Lithuanian Culture Institute

Highlights of the Lithuania’s Season in France 2024 presented in Paris

Lithuanian Culture Institute

A special event in Paris has introduced the French media to the themes of the three-month season and its slogan ‘The Other Same’ (Se voir en l’autre), the yet-unshown poster of the project, its main events, participating names, and highlights.

From September 12 to December 12, over 200 events will unfold across France, featuring the participation of at least 500 artists, performers, and other cultural figures, alongside more than 120 bilateral cultural partnerships. The anticipated turnout includes over half a million spectators and visitors.

The programme’s presentation at the Lithuanian Embassy in Paris was attended by Lithuanian Minister of Culture Simonas Kairys, Lithuanian Ambassador to France Nerijus Aleksiejūnas, President of the French Institute Eva Nguyen Binh, and Commissioner of the Lithuanian Season in France 2024 Dr. Virginija Vitkienė.

Dr. Virginija Vitkienė, Commissioner of the Season, expressed her delight with the successful invitation to a collaborative creative process. According to her, Lithuanian creators have provided the best content to French organizations, delving into the three main themes of the Season: Global Neighbourhood, Empowered Identities, and Unleashed Imagination. After numerous visits to Lithuania and a thorough analysis of local current issues, French professionals have selected, for their repertoires and spaces, offerings they are 100% confident in and proud to present to their audiences.

Sorbonne University, Palais de Tokyo, Centre Pompidou, Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, Carre d’Art museum in Nîmes, Grand Théâtre Aix-en-Provence, Lyon Contemporary Art Biennale, Chroniques Biennale in Marseille, and Toulouse Biennial for the Performing Arts are all very important partners drawing large audiences. Lithuanian artists captivate and intrigue the French with their value-laden stances, and projects related to our country’s history will offer audiences a unique opportunity to gain a new understanding of the geopolitical situation of our region. As the programme’s curator, I am particularly pleased with the strong focus on Lithuanian female creators, artists, and producers – I believe their contributions across France will be truly remarkable. Noteworthy are debates on today’s topical issues, organised not only within the Season’s programme but also as part of the Prelude events organised by the Embassy of Lithuania in France. These discussions will play a crucial role in shaping the starting points of Lithuanian-French diplomacy, particularly regarding the ongoing war in Europe,’ said Dr. V. Vitkienė.

The event also presented the official posters of the season, illustrating the project’s slogan ‘The Other Same’. At the centre of the photographs by Kristina Gulbinaitė and Ilmė Vyšniauskaitė is the body – musical, empowered by contemporary dance, vibrant, full of energy, determination  and sensitivity. The character of the posters is embodied by Dovydas Strimaitis, a dancer of the young generation living and working between Lithuania, France and Belgium, whose performance Hairy Hairy is included in most of the performing arts programmes of the Season. The posters were designed by the design studio Taktika, which developed the whole visual identity of the Season.

The event also featured a presentation of the Lithuanian artists and creators taking part in the Season’s projects, including Lina Lapelytė, Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, Vaiva Grainytė, Emilija Škarnulytė, Raimundas Malašauskas, Kristina Sabaliauskaitė, Elena Selena, Audrius Stonys, Mūza Rubackytė, Eglė Budvytytė, Tadao Cern, Gerda Paliušytė, Marija Olšauskaitė, Dovydas Strimaitis, Agnietė Lisičkinaitė, Pakui Hardware, Anastasia Sosunova, Agnė Jokšė, Andrius Arutiunian, Deimantas Narkevičius, Eglė Švedkauskaitė, Kamilė Gudmonaitė, Oskaras Koršunovas, Karolis Kaupinis, Manfredas, Rokas Zubovas, Saulius Petreikis, Gediminas Gelgotas, Maksimilijanas Opriška, Dr. Gora Parasit, and many others.

The Lithuanian programme will be presented at major autumn festivals and biennales, either as a guest country or as part of special projects. Some of the most noteworthy events include Le Festival d’Automne in Paris, Les Boreales in Cannes, Les Rendez-vous de l’histoire in Blois, Biennale d’art contemporain de Lyon, Biennale Chroniques in Marseille, Paris+, Paris Photo, and La Biennale Toulouse, among others.

In preparation for the Season, Lithuanian cultural organisations have established contacts with important French institutions. Participants in the project include Pompidou Art Centre (Paris), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Théâtre de la Ville (Paris), Le Samovar theatre-school (Bagnolet), the National Centre for Choreography of Caen, Vasarely Foundation (Aix-en-Provence), Maison de la Danse de Lyon, La Gaîté Lyrique (Paris), Halle Tropisme (Montpellier), Arty Farty (Lyon), Photo Saint Germain (Paris), DIAPHANE (Beauvais-Clermont-Amiens), La Friche (Marseille), Rencontres audiovisuelles (Lille et Hauts), Carre d’Art/Musee d’Art Contemporain (Nîmes), Foundation Fiminco (Greater Paris), La Citadelle (Villefranche-sur-mer), Le Metronum (Toulouse), Bibliocité (Paris), SciencePo (Paris, Caen), BULAC (Paris), AWARE: Archives of Women Artists, LUMA (Arles), and numerous others.

The opening weekend of the Season, taking place on 12-14 September, will begin with a series of events in Paris. The kick-off includes a two-day inaugural conference organised by Vilnius University at the Sorbonne University. The conference will explore phenomena significant and recognizable for both countries, covering themes such as democratic political culture and the pursuit of freedom, crucial to both Lithuania and France as supporters of European values. Additionally, the Pompidou Centre, in collaboration with MO Museum, will open an exhibition showcasing the Lithuanian art collection spanning from the 1960s to the present day. This exhibit will feature works by several generations of nationally renowned artists, some of whom will become part of the Pompidou’s permanent collection. This is the first donation of its kind and the result of a successful partnership between Lithuanian and French art experts. During the opening weekend, the Contemporary Art Centre will host the celebration of the Poetry Day, featuring poems by Jonas Mekas and new translations of his poetry into French. The festivities will include concerts by Lithuanian choirs in public spaces in Paris, the premiere of Lina Lapelytė’s work ‘Wilderness’, and a night programme at Gaîté Lyrique by Radio Vilnius, featuring a line-up of Lithuanian electronic music performers.

The Season will encompass and converge various cultural and artistic fields, unfolding across France over three months, with events scheduled in Paris, Lyon, Marseille, Caen, Grenoble, Clermont-Ferrand, Bordeaux, Toulouse, and other cities. Prior to the Season’s commencement, from April to June, the Embassy of Lithuania in Paris will host numerous events as part of the ‘Prelude of the Season’ programme, aimed at promoting diplomacy, economy, innovation, as well as science and education cooperation projects. In autumn, French culture will also come to Lithuania, with the French Institute in Vilnius hosting the programme ‘French Echoes in Lithuania’.