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NOW & THEN (academic works VS post-academic art)

NOW & THEN is the second joint project of Vilnius City Hall and Vilnius Academy of Arts Museum (the first was the "Vilnius and its People" exhibition) the essence whereof, in formal terms, is the exhibition of the VAA graduates – currently well-known artists representing several generations, different strategies and worldviews, – student creations (stored in the institutions' funds) and currently created artefacts.

In the late 1980s, John Lennon wrote a song called Now & Then. However, the work did not appear in public until the death of the legendary musician and was only published in 1995. Then & Now is also a concert album by the progressive rock band Emerson, Lake & Palmer, released in 1998. As the name suggests, it contains older (from 1974) and newer (1997–1998) pieces. A documentary about another psychedelic rock band Pink Floyd was released under the same name in 2012. All these works draw the line between opposite states, different time periods, while reflecting on life and love...

Therefore, the name of the project (the essence of which is the combination of paintings and graphic artworks of students from the funds of the VAA Museum, who later became famous artists).

On the one hand, the exhibition itself – by applying the opposition dichotomic principle (chronologically representing different times) exhibits the artworks from the 1980s to the present. It contains the aspects of both comparative and "contrasting" methodologies. There are both playful and analytical elements in this solution. After all, it is always interesting to compare how people change and evolve, while at the same time drawing specific conclusions... The works of some artists has changed radically, of others – in a more evolutionary way, still of others has mutated minimally. Because there are many ways. Therefore, the works exhibited side by side will reveal that trajectory from "then" to "now".

Second, the preparation of this collection was programmatically aimed at selecting the most famous authors in the Lithuanian art scene. Thus, this idea carries a certain educational function, visually presenting the artistic transformations, creative paths and evolution, essential breakthroughs, divides, divisions, and separations. Especially since many of the presented creators studied back in Soviet times, in the then State Art Institute of the Lithuanian SSR or in the first years of the reformed Academy, thus the exhibition presents not only personal, but also intercultural shifts, fundamental changes in the consciousness of society and collective subconscious mind. It looks like one could assume that with a stricter academic system of art "teaching", liberal arts are radically opposite, and on the other hand (without persistently offering such watching glasses) it can be noted that even in student tasks, their deep layers and levels contain the coded sprouts of later artistic potential (perhaps it should not be called geniality).

The exhibition is symbolically opened on the first day of the new academic year and functions in two spaces – Vilnius City Hall and VAA Akademija Gallery. Thus, the only higher art school in Lithuania not only comes out of its cells, studies and audiences (Town Hall has once performed the function of the Art Museum, the Palace of Artists, metaphorically embodying the student becoming a professional), but also, looking back, re-starts thanks to the current creating generations and future generations.

Curator of the exhibition and author of the text – Dr. Vidas Poškus

The project is funded by Lithuanian Council for Culture


dr. Vidas Poškus