sound artists. The programme of the festival will spread out to the main galleries as well as public and industrial spaces. Read more


September 18 
6 pm Grand Opening of Kaunas Biennial  

Kaunas Central Post Office (Laisvės a. 102, Kaunas)

Opening of exhibition Threads: A Fantasmagoria about Distance, curated by Nicolas Bourriaud. Artists: Saâdane Afif, Arnas Anskaitis, Hicham Berrada, Walead Beshty, Roberto Cabot, Attila Csörgő, Bronė Sofija Gideikaitė, Liam Gillick, Lothar Hempel, Carsten Höller, Katja Novitskova, Pakui Hardware (Neringa Černiauskaitė & Ugnius Gelguda), Katie Paterson, Amalia Ulman, Julijonas Urbonas, Kelley Walker, Darius Žiūra

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Meeting with Nicolas Bourriaud in Kaunas

Susitikimas su Nicolas BourriaudOn 5th January 2015 a press conference (for invited culture, arts and media representatives) was held in Kaunas (Lithuania) during which the curator, Nicolas Bourriaud, of the celebratory 10th Kaunas Biennial was introduced. The biennial is planned to take place from 18th September – 31st December 2015 at the M. K. Čiurlionis National Museum of Art. It is symbolic that the new Nicolas Bourriaud’s curatorial stop – Kaunas – was announced a day after the closing of his latest curatorial project the Taipei Biennial.

N. Bourriaud will curate the principal exhibition of the Biennial entitled “Threads: A Phantasmagoria about Distance”, in which the artists from all over the world will present their works. By placing emphasis on the new forms of communication the curator aims to highlight the notion of distance [currently a particularly relative concept]. The curator has taken the inspiration for the exhibition theme from the extremely popular theatrical phenomenon of the 19th century – phantasmagoria, a certain kind of cinema, and as N. Bourriaud explains, the predecessor of artistic installations:Nicolas Bourriaud:  Read more