The grand opening of the 10th Kaunas Biennial
Kaunas Central Post building - main exhibition venue
Curated by Nicolas Bourriaud
Installation by Lothar Hempel
Curated by Nicolas Bourriaud
Katja Novitskova. Pattern of Activation (On Mars).
Curated by Nicolas Bourriaud
Networked on ... Mars. Katja Novitskova. Pattern of Activation (On Mars). Live broadcast.
Curated by Nicolas Bourriaud
M. Žilinskas Art Gallery. Performance by PERPETUUM MOBILE, choir of A.Kačanauskas music shool
Audrius Janušonis. Iš ciklo / KAUNO POETAMS / From the cycle HOMAGE TO KAUNAS‘ POETS. 2015
M. Žilinskas Art Gallery
Opening moments
Opening moments - NETWORKING
Mattia Vacca personal exhibition
Kaunas Picture gallery
James Bulley TACTUS
M. Žilinskas Art Gallery
From Agora to Syntagma. LAB852
[Post]factory Drobė
Psilicone Theatre and CHUI performance
Dirbtinis pluoštas factory
Psilicone Theatre and CHUI performance
Dirbtinis pluoštas factory
Bronė Sofija Gideikaitė. The Trip / Kelionė
Curated by Nicolas Bourriaud
Arnas Anskaitis. Traveller / Keliautojas
Curated by Nicolas Bourriaud
Roberto Cabot. Kaunas Aleph
Curated by Nicolas Bourriaud
It is all for you. Come and visit us at 6 venues

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

NICOLAS BOURRIAUD – the curator of anniversary Kaunas Biennial

virginija_vitkiene_nicolas_bourriaud_at_his_director_officeKaunas Bienial Board is glad to announce Nicolas Bourriaud as the curator of 10th Kaunas Biennial, which will take place through September – December, 2015 in Kaunas (Lithuania).

Nicolas Bourriaud, born in 1965, is the Director of the Ecole Nationale des Beaux-arts de Paris since December 2011. Before heading the Studies Department at The Ministry of Culture in France, he was Gulbenkian Curator for Contemporary Art at Tate Britain in London (2007/ 2010) and advisor for the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in Kiev. He also founded and codirected the Palais de Tokyo, Paris, between 1999 and 2006.

As a curator, he recently organised Estratos in Murcia (2008), Altermodern at Tate Britain, London (2009) and The Great Acceleration (Taipei Biennial 2014).He published well known and broadly discussed theoretical essays, including Relational Aesthetics (1998), Postproduction (2002) and Radicant (2009). Read more