In the photo above: Audrius Novickas, “Tricolour Sets”, 2005. Property of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania

Date and venue: May 10–11, 2018, National Gallery of Art Vilnius
Organiser: Institute of Art Research of Vilnius Academy of Arts

This conference takes place against a background of the Centennial of the restored Lithuania in 2018; yet its scope is not limited to any particular time period or place. It uses the occasion to rethink the conception of the state and the statehood in various eras, and to evaluate the role of arts in the state, their contribution to the development and embodiment of the idea of statehood, and arts’ input into changes of regimes and conceptions of the state.

The conference encourages researchers to approach the art history as a development of the discourse closely related to the development of the political sphere. This approach does not aim to question the autonomy of art and riddance of utilitarian burdens, but rather to discuss what political state allows art to create and maintain certain autonomy, and what restricts it by imposing particular functions, or the other way round, by pushing art to the periphery of political life. The conference raises questions, under what conditions art is only able to “mimic” life forms, and when it can take part in the political production as an important partner. When and why certain artworks seem to be political and other entirely apolitical? How can one talk about politics of aesthetics and about aesthetics of politics?

We also invite to discuss how political conditions shape the field of art and relations between its actors, what different roles the artist takes in the state, how art structures relate to structures of the state. Another intriguing issue here are the “lives” of artworks: shifts in their status and reading, their destinies after political overturns, losses and returns. And ultimately, reverberations of state ideologies and power games in works of art, whether commissioned by the state, or born as an independent critique of it.


Conference committee:
• Dr. Tojana Raciunaite (Institute of Art Research at Vilnius Academy of Arts)
• Dr. Lina Michelkevice (Institute of Art Research at Vilnius Academy of Arts)
• Assoc. prof. dr. Lolita Jablonskiene (National Gallery of Art Vilnius & Vilnius Academy of Arts)
• Dr. Skaidra Trilupaityte (Lithuanian Culture Research Institute)
• Prof. dr. Krista Kodres (Tallinn University & Estonian Academy of Arts)
• Dr. Ginta Gerharde-Upeniece (Latvian National Museum of Art & Art Academy of Latvia)
• Dr. Magdalena Kinga Gorska (Institute of Literary Research at Polish Academy of Sciences

Coordinators: Lina Michelkevice, Ieva Pleikiene, Ausra Trakselyte
Partner: National Gallery of Art Vilnius
Supported by: Goethe-Institut Litauen, Lithuanian Society of Art Historians