No. 107 (2022): How to Tell About Art? Art History, Criticism, Texts and Narratives in Lithuania
Edited by dr. Lina Michelkevičė, dr. Laura Petrauskaitė, dr. Aušra Trakšelytė
Copy editor Dalia Žalienė
Translator Tomas Čiučelis
Designer Jurgis Griškevičius
Release date: 2022
Format: 170 x 240
Print run: 200
eISSN 2783-6843 | ISSN 1392-0316
The publication is sponsored by the National Development Programme of Lithuanistics (2016–2024) at the Research Council of Lithuania, agreement No. S-LIP-19-25.
The aim of both art history and art criticism is to make the artwork – along with its relevant historical contexts and current events – accessible to our imagination. After all, artworks also reside in the viewer’s consciuosness where their presence is no less real, if not more intense, than in museums, galleries, public spaces and illustrated books. Putting art into words is not easy: along with the confident grasp of facts and contexts, the researcher needs to possess a vigorous and courageous imagination. Either when researching contemporary art, or interpreting the artworks of previous epochs, the art historians and critics are always busy telling stories and constructing narratives.
With the expanding scope and growing complexity of the art historical field in Lithuania, there comes the need to reflect on the discipline from within. In response to this need, in the spring of 2021, the Institute of Art Research at the Vilnius Academy of Arts organised the conference “How to Tell About Art? Art History, Criticism, Texts and Narratives in Lithuania”. The participants were invited to discuss the many histories of Lithuanian art, their authors, narratory strategies, styles and aims – in other words, approach art history from the perspective of storytelling.
The conference has raised the following questions: is there anything like the Lithuanian school of art history? is there a tradition of storytelling in Lithuania art history? who writes our art history and how? what disciplines and what liberates the narratives? do we still need art critics today, when the artists themselves are discussing and introducing their own art with increasing virtuosity? what is the role of imagination in shaping the art historical narrative, and vice versa: how the latter shapes and inspires our imagination? The conference papers and discussions served as a fertile ground for further developments, which also resulted in the entire issue of Acta Academiae Artium Vilnensis being dedicated to this productive topic.
We hope that the collective reflection by the authors in this issue of AAAV will in turn further deepen the self-reflection within the art historical discipline, reveal its current and historical shifts and transformations, and allow us to better notice how the discourse on art gets shaped, complemented, and questioned by the insights from the disciplines that are still relatively young in the Lithuanian context, like film theory and artistic research. We thus welcome the new narrators that come into the scene to enrich it with their own narratives and novel forms of storytelling.