Women`s Time in the Museum: Archives, Exhibition, Intervention. A Case Study of the First Feminist Exhibition on Sculpture and Film in Lithuania

Laima Kreivytė (Vilnius Academic of Arts / European Humanities University)

What would be a feminist response to the patrilineal canon of art history? How can we (re)write grand narratives in the museum and challenge a rigid institutional framework? Based on a specific case I will discuss three strategies of feminist interventions: subverting the archive, curating the exhibition and mis(s)appropriation.

The exhibition Woman’s Time. Sculpture and Film (National Gallery of Art, Vilnius, 2010) re-examined the political, social, and cultural construction of  “woman” in Lithuanian sculpture and film of the 20th century. It reflected the growing interest in women’s creativity and gender issues in art, as well as recent social and political changes that pointed to the prominent role played by women in the country’s cultural life and public sphere. Sculpture and cinema were chosen as ideologically important media that capture the “spirit of the age” and that might also be analysed from sociological and anthropological perspectives. There was an attempt to look at woman from the point of view of the contemporary spectator, rather than from that of an artist or a critic. Thus, works by acclaimed Lithuanian sculptors and film directors share the space with pieces that are almost kitsch, yet all of them are documents of woman’s life at the time. The exhibition’s title was inspired by Julia Kristeva’s essay “Women’s Time”, in which she analyses the situation of women in Europe by exploring three notions of time: linear, cyclical and monumental. The most important idea was to link woman to time, not just to space or the body, as in the Western philosophy.

Keywords: Kreivyte

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