WHEN NON-INSTITUTIONAL ACTIVITY GETS INSTITUTIONALIZED… AND INSTITUTION AS INFORMAL ACTIVITY

Skaidra Trilupaitytė

One of the myths in the Lithuanian contemporary art relates to the idea of “non-institutional” or “alternative” activities. This pheno­menon is not articulated in a more conceptual way in contemporary art research and this is exactly what helps myths to evolve and even­tually become institutionalized. On the other hand, many art critics acknowledged already in the middle of the last decade that real alternatives to the establishment didn’t exist in Lithuanian art. Cate­gories of “young”, “contemporary” or “non-traditional” art would be of another kind. The article argues that the exhibition “Ten Years of Non-institutional Activity” that was organized at the Vilnius Contemporary Art Center in 2004 gives some unintended by the organizers answers about contemporary politics of real cultural marginalization. It is important to ascertain that the exhibition, which supposedly represented a decade of Lithuanian non-institutional artistic endeavors, in fact only established the historical estimation of yet another central institution – the Lithuanian Inter­disciplinary Artists’ Association. At the same time a variety of other less visible initiatives in Vilnius were ignored. A “non-initiated” visitor to this exhibition could only admit an intentionally anti-historic and seemingly attractive visual play of the curator. Those who did not want to confirm to mealy-mouthed arrangements of such an anniversary could have inquired historical circumstances themselves for making their own definitions of “non-institutional” activities.