On Thursday, 9 September, the sound of kanklės, a Lithuanian plucked string instrument (chordophone) echoed through the spaces of the impressive modern and contemporary art museum in Munich Haus der Kunst. The four musicians of the Lietuva ensemble at the heart of the show Ladies by the artist Lina Lapelytė opened the season of the most influential art institution in the Bavarian capital and simultaneously the autumn events of the Lithuanian culture season Without Distance: Lithuanian Culture in Bavaria 2021.
The evening of performances by Lina Lapelytė at the Haus der Kunst was presented by the 2016 Ladies, the 2017 Pirouette and her latest work, Instructions for the Woodcutters, first performed at Riga International Biennial of Contemporary Art last year.
The performances were watched by the maximum possible number of spectators in accordance with the current regulations – about 150 people (all Covid pass and vaccination certificate holders and wearing mandatory masks). The flow of spectators was regulated by the museum staff, and there were many directional arrows on the floors and walls. Dozens of friends of the Haus der Kunst – financial sponsors and members of the board of the museum – who were invited to the opening of the new season joined the audience.
Lapelytė’s pieces launched the three-day series of Lithuanian performances Atmospherics, which was continued by Arturas Bumšteinas’ baroque theatre noise machine performance Navigations (producer Operomania) on 10 September and by the duo Eye Gymnastics (Gailė Griciūtė and Viktorija Damerell) with their show Nothing Supernatural on 11 September.
In the meeting with the audience after Lapelytė’s performances, Damian Lentini, the curator of the Atmospherics programme, said that he was impressed by the common feature of all Lithuanian performers’ teams: deep concentration, cooperation and openness to co-creation. Lentini was fascinated by how Lithuanian artists helped each other in the preparation process and the fact that both Lapelytė and Eye Gymnastics included performers from Munich in their works. According to Lapelytė, she likens joint work to performing musical improvisation: “When there are no scores, we have to listen to each other closely in order to succeed. I think that nowadays it is particularly important: to listen to each other,” the artist shared.
The audience was also enchanted by other ideas, encoded in short performances and conveyed clearly and concisely: the role of women in society and in the hierarchy of the traditional, established art world; the image of the artist and monotony, mechanics, endurance and physical pain; the idealisation of traditional work and craft, and the environmental challenges of today.
By presenting the programme of Lithuanian performances, the Haus der Kunst museum participated for the first time in the gallery weekend in Munich entitled Various Others that took place on 9-12 September. The programme of the event, which connected many galleries, included another highlight of the Lithuanian cultural season in Bavaria Without Distance, Andrej Polukord – Galerie Uberall, which appeared in the Kunstareal Museum Quarter in central Munich on 12 September.
Lithuanian cultural events in Bavaria will continue throughout autumn
Two more events of the season of Lithuanian culture in Bavaria are going to take place in Munich in September: an evening of Lithuanian literature with Rimantas Kmita and Rasa Aškinyte at the prestigious Literaturhaus München (Munich’s House of Literature) and the Lithuanian Jazz Weekend at the legendary jazz club Unterfahrt, featuring Brave Noises, Dmitrij Golovanov and Viktorija Gečytė with the band.
An exhibition of the painter Patricija Jurkšaitytė will be opened at the Neue Galerie im Höhmannhaus in Augsburg in October, and an evening of contemporary Lithuanian poetry with Aušra Kaziliūnaitė, Giedrė Kazlauskaitė, Marius Burokas and Tomas Venclova will take place at the Munich poetry library Lyrik Kabinett. Arturas Bumšteinas will present his new piece at the media art festival LAB30 in Augsburg. The Nuremberg Pop Festival will feature live streams of performances by the Lithuanian bands shishi, Afrodelic, Timid Kooky and Junior A. The programme of the Lithuanian cultural season in Bavaria also includes the residence of playwright Birutė Kapustinskaitė at the Residenz Theatre in Munich.
For three days in November, the final events of the Lithuanian cultural season will take place at the Blaibach Concert Hall. The contemporary music ensemble Synaesthesis, which has won the prestigious Bavarian Prize, the special Ernst von Siemens ensemble prize, will perform the Lithuanian composer Žibuoklė Martinaitytė’s piece The Hadal Zone, which the composer was writing while residing in Blaibach this summer.
In the lobby of the Blaibach Concert Hall, the exhibition Ancient Woods by G. Česonis will be opened. For this show, the photographer captured the oldest trees in the forests of Kaunas vicinity and during his summer residence in Blaibach, following his vision of the impenetrable forests that once connected Lithuania and Bavaria. The Lithuanian chamber choir Aidija will compare Lithuanian and German choral culture, and in another event, accordionist Martynas Levickis will perform a programme of a wide stylistic range.
The project Without Distance: Lithuanian Cultural Season in Bavaria 2021 (Ohne Distanz – Litauische Kultur in Bayern 2021) initiated by the Lithuanian Cultural Attaché in Germany is organised by the Lithuanian Culture Institute and funded by the Lithuanian Ministry of Culture. Partners: the Lithuanian Embassy in Germany and Bavarian cultural organisations.