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Already in fine fettle artistically, Lithuania is bent on greater exposure – not that it has any reason to envy those leading Western artists it knows and appreciates so much. Marking the centenary of Franco-Lithuanian relations, this exhibition is taking place in the heart of Paris, at the Espace Commines, home to the golden age of the Salon de Mai. In all it will be featuring seventeen painters, sculptors and photographers from all over Lithuania.

The striking thing about today’s Lithuanian art, apart from its freshness, authenticity and distinctiveness, is that it seems totally immune to the inflated fabrications of hyper-modernity. No gimmicks, no pointless experimenting, no factitious artifice. Instead, an astonishing model of creativity, in a remarkably pure state. Beauty and artistic tension preserved.

The exhibition’s aesthetic covers all the creative registers: from the body to landscape, the tiny to the grossly outsized, the grotesque to the sublime. No politics of identity here, no collective, supposedly perfect stereotype: each artist has come up with his or her own language and effects.

Taking inspiration from the innermost body, the intimate, the strange or the taboo, these tough artists, each an island, voyage far from the world of the established. They alert us to the unthinkable, burn away the superficial, scorn the conventional. Products of a living Europe, they explore the paths of their era, countering modernity, pushing the artwork’s potential to its limits – where, in fragile solitude, they doubtless experience the things that really bring them together: the impossible merging of emptiness and plenitude, and nostalgia for the land of pictures.

Art serves as raw food for the vital hungers: those that make you want to bite into the flesh of the universe, and that instil in each human being their own living and breathing rhythm.

Our thanks to Lithuania’s artists for their vital authenticity.

Christian Noorbergen