Exhibition “Magic Carpets Landed” in Kaunas

The international exhibition “Magic Carpets Landed”, one of the most prominent visual art events opening the programme of Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022 will take place in Kaunas (Lithuania) from the 5th of November 2021 to the 23rd of January 2022.

The exhibition, presenting the results of the four-year Creative Europe platform Magic Carpets, is curated by Benedetta Carpi de Resmini, professor, art critic, curator and art director of Latitudo Art Projects, based in Rome, Italy. The exhibition will present the work of 57 emerging European artists who, over the four years of the project, have rendered specific artistic interpretations of the residence locations in fifteen partner countries.

The exhibition will present the results also of residencies hosted by the New Theatre Institute of Latvia – “Terrain Vague” by the British sound artist Jon Law, which was shown at the International New Theatre Festival “Homo Novus” in 2018, and “A Country of Grandmas” by the romanian photographer Odetta Catana. The works of young Latvian artists, which were created in cooperation with local communities, will also be displayed – “Physical Evidence Museum” by Jana Jacuka and Laura Stašāne, and “Svidanka” by Alberto di Gennaro, Linda Krūmiņa and Lauma Žubule. In the exhibition you will also get the chance to see the short film “Eagles and wolves” by Marta Elīna Martinsone, who worked with the local communities in the Romanian META Cultural foundation residence.

In Kaunas, each artist will provide reflections on pertinent topics such as marginalization, crossing borders, nationalism, and migration. The curator based her organization of the exhibition on the common thread connecting the various sections, yet, it is really the social energy that brings out the movements of change within communities.

Magic Carpets Landed aims to go beyond the exhibition itself: “The exhibit will be more than just a showcase of artwork,” explains Carpi de Resmini, “it will be an “integrated exhibition” intended to rethink the very format of an exhibit, instead aspiring to be a relational platform. A mutating body, in continuous evolution, together with the visitors themselves,” said the curator, who conceived and developed the title and concept for the platform. “The works of art become tools for shared actions with the public, to interpret contemporary society, the idea of reciprocal understanding, shared responsibility, while extending geographical and conceptual borders in different directions.”

The blend of technology, artistic imagination, storytelling and the surrounding space will lead spectators to a new perception of reality. An integral part of the exhibition will be an immersive Augmented Reality space with audio tracks that will serve as a sort of guide, created by Magic Carpets platform partners during the course of the project.

During the opening weekend of the exhibition, Magic Carpets partners will gather in Kaunas for a special one-day symposium (6 November 2021) open to the public with a wide programme of presentations and discussions by internationally renowned arts and culture field professionals. The symposium will focus on the topic of the “Working in public spaces” and explore the different practices and methods of engaging audiences through arts and culture activities in the public realm. Symposium featuring international guests, including Hou Hanru, curator and director of the MAXXI museum in Rome, Lewis Biggs, curator of the Folkestone Triennial and former director of Tate Liverpool, and Virginija Vitkienė, Director of Kaunas 2022.

Along with the exhibit, Magic Carpets Landed includes a structured programme of performances and workshops alternating throughout the duration of the exhibition. For the inaugural event of Kaunas 2022 (20–23 January, 2022), the exhibition will feature a performance Towards a new Erab/Europe, a journey through time based on an original text by the Lithuanian writer Justas Tertelis. Set in the 17th century, the story passes through all the fifteen countries in the Magic Carpets network, imagining the history of a new Europe with no geographical or ideological borders.

Magic Carpets platform members include Kaunas Biennial (project leader, Kaunas / Lithuania), EVA International – Ireland’s Biennial (Limerick / Ireland), Folkestone Fringe (Folkestone / United Kingdom), Ideias Emergentes (Porto / Portugal), Jam Factory Art Centre (Lviv / Ukraine), KUNSTrePUBLIC (Berlin / Germany), LAB 852 (Zagreb / Croatia), Latitudo SRL (Rome / Italy), META Cultural Foundation (Bucharest / Romania), New Theatre Institute of Latvia (Riga / Latvia), Novo Kulturno Naselje (Novi Sad / Serbia), Prague Biennale (Prague / Czech Republic), Openspace Innsbruck (Innsbruck / Austria), Tbilisi Photo Festival (Tbilisi / Georgia), Trempolino (Nantes / France).

The Project is supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture, co-funded by the Creative Europe Programme of the European Union and is a part of the project “Kaunas – European Capital of Culture 2022”.

Follow the journey around Europe, with its gaze set on the future, actively involved young audiences and local communities in the fifteen partner countries on www.magiccarpets.eu.