If you’re currently in Kaunas, that means you’re on Pelėdų Hill, and if you’re in Vilnius, you’re at the foot of Tauro Hill. The proximity of both these hills is not an accident – indeed, hills and mountains are the main motif in this exhibition about the relationship between Kaunas and Vilnius, held in both cities simultaneously.
A hill is a center. It helps us defend ourselves, survive, and preserve our individuality. A hill can also be a challenge and an obstacle to overcome. People in both cities see hills every day: Žaliakalnis (Green Hill) and Gedimino, Parodos, Tauro, Aleksoto, and Bekešo Hills. And while we Lithuanians might call them hills (kalnai), they are actually more like mounds. So, “hills” might also refer to a complex – desiring something one doesn’t have. This multifaceted hill and mountain metaphor encompasses the diversity of Kaunas and Vilnius and their life alongside one another. Works by artists, accompanying cultural histories – ranging from the early 20th century to the present day – and artifacts explore the rivalry and autonomy, the exchanges occurring between them, and their influence on one another.
The words “Moving Mountains” in the title of this exhibition refer to an attempt to perceive the existential mutual dependence between Vilnius and Kaunas – to see beyond the two cities’ rivalries, stereotypes, and grievances. The tension lingering between them produced a force that shaped both cites – and all of modern Lithuania – over the course of a century. In the two exhibition spaces in Vilnius and Kaunas you’ll find sections which, although identically named, tell different stories in one or the other city. To truly learn more about the mutual dependence between Kaunas and Vilnius, you’ll just have to visit both exhibitions.