20 July 2018

National Library Opens “Memento Mori” Exhibition

Prof. Kęstutis Vasiliūnas, in partnership with the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania, has announced the opening of the 8th International Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius which revolves around the topic “Memento Mori”.  This year the exhibition has invited artists to reflect not only on the theme of impending death but also on life.

The opening of the exhibition was marked by a masterful performance by the jazz musician Eugenijus Kanevičius who performed a piece encompassing many musical styles.  When presenting the travelling exhibition, the event curator Prof. K. Vasiliūnas emphasized that the content of the exhibition differs depending on visitors’ expectations and that its presentation varies from location to location.  Following the exhibition at the National Library in Vilnius, in 2019, the 8th Artist's Book Triennial will be held at the SG Gallery in Venice and the Museo Leone in Vercelli, Italy, at Evanston Art Centre, and Fredonia State University, U.S.

The event also presented the “artist’s book” by the Chilean artist Magdalena Cordero Echeverria who was awarded the Main Prize by the international grand jury panel.  This author will have the opportunity to hold a personal “artist’s book” exhibition in Vilnius as part of the 9th International Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius in 2021.  The exhibition curator Prof. K. Vasiliūnas awarded the Honour Award, established for the first time this year by the international grand jury panel, to the Japanese artist Motoko Tachikawa who was also among the attendees of the exhibition opening ceremony.

The exhibits of the Artist’s Book Triennial exhibition are featured alongside the old documents from the library's collections that are associated with the topic “Memento Mori”.  What is unique about this triennial is that old printed books and modern artist's books are for the first time presented at the same exhibition space. It is also one more example of successful and efficient cooperation between the National Library and the representatives of the art world.  “Can we appreciate modern books without knowing old and rate books? I don’t think so,” said the exhibition curator Prof. K. Vasiliūnas.

In her opening address, Viktorija Vaitkevičiūtė-Verbickienė, the head of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Unit, referred to the rare books featured in the exhibition as life guides of that period that sought to prepare people for death.  Each book conveys a sense of life in the face of death.

The opening ceremony was finalized with the artist Hanne Matthiesen who expressed her fascination with Prof. K. Vasiliūnas talent to crystallize the familiar yet forgotten idea, namely the love for life in the face of catastrophe, the impending death.

The 8th International Artist’s Book Triennial Vilnius is sponsored by the Lithuanian Council for Culture.

The exhibition will be on display at the National Library until 23 September.

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