May 26, 2023 / June 14, 2023

Many of the world's great cities have their own historical and contemporary mythology in well-known works of literature, from “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”, “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”, “Karlsson-on-the-Roof”, and Haruki Murakami's “1Q84” to “The Wind-up Bird Chronicle” to “Harry Potter” and “The Da Vinci Code”. Continuing historical/cultural mythology – especially when it reaches global audiences – serves as a particularly effective factor in shaping a city’s image, and creating special added value not only for visitors to the city, but for its residents as well. Consistent targeted formation of the city's emotional portrait helps create a stronger emotional relationship with the city, and encourages residents and guests to uncover the deeper levels of the city's existence and actively engage in the further formation of the city’s self as a cultural phenomenon.

The only universally known and recognized narrative of Vilnius mythology – the legend of the Iron Wolf - is too archaic to become a strong cultural impetus for the future. In this context, Ričardas Gavelis’s „Vilnius Poker" provides a unique opportunity to combine various lines of historical and contemporary urban mythology into one powerful legend of the modern times, where there is room not only the city's past and present, but also for a strong creative impulse directed at the future.

This exhibition took shape in the pursuit to understand what life in Vilnius looks like now, 50 years later. Is it similar in its internal, emotional content to Gavelis's interpretations of Vilnius, or has something changed? Have humans always been born with a dark side? Are erotica and sex still taboo? What is the line between dreams and reality, or are they the same? Do gloom, ugliness and desolation live within the city? Maybe it's just THEM around, callous onlookers? What is the real face of the people of Vilnius with their emotions, instincts, sins, secret fantasies, and various forms of depression? Is there a new Monkeylisk living among us? Are you a Kanuk?

"So then how do you explain the structure of humanity, all of the world’s societies, all human communities, their aspirations and modes of existence? How do you explain that everywhere and always, as far as you can see, one idiot rules thousands of intelligent people, who quietly obey? Where does the grey silent majority come from in every society? ...How does that secret desire emerge, when you’re up to your neck in shit, to do everything in your power to also drown someone else who is still trying to get out? How, in a community of non-Kanuks, can censorship exist with the sole purpose of hiding the truth?" – Ričardas Gavelis, "Vilnius Poker".

Exhibition participants: Arvydas Šaltenis, Vincas Kisarauskas, Valentinas Antanavičius, Mindaugas Skudutis, Aleksandras Vozbinas, Teodoras Kazimieras Valaitis, Donatas Ulvydas, Bronius Gražys.