The 1st Vilnius Biennial of Performance Art, a continuing international art event, starts in 2023 as part of Vilnius’s 700th anniversary programme. The event is organised by the contemporary art gallery Meno Niša in Vilnius.


The idea of expanding the boundaries of art and turning live action into one of its forms was conceived in the 1960s. While performance art is mostly rich in elements of music, theatre and dance, today it is often also used as a creative tool by representatives of visual and interdisciplinary arts.

Performance art in Lithuania only appeared in the 1990s, after the country restored its independence. However, local artists were quick to catch up with the rest of world: in 2011, Dainius Mikšys’ performative installation Behind the White Curtain represented Lithuania at the Venice Biennale and was awarded a special prize by the jury; and in 2019, the opera-performance Sun & Sea (Marina) by Lina Lapelytė, Vaiva Grainytė and Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė won the most prestigious award of the Venice Biennale, the Golden Lion, bringing global fame to Lithuania for its contribution to contemporary culture and performance art.


To commemorate Vilnius’ 700th anniversary, the organisers of the Biennial have a special gift for the city: a series of exceptional events spread throughout the year. In January 2023, the real birthday of Vilnius will be celebrated with performances created by a renowned artist, while the main programme of the Biennial will take place in July and August.


The first and only performance art festival in Vilnius will take place in 2023 in the capital’s public and semi-public spaces. The Biennial will invite Vilnius residents and visitors to witness performances by both established and emerging artists from Lithuania and abroad.


The main focus of this Biennial is the city of Vilnius, but also a city per se, as a human-made and human-dominated environment that we share with other life forms, where different histories, myths, activities, interests, desires and visions collide, coexist and overlap. The city as an organism that is born, thrives, but also dies or is killed. The city as an artificial but living structure with certain rules, certain trajectories of circulation that some life forms follow and others choose to disregard, creating new ones. The city as a dense network knitted with both visible and invisible threads and charged with various tensions. The city as a platform and a stage.


The Vilnius Biennial of Performance art consists of a curated programme of works by guest artists, and works by both Lithuanian and foreign artists selected by an international jury through an open-call.

The first, 2023 edition of the festival will present 25 to 40 performances which will analyse and reflect upon the main theme of the Biennial taking on different perspectives and using diverse creative methods.