Vilnius' MO Museum presents an exhibition focused on sexuality

Vilnius Exhibition Sheds Light on Sexuality in Art

The MO Museum in Vilnius has launched an enlightening exhibition titled “We Don’t Do This. Intimacy, Norms and Fantasies in Baltic Art.” Curators Inga Lāce, Adomas Narkevičius, and Rebeka Põldsam explore the dynamic themes of sexuality and gender norms through artworks dating from the 1960s to the present.

Drawing inspiration from Lithuanian artist Česlovas Lukenskas and the famous 1986 tele-bridge declaration that there was no sex in Soviet Union TV commercials, the exhibition offers a provocative look into the suppressed sexual discourse under Soviet rule. The exhibition critically examines the evolution of sexual culture in the Baltics, asking pivotal questions about the portrayal of love and intimacy in past decades.

“We Don’t Do This” presents nearly 300 works by 130 artists, organized into thematic clusters that delve into intimate and fantastical representations of gender, family, and sexuality. These clusters highlight the shifting societal norms throughout the Soviet era and beyond, reflecting on how current perceptions are still influenced by past ideologies.

MO Museum Director Milda Ivanauskienė expressed that this exhibition was conceived to challenge the long-standing taboos surrounding physicality, gender, and sexuality. The aim is to foster a safe space for open discussion and reassessment of these critical topics.

“This exhibition displays works from different periods, countries and disciplines, speaking to how reality was meant to appear and what was hidden behind declarative façades, and that alternative ideas, communities, lifestyles and ways of expression always exist,” says Milda Ivanauskienė.

“We hope this exhibition creates a safer space to explore this subject openly and without denial, reconsider it and enable constructive discussions.”

“The central focus of this show is on the gender stereotypes and norms of the present day. Instead of looking chronologically, we view the artwork through themes, such as the performing of and parodying masculinity and femininity, intimate and romantic interactions and domestic life, public life, work life and leisure, among others,” curator Rebeka Põldsam explains.

The exhibition is also one of the first in the region to focus on the depictions of the LGBTQ+ community dating to the 1970s. “The same-sex partnership law was finally approved last November in Latvia; in the meantime, Estonia already announced full marriage equality; while Lithuania has yet to even establish a partnership law. It is very important to bring contemporary artists into this conversation, especially as younger generations are able to address things that were previously silenced,” says Inga Lāce.

More information about the exhibition:

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