Gallery 101 Remembered Bohemia of Laisvės Avenue


On 25–27 October, in the most prominent pedestrian street of Kaunas, Laisvės Avenue, VMU Art Gallery 101 introduced the project Bohemia of Laisvės Avenue: Places to Remember, which is a part of event series 25 Hours. VMU in the City Streets, dedicated to the 25th anniversary since reestablishment of VMU.

The project’s authors, artists Arnas Anskaitis, Dainius Liškevičius, Vita Gelūnienė, Ed Carroll, Gintaras Česonis and Inga Likšaitė had been exploring the bohemia of Laisvės Avenue and its places to remember: material and symbolic locations, events, personalities and rituals related to the bohemia that used to frequent places in the most famous pedestrian street of Kaunas. The artists presented projects which (re)create collective and individual stories associated with the memory of the bohemia of Laisvės Avenue.

The identity of Laisvės Avenue and Kaunas is still being built by legends of the city’s free-spirited bohemian life of the past, of the long gone coffee shops and restaurants that used to prosper, and of the bohemians themselves: eccentric poets, rebellious painters and virtuoso musicians. Traces of bohemian traditions are recognised in former places of gatherings by artists, journalists and professors, and in endless stories about memorable events, symbols and luminaries of the arts. Myths of liberal bohemian life in Laisvės Avenue and its premises have become one of the most important parts of Kaunas’ uniqueness and individuality.

The entirety of these cultural places and signs with their collective associations, or, as described by French historian Pierre Nora, these lieux de mémoire (elements of memorial heritage) are not just objects of discovery of the past. They arise from strong emotional sources, and the most significant condition for their existence is establishment of communicative and emotional ties: telling stories, sharing memories, listening to and appropriating them. As a community of memory, we remember because we are reminded, because we can remember together with others.

The goal of the project is to remember and tell stories about those places of collective memory which keep alive the myth of a free, rebellious and carefree bohemia of Laisvės Avenue. The project seeks to stimulate collective memory, create a dialogue between memory and history, and offer a new perspective to the history of (sub)cultural life in Laisvės Avenue.

An additional part of the project is the upcoming research of city memory (places associated with the bohemia of Laisvės Avenue) by scientists and students of various fields.

The project is part of the event series 25 Hours. VMU in the City Streets.

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