Museum is a project by Dainius Liškevičius deconstructing the myths of Lithuanian art history that gained ground during the period of Soviet occupation. A black box installed in the white space of the National Gallery of Art in 2012 became a ‘kick in the teeth’ to the former Museum of the Revolution. Inside the box, the ‘great narrative’ of communism was subverted by an illogical story about three ambiguous revolutionary personalities: Antanas Kraujelis, Romas Kalanta and Bronius Maigis. In their acts of protest, the artist has grasped the seeds of avant-garde art forms prohibited then: underground, performance and art destruction. Historical events, contemporary knowledge about art and memory captured within things have interwoven in the creator’s imagination, which was influenced by the cultural environment of the time. By transferring everything into the Museum, the artist invites us to reflect on the functions of the institution in charge of creating collective memory, the significance of personalities in history, the effect of images on self-consciousness and the fluidity of art’s boundaries.
Although the exposition has been dismantled, it lives on. This book contains things, publications, works of art, photographs and other documents from the Soviet period collected by the artist. They remind us of that complex time. We can feel the creative power of culture that has produced those artefacts, but we cannot avoid irony. It cracks a gap inside which we can glimpse a glimmer of hope: maybe after a walk around the museum of changed memory it would become easier to endure our extraordinary present?
Agnė Narušytė (co-editor of the book)
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