Lithuania in the News
26th May 2019
Lithuania Triumphs at the 58th Venice Biennale As Recipient of the Top Prize, the “Golden Lion”
Lina Lapelytė, Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė and Vaiva Grainytė
holding the ‘Golden Lion’ for the best National Pavilion
in the Venice Biennale. Photo courtesy
Photo by Irmantas Gelūnas
Earlier this month at the world’s most prestigious exhibition for contemporary art, the 58th Venice Biennale, Lithuania’s Pavilion vowed both art critics and the public. Lithuania won the main prize, the “Golden Lion” for the Best National Pavilion, beating 89 other national pavilions, with a contemporary opera/ art performance - “Sun & Sea (Marina)” - created by Lithuanian young women artists Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė and Lina Lapelytė.
This represents a major international triumph for Lithuanian art.
The International Jury, in giving the “Golden Lion” to Lithuania, said it was “for the experimental spirit of the Pavilion and its unexpected treatment of national representation. The jury was impressed with the inventive use of the venue to present a Brechtian opera as well as the Pavilion’s engagement with the city of Venice and its inhabitants. Sun & Sea (Marina) is a critique of leisure and of our times as sung by a cast of performers and volunteers portraying everyday people”.
The Venice Biennale was opened on May 11, 2019. Lithuania’s opera/ art performance will be staged every Saturday until Biennale’s closure in 6 months time. During the performance singers sing about climate change, ecological issues and the fragility of life,
The ‘Golden Lion’. Photo courtesy Photo by Irmantas Gelūnas
lurching from one holiday to another. At the same time, the audience can observe people relaxing on a day out to the sea shore, carrying on with the everyday normal things that people do on a beach.
Prestigious art publications such as “Frieze” and the “Art Newspaper”, even before the exhibition opened, heaped praise on Lithuania’s Pavilion. Rumours about Lithuania’s outstanding pavilion went from mouth to mouth, so that huge queues greeted its opening. “Performances such as this are diamonds, the most delicate art form” – proclaimed the Italian press.
This win signifies that art in Lithuania has achieved high status in the art world. During the presentation of the award, Lithuania’s Minister of Culture, Mindaugas Kvietkauskas ecstatically proclaimed, that it means that contemporary art in Lithuania is recognised internationally as outstanding. He pointed out that Lithuania “has been the first to be recognised among the Baltic countries and our whole region”.

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