Have you ever wondered what would happen if, one day, two worlds that had been separated for decades, actually met? That is precisely the story told by The Meeting that Never Was, an exhibition that revisits a profoundly important period which continues to impact our world today.
This exhibition brings together works from two European art institutions: MO Museum and the Van Abbemuseum, in Eindhoven, Netherlands. It is the first encounter of this scope between artists and their artwork from Lithuania, Western Europe, and the United States, which were separated by the Iron Curtain for decades during the Cold War.
The works presented here, created between 1955 and 2000, invite us to follow the flow of an historic time. The ideology of and rivalry between the Cold War’s two superpowers, the US and the USSR, profoundly affected every aspect of life.
For this reason, the exhibition begins with an overview of the artistic movements and styles that prevailed in the post-war era. This leads to a multifaceted exploration into how artists from Lithuania and Western European countries sought to find their own voice in a carefully balanced era. The exhibition concludes (or perhaps merely continues) with a presentation of works created in the 1990s and their reflection on a time of exceptional change.
This exhibition is particularly important for Lithuanian society. Although our geographic barriers may have been lifted with the restoration of independence, we continue to be challenged by self-esteem complexes, collective traumas, and battles over historical memory. Perhaps this exhibition can help us find a new balance? Faced with war and populism, it may be even more important now to see how artists working on different sides of a divide remained true to themselves and open to international perspectives.