The Vilnius Performance Art Biennial is an ongoing international art event and part of Vilnius’s 700th anniversary programme. The main events of the Biennial will take place in January, July and August 2023. The event is organised by the contemporary art gallery Meno Niša in Vilnius, which won the Go Vilnius competition of ideas to commemorate the Vilnius anniversary with seven unique projects selected to celebrate the city.

“We aim to turn the city into a prestigious modern capital of performance art by inviting the best artists of the genre to create unique performances dedicated to the city of Vilnius. We want to mobilise the community and strengthen the emotional connection with the city through the lively and often very bodily genre of performance art – a genre that deeply affects the environment and the audience and engages the latter to become an active participant in the process,” says Director of the Vilnius Biennial Diana Stomienė.

Theme: City of Vilnius

“The main focus of this Biennial is the city of Vilnius, but also a city per se, as a human-made and human-dominated environment that we share with other life forms, where different histories, myths, activities, interests, desires and visions collide, coexist and overlap. The city as an organism that is born, thrives, but also dies or is killed. The city as an artificial but living structure with certain rules, certain trajectories of circulation that some life forms follow and others choose to disregard, creating new ones. The city as a dense network knitted with both visible and invisible threads and charged with various tensions. The city as a platform and a stage,” says Neringa Bumblienė, Artistic Director of the Biennial.

Programme

The first performance of the Vilnius Biennial will take place in January 2023, on the official birthday of the city of Vilnius. This important date will be marked by a performance created by a renowned artist whose name the organisers will reveal in the autumn.

The main programme of the Vilnius Biennial will take place in July and August 2023. In total, the event will present 25 to 40 performances, which will analyse and reflect upon the main theme of the Biennial taking on different perspectives and using diverse creative methods. The Biennial will comprise of a programme curated by the Biennial’s artistic director Neringa Bumblienė, alongside works by Lithuanian and foreign artists selected by an international jury through an open call.

“I am delighted to see that another large and ambitious contemporary art project is being developed in Vilnius. I feel very grateful and honoured by the trust of the organisers. I will do my best to make it an event that sensitively reflects the realities and challenges of today’s world, and adds colour, vibrance and dynamism to the city,” says Bumblienė.

Open Call

The application process to participate in the Vilnius Performance Art Biennial is open to all artists worldwide. We invite applicants to submit both new and existing performances which have not yet been shown in Vilnius and in some way resonate with the theme of the Biennial.

Submissions will be evaluated and selected by an international jury consisting of Maria Arusoo, director of the Estonian Center for Contemporary Art, long-term commissioner of the Estonian Pavilion at the Venice Biennial, currently in curatorial residency at Kumu Art Museum, curator; Joanna Zielińska, art historian, writer and performance curator, presently a senior curator at M HKA – Museum of Contemporary Art in Antwerp, Belgium; and Neringa Bumblienė, curator and writer, artistic director of the Vilnius Biennale of Performance Art, curator of the Lithuanian Pavilion at the 59th Venice Biennale, currently working at the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius.

The team will provide curatorial and production support for the creation of the selected works and their presentation in the Biennial, seeking to find the necessary human and financial resources through discussions with each artist or artist collective. A total of 10 to 15 works will be selected for the Biennial’s July programme.

The application form and detailed information about the open call can be found on the Vilnius Biennial website www.vilniusbiennial.com. Please submit your applications by 16 August. Selected participants will be announced by 5 September.